Charley Willis was thirteen years old when her parents were killed in their family home and she was found hiding in a cupboard upstairs.
Fifteen years later, Charley is marrying Seth Chambers. It should be the happiest day of their lives, a chance for Charley to put her past behind her, but just hours after the ceremony, she is missing.
No one saw her leave. No one knows where she is.
One thing is for certain…Seth is about to discover he doesn’t really know the woman he just married. And his nightmare is only just beginning.
*Thank you to the publisher, Bookouture, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Wife’s Secret is my first Kerry Wilkinson novel. It is a psychological thriller that follows the story of Charlotte “Charley” Willis, a 13-year-old kid who survived a massacre by hiding in the closet. Her parents were both killed and she was left to the care of her 22-year old sister, Martha. Their parents, Paul and Annie Willis were quite famous and so, what happened was such a big news and years later, people still remember what everyone dubbed as The Willis Curse. The killer, though, was never caught. And now, 15 years later, Charley is getting married to Seth Chambers. Seth knew what his wife went through and he never once pushed her about the details on that horrific night. Charley is trying to get the past behind and he will always support her. But hours after the wedding, Charley Willis went missing and Seth has no way of knowing if she runs away or if she was taken against her will. It looks like the past is catching up with her and Seth might not be prepared to the secrets that his wife seems to be hiding.
It took me a few chapters to get into The Wife’s Secret despite the intriguing start of Charley’s disappearance hours after her wedding. With multiple POVs and timelines that cover Charley’s past and present, we get to see how her life was with her famous parents and older siblings. The back and forth of times and narratives can be confusing to some but surprisingly I didn’t mind. And once I get used to the narrative, I was deeply absorbed. But the mystery of her parents’ death left a lot more questions to me than Charley’s sudden disappearance. I guess it’s because I feel like Seth didn’t do anything much to look for his wife and just waited for whatever comes next. His lack of reaction is just not what you’d expect from someone with a missing wife. Even the police didn’t make an extra effort to investigate the case and thus I didn’t give much attention to it, too.
We knew early on that the Willis family is far from normal and are keeping a lot of secrets. They are all so interesting characters and I am more fascinated by their lives than that of Seth’s. I appreciate how the truth about everything slowly unravels through the flashbacks in between the present narratives. It effectively builds the suspense that will keep you reading until you get to the last page. And though predictable at times, it still managed to surprise me in some ways. I find the ending okay but it did lack excitement and leave some things unresolved which left me feeling unsatisfied. I would have liked a more concrete ending. Nevertheless, it is a well-written thriller and a decent read overall. I wouldn’t mind picking up the author’s other books.