The Third Wife

Lisa Jewell
Century, €15.99;
ebook, £1.99
Review: Hannah Stephenson

Lisa Jewell’s earlier books, including Ralph’s Party, made her a shining light of women’s fiction.

Jewell wrote about tangled relationships in a light, humorous, but poignant style.

Her later books have been darker, as is The Third Wife.

It’s the tale of the genial, good-looking, middle-aged Adrian Wolfe, a serial husband who left his two previous wives — and five children — and is married to his third wife, Maya.

When Maya steps out in front of a bus after an evening of heavy drinking on her own, the question is: was it an accident or did she commit suicide?

And, through a series of flashbacks interspersed with real-time events, it slowly emerges that behind the facade of happiness and love shared between all three wives and the children, Adrian has left a trail of emotional devastation in his wake.

The secrets, the lies, and the final honesty of lives broken when a partner leaves his family are painstakingly explored in this well-crafted drama — but don’t expect many laughs.


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