The Silent Wife – A S A Harrison

The Silent Wife

Published June 25th 2013 by Headline

From Amazon:
A chilling psychological thriller portraying the disintegration of a relationship down to the deadliest point.

Todd Gilbert and Jodi Brett are in a bad place in their relationship. They’ve been together for twenty-eight years, and with no children to worry about there has been little to disrupt their affluent Chicago lifestyle. But there has also been little to hold it together, and beneath the surface lie ever-widening cracks. HE is a committed cheater. SHE lives and breathes denial. HE exists in dual worlds. SHE likes to settle scores. HE decides to play for keeps. SHE has nothing left to lose. When it becomes clear that their precarious world could disintegrate at any moment, Jodi knows she stands to lose everything. It’s only now she will discover just how much she’s truly capable of…

My thoughts:

Jodi Brett and Todd Gilbert are a couple in their mid-forties who have been together for 20 years in a dysfunctional relationship. They have a desirable property by the waterside and live a comfortable lifestyle courtesy of Todd’s career as a property developer. Jodi works part time from home as a therapist however she picks and chooses her clients and will not deal with people who have more serious issues.

Todd is a serial cheater and Jodi’s way of coping is by turning a blind eye and pretending that nothing is wrong with their relationship. She keeps her routine and looks after the house and doesn’t confront him and lets him carry on with his affairs – until however his current girlfriend, Natasha, who is 20 years old and the daughter of his oldest friend falls pregnant and wants marriage.

Todd’s life begins to spiral out of control and Jodi is caught up in the carnage. These two people who lived together for many years in their own separate bubbles become embittered, each trying to protect their way of life and standard of living.

The story is told by alternate chapters of “Him” and “Her” which worked very well by way of narration. Both Todd and Jodi had troubled childhoods which for better or worse have shaped them into the people they are and the writer has expertly provided depth to their characters. You would think that Jodi, as a therapist, would be able to put her professional skills to good use in their relationship however this doesn’t appear to be the case.

This was an interesting read and whilst very well written, the “thriller” aspect of the story was lacking for me. Both characters were unlikeable and I couldn’t muster any sympathy for either of them, however watching the destruction of their lives and relationship made for compelling reading. Neither character is inherently evil – Todd is selfish and thinks mainly of himself whilst trying to justify his actions and Jodi is a passive character, who unbeknown to Todd, takes her pleasure from exacting her revenge in small ways.

There were times when I felt the book was overly “wordy” and began to feel like a text book on psychology  – I wanted to skim read these parts however the story was good enough overall for me to continue reading to the conclusion. Very sadly there will be no more from this author.

A.S.A. Harrison is the author of four nonfiction books. The Silent Wife is her debut novel, and she was at work on a new psychological thriller when she died in 2013. Harrison was married to the visual artist John Massey and lived in Toronto.


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