Book Review: The War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen

The War of the Wives by Tamar CohenThis book was even better than I hoped. It was one of those thoroughly captivating reads that is more satisfying even than chocolate. 🙂

The War of the Wives: What it is about

Simon Busfield has died, drowned in the Thames in London, while he was supposed to be in Saudi Arabia. At least, that what his wife thought. And his other wife too. Yes, Simon lead a double life and had two wives and families.

The wives are very different. Selina is rich, a stay at home mother with three children (two of which have left home already). She cares about her looks, what her friends think, and their house in Tuscany. Simon and she have a good life with all possible luxuries. The other wife, Lottie, works hard for a living, and lives in a small appartment with Simon and their teenage daughter. They don’t have a lot of money, but they seem to manage alright.

When these two women meet each other at Simon’s funeral, they are completely shocked. They had no idea of Simon’s secret life. Lottie sees Selina as a stuck-up bitch living the high life (which is true) while Selina thinks Lottie was only ever after Simon’s money (which is not true). Unfortunately, when the inheritance is sorted out, the women’s lives become more entangled than they would have hoped. And someone seems to make life difficult for the widows, too. It looks like some of Simon’s unsavoury business partners are after their share of the money.

The War of the Wives: What I thought

I loved reading this. The first few chapters built up to the funeral, and the confrontation of the wives was very well written and such fun to read. I expected that this would be the best part of the story and things would go downhill from then onwards. But no, the story kept my interest all the way until the end.

The widows can not stand each other (and I didn’t like either of them too much either) and their distrust of each other and unwillingness to help each other is very believable. Soon it becomes clear there was more happening in Simon’s life than his two marriages and they start to worry for their lives and belongings.

The parts of the children and other family members are also very believable and it’s interesting to see how the newly-found half-brothers and -sisters deal with each other.

At every point in this book there was something happening that kept me wanting to read on. I totally believed in Selina’s and Lottie’s characters – you do find people like that in England, and not just a few either. They were both very different types, but I’ve known both Lotties as well as Selinas when living in England myself.

This book is pure candy, but in a well-written way. Many times I found beautiful sentences that would make great quotes (if only I’d written them down). The story is about trust and about knowing people (or thinking that you do).

A great read. The 400 pages fly by and before you know it, you’ve reached the end of the book. Not a literary classic, but a highly satisfying read.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)

Number of pages: 414

First published: 2012

I got this book: from Lynsey at Transworld publishers, for review

Genre: contemporary fiction

Extra: Also check my review of Someone Else’s Wedding

Have you read this book?

Did you enjoy it?

About Judith
I'm owner and editor at and We edit books and articles for independent writers.

21 Responses to Book Review: The War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen

  1. I want to read this, I want to read this, I want to read this,…
    Judith, I think you might like to know that I am putting this book on my wishlist, because I want to read it ( in case you hadn’t guessed) 🙂

  2. Brooke says:

    I read The Mistress’s Revenge by Cohen last year with my book club and it was a big hit. I agree with you about her novels being pure candy in a well-written way. I had no idea she had a new novel out and can’t wait to share the news with my book club ladies!

  3. more satisfying even than chocolate? Wow! I have a copy of this and will push it to the top of the pile after that recommendation!

  4. bibliosue says:

    I too was drawn in by the “more satisfying than chocolate” phrase! That means it must be worth looking into.

  5. Leslie says:

    Better than chocolate? I’ll have to think about that for minute. It does sound good though!

  6. You are entirely to blame, Judith, you know that. 🙂

  7. You had me at chocolate. I’ll have to try it just to get my chocolate bill down 🙂

  8. I convinced myself I didn’t want to read this as I didn’t get a review copy but so many people have loved it. Going on the wishlist for the paperback edition 🙂

  9. Lindsay says:

    I really enjoyed this one too and as you say it is fast to read because the story is involving and you want to know what’s going to happen.

  10. Katrien says:

    This sounds like a fantastic book!
    I once read a chick lit about such a situation by Sheila O’Flanagan, which was okay, but not fabulous.

  11. Pingback: The War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen – Farm Lane Books Blog

  12. Chinoiseries says:

    Seems I missed this one! With your five stars and Jackie’s high rating, I think I’ll have to give it a go as wel 🙂

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