book blog · book review

The Wife Before Me by Laura Elliot

40519078One evening as the sun is setting, Amelia Madison’s car slides into the sea off Mason’s Pier. Her body is never found.

Two years later, Elena Langdon meets Nicholas Madison. She is grieving the loss of her mother, he is grieving for his wife. Together they can help each other.

Now Elena is living with Nicholas. But Elena doesn’t really know him. She doesn’t know what he is capable of.

And she doesn’t know what really happened to Amelia.

Until the day she discovers the torn page of a letter and the words she reads chill her to the bone. 

Elena must find the person who wrote these letters if she is to save herself.


*I would like to thank the publisher, Bookouture, and  NetGalley for the copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

The Wife Before Me is such an intense page-turner that tells the story of two women, Elena and Amelia, and how they are connected to one man, Nicholas. Elena is still reeling from a miscarriage and her boyfriend breaking up with her when she got a call about her mother’s sudden death. She immediately flies to Ireland from Australia to deal with another tragic loss. On the funeral, she met the widower, Nicholas, who’s still grieving from the death of his wife two years ago. He is charming and kind, and Elena can’t help but feel attracted towards him. Their grief connects them with each other and before she knows it, Elena is in love with Nicholas and moved into his house. But Nicholas is not the perfect guy everyone seems to think. He still can’t seem to forget about his wife. Pictures of Amelia are still all over the house and even the master’s bedroom is off-limits to Elena. Despite being dead, Amelia’s presence in the house is strong. And the moment she tried to do something about it, Nicholas reveals his true color and unleashes his monster self. But it wouldn’t be easy running away from him. He is too cunning. When she found an old letter addressed to Amelia, Elena is convinced that there is more to her death. And maybe it could be the key to her freedom.

This is the first book I’ve read from the author and it turns out to be a difficult read than expected because it tackles a serious issue of domestic violence. It has an intricate plot which was told in parts. The first part focused on Elena’s story, with some slight background and her miserable life with Nicholas. The next part goes back to Amelia’s story. How she was before and after she met her husband. At some point, the voices of the two women alternate and even added a third one. I struggled a bit at the start. The story moved too slow for me and I find it hard to fully sympathized with Elena. She is just too trusting and so in love that she ignored all the warnings. And even with all the beating she is getting, she still justifies what Nicholas is doing. It was wearying to read I had to stop a couple of times to take a break from the nightmarish scenes. Once it gets to Amelia’s story, though, the pacing sped up and I didn’t let go until the end. I was also prepared for what Nicholas can do, so reading the heavy and emotional scenes became somehow bearable. While Amelia shared the same story and background as Elena, and while I know what is to come, it is still interesting to know how she ended up marrying Nicholas and how her life with him was. And despite my initial reservation towards Elena, I slowly warm into her and I like how both her and Amelia’s characters developed. Nicholas is vile and I just hate him so much. He appears charming but in truth is a master manipulator and just plain evil.

The tension is palpable from the start, though the suspense and climax build-up is slow. And once there, everything just happened so fast. The end was wrapped up too quickly and I was left wanting to know more because I feel so invested in the characters lives. I like how it gives us a look of the events from the past and the present, but in turn, it also presents too many clues and information that I pretty much guessed most of the twists and turns right, so yeah, I wasn’t that surprised anymore. Still, I must say they are some solid twists. Although, I am still kind of in the middle with the element that was dropped towards the end. I was okay with it though I am not sure if I like it. But it sure adds something different to the novel.

Overall, The Wife Before Me is a very dark and unsettling novel with a good set of characters. Some you will root for, some you will loathe. It is quite intense and emotional. The writing is okay and the idea may not be original but it is certainly a solid psychological thriller.




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