Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Third Wife – Lisa Jewell

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction

What would you think if you heard that a couple went on holiday with the man’s previous two ex-wives and five children age-range five to twenty-three, and everyone was happy? My initial reaction was ‘that’s a bit odd,’ but then I reflected on the rest of the blurb…

In the early hours of an April morning, Maya stumbles into the path of an oncoming bus. A tragic accident? Or suicide? She even got on with his two previous wives and their children. In fact, they’d all been one big happy family.
But before long Adrian starts to identify the dark cracks in his perfect life.
Because everyone has secrets.
And secrets have consequences.
Some of which can be devastating.

As a reader we only meet Maya on that tragic night in 2011, subsequently the book is told from Adrian Wolfe’s point of view as he is left wondering what happened to his big cosy family. He chronicles the background to that awful morning as well as pursuing his only investigation in the present, desperate to find out what happened that fateful morning.

Lisa Jewell, as always, pens a hypnotic tale and, like Maya, I was quickly dazzled by the harmony of Adrian’s family and decided that Adrian Wolfe must have been an exceptional man indeed to have blended the phases of his life together so successfully. all the while knowing that all was not as it appeared.

Although I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as I have Lisa Jewell’s previous novels, like those, it examines contemporary issues without judgement, instead letting the reader digest and come to their own conclusions. Once again this outstanding author has given us some perfectly drawn characters from the youngest Wolfe to the eldest. The minutiae of details are written to be absorbed and are provide building blocks of the characters rather than depending on lengthy monologues we are given a gradual shading in of the outline of the person followed by a peeling back of the layers to expose the hidden parts.

This is an enjoyable, mature read which takes the now familiar tale of a broken and blended family and examines the cost to each member of this example.

I’d like to thank the publishers Random House UK who gave me the opportunity to read this book in return for my honest opinion. The Third Wife was published on 3 July 2014.

My favourite Lisa Jewell books:

click on the covers to read my reviews

Before I Met YouThe House We Grew Up InThe Making of UsThe Truth About Melody Browne

Lisa Jewell Novels
• The Third Wife (2014)
• The House We Grew Up In (2013)
• Before I Met You (2012)
• The Making Of Us (2011
• After The Party (2010)
• The Truth About Melody Browne (2009)
• 31 Dream Street (2007)
• Vince and Joy (2005
• A Friend of the Family (2004)
• One Hit Wonder (2001)
• Thirtynothing (2000)
• Ralph’s Party (1999)


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

10 thoughts on “The Third Wife – Lisa Jewell

      1. I am a huge Lisa Jewell fan but for me it took ages for me to get into The third Wife, I think the characters for whatever reason didn’t sing as loudly and brightly to me as in some of her other books.


  1. Reading about a book like this reminds me of a book I read with my fifth graders: “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech. We learned, walk a mile in a person’s shoes. Things may look perfect to outsiders or even family but there can be much deeper things going on. I added your favorites to my to-read list.


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