Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Things aren't looking too good for Callie in The Lying Wife as she informs us in the first few sentences of the book that she's a wife, mother, friend and murderer.  She's being interviewed by police about the aforementioned murder when the book opens.  The chapters alternate between Callie in the interview room being questioned and the events leading up to that.

Callie was coming out of a relationship and working in a coffee shop when she met widower James.  He sweeps her off her feet and they soon marry.  She moves into his house, but his sons 15-year-old Dillion and 12-year-old Luke aren't so thrilled to have a new step-mother.  The boys make life miserable for Callie, especially when James is at work, which is most of the time.  Callie is studying to be a counselor but doesn't seem to have many ideas on how to deal with her own difficult situation.

As the situation with the boys continues to be difficult, Callie struggles to cope.  Her father is suffering from mental health issues, and she sneaks off from time to time to visit him, since she's not told James about him.  She fears that James will think she has inherited her father's mental instability (in truth, she worries about this herself).  Her struggles with the boys, trying to keep up with her father, and continuing her studies all put Callie under so much pressure that she does some things that, with a clearer head, she would certainly not have done. 

It's hard to know if we can trust everything Callie says.  Are the boys really so terrible, or does she just take everything the wrong way? Is her husband James faithful, or are her suspicions about his relationship with a co-worker well-founded? I liked the way the story kept me guessing and trying to figure out just what was true.  The story is certainly a page-turner and has a twist at the end, but after I thought about it a little, I was quite annoyed.  Callie seemed to be taken advantage of by everyone and never really put herself first.  James, her husband, was never home and seemed to want her only as an unpaid babysitter.  She was the one keeping up with everything and doing all the heavy-lifting, while all the male characters around her were sullen and entitled.  I was very angry on Callie's behalf by the time I finished the book!


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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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