... a compelling, fast-paced tale of two seemingly disparate families ... There is a devilishly deft plot twist at the finale ... This is a well-constructed novel with a strong, atmospheric sense, which is not surprising. The locale is a fictional stand-in for the author’s home town of Ocean Grove on the Province of Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula ... a gripping psychological thriller that delivers on its examination of the corrosive impact of family secrets with a dramatic finish that upends expectations ... A small caution: There are probably more details of taxidermy—not coincidentally White’s wife’s hobby—than the average reader may require or find palatable.
It’s often hard to write about the machinations of a really good crime novel without giving too much away, and this is indeed the case with The Wife and the Widow. It’s one of those books that you recommend to people with the instruction, read it – and then we can talk. What can be said is that White employs a highly original narrative structure ... [White] also writes like a dream ... one of the most original crime novels of the year and White is clearly a rising international star of the now very vibrant Australian crime fiction scene. Prepare to be dazzled.
White has more than one shocking twist ready to trip the unwary ... Here, the twist only amplifies a solidly constructed, emotionally moving, and deeply compelling story told with beautiful yet straightforward prose. White’s characters are complex and real, varied in their behavior and motivations ... there’s an otherworldliness to this story that leaves quite an impact ... The themes The Wife and the Widow explores are equally impactful; from the obligations of honesty and responsibility to the bonds between parents and their children, wives and their husbands ... an impressive, cinematic chiller that demands a re-read if only to fully appreciate the mastery of its construction.
White exceeds readers’ expectations after his supersuccessful debut, with strong, complex protagonists in Abby and Kate and notable secondary characters who are well developed. The plot never stops and the clever twist is thrilling.
Well into this tale, White delivers a shocking, excellently executed twist that will have readers reexamining their assumptions about Kate and Abby; this and the sordid details of decades-old misery and fierce parental love make The Wife and the Widow a story to remember. Fans of White’s debut will be pleased with this follow-up; try it, too, with patrons who enjoyed Jane Harper’s similar The Dry (2017).
Even the most die-hard thriller reader will be surprised at the direction The Wife and the Widow takes, but even without its truly shocking reveal, White’s thriller stands out for its penetrating examination of marriage and the lies that build between spouses ... White’s eerie, patient unraveling of small deceptions makes The Wife and the Widow a hypnotic reading experience ... heartbreaking and contemplative.
... stellar ... Superior plotting buoyed by strong characters fuel the women’s separate investigations as Kate looks into John’s activities and Abby wonders why Ray is distant and sad. A clever twist near the end upends the plot’s trajectory. Readers will eagerly await White’s next.
There are so many twists and turns that to reveal more of the plot would be unfair; suffice it to say that the story doesn’t go where most readers will expect it to. The author does a vivid job of creating real characters and captures the alternately calm and claustrophobic feeling of island life ... Some readers will find the twists fair and others, infuriating, but no doubt all will hang on to discover the ending.