The Wife and the Widow book cover
Book reviews

The Wife and the Widow, by Christian White

Come closer. I’ll let in you on a secret. I’m going to tell you what happens in The Wife and the Widow (published by Affirm Press, 2019), the second novel of Australian writer Christian White, but I’m not going to give away anything. I mean it. What I’m talking about is one of the mightiest twists to wrap its tentacles around a plot in recent memory. There: I’ve told you. But there’s more.

I’m also going to say you’ll be doing yourself an incredible disservice if you don’t find out what I’m on about. So, what am I on about? The Wife and the Widow is set on Belport Island, a fictional island off the coast of Victoria, Australia. Over the summer months the population swells as holiday-makers flock from the mainland, but life on the island is somewhat quieter come winter.

Making an unplanned trip to Belport in the off-season is Kate. Her husband has been murdered there. Her husband whom she believed had been in London on a business trip. Shocked and confused, Kate, working with police, desperately attempts to piece together his final movements. Abby, a full-time resident of the island, works at the small community’s supermarket.

She is mortified by news of a violent death on the island. But her husband’s odd behaviour is beginning to puzzle her, to the point she comes to believe he may be a murderer. Kate and Abby do not know each other, but the grisly death of Kate’s husband will see their fates intertwine.

Written with a narrative style that brings to mind 2012’s Gone Girl, by American author Gillian Flynn, Kate and Abby present their perspectives chapter about, gradually layering up the mystery. Adding, bit by bit, to the suspense. I already told you something big happens in The Wife and the Widow, but the story has become a page-turner long before then.