Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Review: Dear Wife - Kimberly Belle

Dear Wife
by Kimberly Belle
Published: June 25, 2019
Genre: Mystery Thriller

Beth Murphy is on the run...

For nearly a year, Beth has been planning for this day. A day some people might call any other Wednesday, but Beth prefers to see it as her new beginning--one with a new look, new name and new city. Beth has given her plan significant thought, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.

Sabine Hardison is missing...

A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she's taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only evidence the police have, and all signs point to foul play.

As the police search for leads, the case becomes more and more convoluted. Sabine's carefully laid plans for her future indicate trouble at home, and a husband who would be better off with her gone. The detective on the case will stop at nothing to find out what happened and bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? The only thing that's certain is that someone is lying and the truth won't stay buried for long.

4 Stars

Beth has been preparing for this day, she has hidden away money, she has plotted her routes, and she has left the past behind her. She knows he will follow though, that at some point he will find her.
Sabine is missing, there are no clues left behind and the police have little to go on. Her husband seems desperate to find her, but Sabine's future plans are very different than the ones he thought they shared and the police soon suspect foul play.
Detective Marcus has a lead and he won't let it go, he'll find Sabine and along the way discover who this mysterious Beth is too.

What a read! Dear Wife is the first female led thriller I have ever read that didn't feel like a domestic drama. Beth is a fascinating character with a compelling story, I could have easily read an entire book about her escape from her abusive husband and the new life she creates for herself. Sabine's story, though missing, is told from the perspective of others and tells a tantalizing story of a secret life. Her husband, Jeffrey, desperate to find her and yet angry at the things he uncovers. Marcus, a detective on a mission, lets everything in his life slide as he seeks the missing woman. The stories are similar and also contrasting; we only know one thing, Beth and Sabine are from the same town and both are no where to be found. Are they the same woman? And if they are different, why are women going missing from Pine Bluff?

Told from three character perspective, Dear Wife is a fascinating thriller that dives into the minds of three people each uniquely affected by the case of missing Sabine. I was absorbed into this story, even the initially confusing character POV changes couldn't slow me down. I needed my questions answered immediately. Kimberly Belle effectively delivers a story about a woman on the run from a terrifying marriage and another missing from a marriage that, from all perspectives, seems to be at a dead end. Beth is willing to do whatever it takes to stay hidden, she has planned out every detail, she finally has the control. Jeffrey is, at first, the bereft husband, willing to play detective himself to find the Sabine he realizes he doesn't know anymore. He soon morphs into every shifty-eyed man you see on the television that every housewife calls foul play on. And Detective Marcus, he treats his ideas like a dog with a bone, but nothing is as it seems with him. I loved how we are given the stories of each right away, each is laid out so tidy that when something comes in to break up the narrative we thought we knew it feels like a shock.

Dear Wife is a made up of a series of twists and turns, leaving the reader unable to guess what is truly going on between our three main characters. While I guessed at a few things, I predominately found this thriller to be an engaging and unique read with plenty of surprises. Kimberly Belle is an incredible writer and I loved her take on the classic missing wife story. It's always the husband, until it isn't.

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