“The Wife Before Me” by Laura Elliot starts like a nice romantic story. It has a great cover that pulls readers right into the first line. However, sensitive readers should be cautioned that this is not such a nice little loving story. This book is a psychological thriller that contains both emotional and physical spousal abuse as well as elements of graphic violence that some readers may find disturbing.
Elena Langdon meets Nicholas Madison, and all is well. (They meet at a funeral, which itself is rather creepy and forecasts the much more creepy to come.) When she discovers a torn page from a letter, things take a turn to the dark side. Amelia finds out that she does not really know Nick, what he is capable of, or exactly what happened to Nick’s deceased wife.
The story is told primarily from the points of view of Elena, and Amelia, (Nick’s first wife) and alternates between the present and the past. This establishes the pattern of abuse, and helps readers connect with the women; however, it is at times confusing. There are lots of minor characters and exacting details.
The book follows the pattern of other current novels focusing secrets, lies, and a deceitful husband. The pieces of the puzzle come together slowly, very slowly at times, and the narrative is filled with emotion and anxiety as well as secrets and a final twist.
I received a copy of “The Wife Before Me” from Laura Elliot, Bookouture, and NetGalley. I recommend this for readers who like psychological thrillers and can tolerate some violence and elements of abuse.