Wife Between Us (Hendricks, Pekkanen)

The Wife Between Us 
Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen, 2018
St. Martin's Press
352 pp.
ISBN-13:
9781250130921


Summary
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.

You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.

You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement—a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.

You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.

Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage—and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies. (From the publisher.)



Author Bios
Greer Hendricks
Birth—ca. 1968
Raised—San Francisco, California, USA
Education—B.A., Connecticut College; M.A., Columbia University
Currently—lives in New York City, New York

Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. Prior to her tenure in publishing, she worked at Allure magazine and obtained her Master's in journalism from Columbia University.

Greer's writing has been published in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children. The Wife Between Us is her first novel
. (From the publisher.)

According to Publishers Weekly, Hendricks worked with Sarah Pekkanen on Pekkanen's 2010 debut novel, The Opposite of Me. The two formed a close friendship and went on to publishd six more of Pekkanen's novels.

When Greer left publishing in 2014, Pekkanen was one of the few who knew of Hendrick's desire to write. Co-authoring a book with Hendricks, Pekkanen believed, would up her own game. So began their collaboration on The Wife Between Us (2018), followed by An Anonymous Girl (2019)



Sarah Pekkanen
Birth—1967
Where—New York, New York, USA
Raised—Bethesda, Maryland
Education—University of Wisconsin; University of Maryland
Currently—lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland


Sarah Pekkanen was born in New York City, arriving so quickly that doctors had no time to give her mother painkillers. This was the last time Sarah ever arrived for anything earlier than expected. Her mother still harbors a slight grudge.

Sarah’s family moved to Bethesda, Maryland, where Sarah, along with a co-author, wrote a book entitled "Miscellaneous Tales and Poems." Shockingly, publishers did not leap upon this literary masterpiece. Sarah sent a sternly-worded letter to publishers asking them to respond to her manuscript. Sarah no longer favors Raggedy Ann stationery, although she is sure it impressed top New York publishers.

Sarah’s parents were hauled into her elementary school to see first-hand the shocking condition of her desk. Sarah’s parents stared, open-mouthed, at the crumpled pieces of paper, broken pencils, and old notebooks crowding Sarah’s desk. Sarah’s organization skills have since improved. Slightly.

After college, Sarah began work as a journalist, covering Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, Sarah could not understand the thick drawls of the U.S. Senators from Alabama, resulting in many unintentional misquotes. Sarah was groped by one octogenarian politician, sumo-bumped off a subway car by Ted Kennedy, and unsuccessfully sued by the chief of staff to a corrupt U.S. Congresswoman. Sarah also worked briefly as an on-air correspondent for e! Entertainment Network, until the e! producers realized that Capitol Hill wasn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, what one might call sexy.

Sarah married Glenn Reynolds, completing her rebellion against her father, who told her never to become a writer or marry a lawyer.

Sarah took a job at Gannett New Service/USAToday, covering Capitol Hill. Sarah was assigned to cover the White House Correspondents Dinner and rode in the Presidential motorcade to the dinner. Sarah convinced a White House aide to let her stick her head out of the limousine moon-roof during the ride and wave to onlookers. Later, her triumph was tempered by the fact that bouncers would not allow her into the Vanity Fair after-party. Sarah attempted entry three times in case the bouncers were just kidding.

Sarah took a job writing features for the Baltimore Sun, and interviewed the actor who played Greg Brady. She refrained from asking if he really made out with Marcia, but just barely.

Sarah and Glenn’s son Jackson was born. He arrived too quickly for Sarah to receive painkillers, and Sarah was pretty sure she saw her mother smirking. When Glenn put a loving hand on Sarah’s shoulder during the throes of labor, Sarah decided the most expedient way to get Glenn to remove his hand was to bite it, hard. She was proved right.

Twenty months later, Sarah and Glenn’s son Will was born. Three weeks later, Sarah and Glenn moved into a new home and renovated the kitchen. Two weeks later, Glenn caught pneumonia and simultaneously started a new job. Ten days after the kitchen renovation was complete, the kitchen caught on fire, and Sarah, Glenn and family moved to a hotel while renovation began anew. Sarah and Glenn decided to work on their "timing" issues.

Having left her journalism job to chase around the ever-active Jack and Will, Sarah started writing a column for Bethesda Magazine and began work on a novel. She did not write it on Raggedy Ann stationery.

Her first book, The Opposite of Me, came out in 2010 and her second, Skiping, a Beat in 2011. Those were followed by These Girls in 2012, The Best of Me in 2013, and Catching Air in 2014.

Sarah gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, Dylan, and  gets a little weepy every time she contemplates her good luck. (Adapted from the author's website.)



Book Reviews
The Wife Between Us bests The Woman in the Window in the didn’t-see-it-coming plot twist category.
USA Today


Buckle up, because you won't be able to put this one down.
Glamour


(Starred review.) [A] jaw-dropping psychological thriller. This is not another eye-rolling story about the jealous ex-wife stalking her replacement.… Unforgettable twists lead to shocking revelations all the way through the epilogue.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.) Readers who were enthralled by B.A. Paris’s Behind Closed Doors and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will love the skewed psychology and shifting perspectives of this domestic thriller.
Library Journal


(Starred review.) [A] seamless thriller that will keep readers on their toes to the very end.… Readers will enjoy the dizzying back-and-forth as they attempt to figure out just who to root for and as the suspense ratchets up to one hell of a conclusion.
Booklist


The use of a multiviewpoint …narrative to …purposely misleading the reader is a really, really popular device. Two words: Gone Girl.… [T]he fun is in trying to figure it out before they tell you.… A good airport book.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
1. On page 7, Samantha asks Nellie one of the defining questions of the novel: "Ever think he’s too good to be true?" At what point did you start to think that Sam might be right, and Richard might actually be too good to be true?
   
2. What do you think is the significance of Vanessa’s new job at an upscale clothing store? How might it affect her to still be in the upper class world she once occupied, but in a much different role? Compare and contrast her experience there to her previous job as a teacher.

3. Throughout the novel, Aunt Charlotte and Vanessa have an extremely close relationship, even when Vanessa struggles to be honest with her aunt. How do you see this relationship affecting the choices Vanessa makes? Is there someone in your family with whom you have a similar bond?
   
4. When did you realize who Vanessa, Nellie, and Emma actually are? How did this new understanding shape your experience of the rest of the story, and how do you think it will affect your experience if you reread the novel?
   
5. On page 162, Vanessa says, "I guess I thought marrying Richard would erase my concerns. But my old anxieties simply yielded to new ones." Do you think that that is a common misconception about entering into a marriage? If so, why do you think so many men and women believe this?
   
6. The Wife Between Us asks difficult questions about how much someone’s past can explain or excuse their behavior. What’s your opinion? Did getting to know more about Vanessa’s or Richard’s backstory help to explain or justify their choices at all?
   
7. The theme of sight—foresight, hindsight, and even real, physical eyesight—is wound throughout the entire novel. Maggie, the young sorority pledge, repeatedly says, "I hate it when I can’t see." Do you think that anyone in this novel could (or should) have been able to see more clearly the consequences of their actions? Do you believe in the old saying, "Hindsight is 20/20?"
   
8. Did the end of the novel leave you questioning who was really calling the shots and who had a full picture of what was going on? Which character do you think was truly orchestrating the events that were set into action—or was there more than one person responsible? Why do you believe this?
(Questions from the author's website.)

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