I love Kerry Fisher’s books. I reviewed her first book, The School Gate Survival Guide back in 2014, and also reviewed The Island Escape when it came out, and thoroughly enjoyed After the Lie. I was excited then, to discover that The Silent Wife had been released.
This is the story of a single mother named Maggie who marries a widower, the younger brother in a close Italian family who seem to disapprove of her wholeheartedly. She moves into her new husband Nico’s house, the family home he had shared with his dead wife, across the road from his disapproving, overbearing mother and next to his older brother Massimo.
Massimo’s wife Lara seems to have everything; she’s a stay at home mother to her young son and seems to want for nothing. But appearances can be deceptive.
Maggie struggles to form a relationship with her new stepdaughter, and this problem only increases when she accidentally discovers a secret about Nico’s dead wife. She’s torn between telling Nico the secret and risking ruining his memory of his wife, or keeping it a secret and enduring the ongoing problems with Nico’s daughter. Meanwhile Lara has her own secrets to keep about her husband.
The book follows the two women through several months of family life, beginning as strangers and slowly making a friendship; though each seems to have slightly incorrect impressions of the other’s personality. It’s a story about trying to fit in somewhere you’re not sure you can fit, of domestic abuse, of difficult family politics in general. And it’s a brilliant read. From the very beginning I was hooked, wanting to know what would happen next, how it would all pan out.
There was a part towards the end where it seemed that a particular issue had been resolved, but in a very “and they all lived happily ever after” sort of way that seemed incredibly false. I found myself hoping the book wouldn’t end this way because it would really ruin the whole thing. I was not disappointed though; this part of the plot just served to illustrate how we can all go through better times where we start to think perhaps we were overreacting when things were bad, perhaps things have changed and everything will be fine – until things go wrong again. I found it absolutely brilliant.
This book is a fantastic summer read. The blurb on the back likens it to books by Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain. I’ve only read books by one of those authors, Liane Moriarty, and I have to say I agree. It has that same human element where you can see yourself in at least one of the characters, you can recognise certain people and situations from your own life, and you’re silently cheering for the right person to win in the end.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fiction book. It’s a very easy read which I found hard to put down.