The Wife and the Widow opens with Kate and her daughter Mia waiting at the airport for her husband John, Mia’s father, to arrive from Singapore. John has been at a conference in London for two weeks and they’ve decided to surprise him and pick him up from the airport. But he doesn’t arrive. In fact, he didn’t even go to London. Instead, he’d gone to Belport Island, the last place Kate would ever have expected him to return to. And as the ensuing days unfold, Kate unravels her husband’s final two weeks, leaving us glued to this exceptional thriller.
Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, the setting plays a vital role in the novel. Belport Island is a fictional island located in the Bass Strait off the coast of Victoria. White paints a vivid and oppressive picture of winter island life that sets the tone for this tale of murder and secrets.
The Wife and the Widow is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, now a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she’s forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.
Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and the Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love? Both Kate and Abby are excellent characters who have strong character arcs, both starting from a point of weakness with their men, but quickly showing resilience, intelligence and strength. The secondary characters are all well drawn and I particularly liked John’s father, Fisher as his character developed.
This is the second standalone thriller from the award-winning author of The Nowhere Child, White’s bestselling debut, and the winner of the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. The Wife and the Widow firmly cements his reputation as one of Australia’s best crime/thriller writers. White’s writing is polished, his dialogue sings, his plotting is masterful… and takes a turn in this book that you will never expect. Seriously, never.
I read it in one sitting and didn’t get much sleep. So be warned. This book will keep you up until the very last page. And it was worth it. Thrilling, brilliant storytelling, unputdownable… Christian White has another hit on his hands.
About the author:
Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter whose projects include feature film Relic. The Nowhere Child is his first book and one of Australia’s bestselling debut novels ever. An early draft of this novel won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Since publication The Nowhere Child has been shortlisted for major awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards’ General Fiction Book of the Year and Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and the Indie Book Awards’ Debut Fiction Book of the Year. Rights to The Nowhere Child have been sold in 16 territories around the world, and were acquired in a major screen deal by Anonymous Content (US) and Carver Films (Australia). Christian’s keenly awaited second book, The Wife and the Widow will be published in Australia by Affirm Press in October, 2019.
Christian lives in Melbourne with his wife, filmmaker Summer DeRoche, and their adopted greyhound, Issy.