The Third Wife (★★★★☆)

the third wife jewell

I had no idea Lisa Jewell was as popular and prolific a writer as she is before I read this book. But now, after finishing The Third Wife, I can see why she writes so much–and why she has die-hard fans dedicated to reading whatever she churns out.

The Third Wife is a mystery novel. The book opens with the death (suicide or murder can’t be ruled out) of Maya, a young woman who, we soon find out, was the third wife of aloof lady’s man, Adrian. Adrian has a complicated life in that he has two families with his two ex-wives…and they all hang out together. Everyone is friendly with each other, but there is no doubt that Adrian’s children and ex-wives all feel resentment toward him in their own ways for leaving them. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that any one of them could have had a part in Maya’s death.

I didn’t realize that The Third Wife was going to be so focused on solving this mystery. I usually don’t read mystery novels, but this one kept me intrigued and entertained. The story was well-developed and believable. I appreciated that the characters  were smart about following leads and putting facts together. There was no bad-horror-movie naivete here–though there easily could have been!–and I was grateful for that.

I have to say that I actually loved where this story ended up. I enjoyed watching Adrian evolve from a self-obsessed man-child to a self-aware and caring father. And while I didn’t think his choice of romantic relationship at the end of the book was very believable, I very much appreciated how his relationships progressed over time with his children.

Overall, I liked this book. The characters were unique and interesting, though not all that deep–and the story was creative and moved along quickly. Lisa Jewell is on my radar now, and I will definitely check out her other books.

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