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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb read from Lisa Jewell 10/10
Lisa Jewell is a similar age to me (but looks younger dammit) and appears to obligingly write books that interest me as I age. When I was in my twenties I adored chick lit debut Ralph's Party. As I grew out of chick lit and started to prefer literary fiction, Jewell began to write for me accordingly, or so it seems. Now that I married with kids, I no longer want to...
Published 4 months ago by sam155

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great plotline let down by dislikeable characters and weak ending
The book opens with a real kick as a drunken Maya falls under a bus leaving a distraught husband, Adrian, to cope with the aftermath. However as Maya is the eponymous third wife, he still has his previous two wives and combined families to offer him support. The big question he is struggling with is was her death accidental or premeditated.

It would appear that...
Published 4 months ago by Bookworm58


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great plotline let down by dislikeable characters and weak ending, 15 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Third Wife (Kindle Edition)
The book opens with a real kick as a drunken Maya falls under a bus leaving a distraught husband, Adrian, to cope with the aftermath. However as Maya is the eponymous third wife, he still has his previous two wives and combined families to offer him support. The big question he is struggling with is was her death accidental or premeditated.

It would appear that Adrian liked everything in his garden to be rosy, and encouraged all of his wives and children to get along. On the face of it, it would seem that this was what happened. Maya's death however casts a doubt onto how happy his wives and offspring actually were with the situation.

A further complication is the appearance of the mysterious Jane who is not all she appears to be and her stalkerish behaviour raises questions as to her involvement or not with Maya's death.

I was quickly drawn into the book but my enthusiasm began to wane slightly about halfway through. Essentially I couldn't warm to the character of Adrian, who was exceedingly self centred and seemed incapable of seeing women as anything but potential conquests. I wasn't too bothered about the wider family either, the children, were for the most part not particularly likeable and at some stage most family members appeared as likely candidates for the action that might have contributed to Maya's death

It was my desire to find out what really happened to Maya, and who the mysterious Jane was that kept me going to the end, rather than any interest in the rest of the characters. Sadly I found the ending unrealistic and contrived which for me let the book down further.

I think my real problem with the book is that it fell between two stools, in that it was a mixture of chic lit meets thriller and sadly it just didn't work for me.

I received a free copy of this title via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 1 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
A meandering book that didn't seem to go anywhere but did highlight the inability of some to have ANY insight into the world of others - until it suits. The characters seemed unreal until almost the end of the story but largely because much was written from the perspective of the main character - an ego-centered, immature, phallocrat who thought he was god's gift to women and children.

A 'victim' who leaves wives and children in posh homes but lives in a dodgy apartment; who so wants to be a good dad by complying with (someone else's) Board of Responsibility; who has worked hard enough to be successful but devotes his wealth to his family........ In reality? A thinly disguised passive/ aggressive utterly selfish CHILD himself.

The writing style was simplistic but that only served to later highlight the reality of the lesser characters when their 'truths' emerged. The book did cause me to reflect on my own life choices so it was thought provoking in that respect. However, a woman had to die before Mr Wonderful gave ANY thought about anyone but himself! Worse still this prat got his happy ever after. Wouldn't read it again and wouldn't recommend it.... But I would try some of the author's other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts as psychological thriller, then turns back into chick lit - watch out for spoilers, 14 Oct 2014
By 
Purpleheart (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
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'They might have been fireworks, the splashes, bursts, storms of colour that exploded in front of her eyes.' The novel starts in Maya's point of view at the end of an evening of heavy drinking when she falls in front of a bus. The novel continues with a policeman telling her widower Adrian Wolfe about her death. We find that Maya was Adrian's third wife and that he has five children with the first two wives and everybody is 'one big happy family that goes on holiday together every year'. The rest of the novel is about the aftermath of Maya's death and about whether Adrian's belief in that one big happy family is justified.

I remember reading Lisa Jewell's first book, Ralph's party, because Tom Paulin recommended it so passionately on BBC2's Friday Night Review show. To my mind it was perfectly decent chick lit, no more, and I couldn't quite figure out why he'd been so keen and put it down to the freshness and hope of that first novel, which presumably contrasted with whatever else they'd reviewed that week. I picked up another of her novels later but didn't bother to finish it as I didn't find it engaging. So why did I choose this one? - simply because I'd believed the reviews telling me that this wouldn't be chick lit. The situation with the blended family sounded intriguing and I thought this would be a family drama with psychological thriller elements. It's not.

Unfortunately, this novel isn't that 'breath of fresh air', that Paulin liked so much. Jewell sets up a mystery - did Maya kill herself? who had been making her life hellish with anonymous letters? but the way that the mystery is resolved is unsatisfactory and not credible for this reader. It's also too long and at least one of the subplots, involving Adrian's elder son, could have been left out completely and is only there to add to the mystery elements presumably. Jewell doesn't seem comfortable with the trappings of a psychological thriller, so it all turns back into a chicklit novel. Perhaps it would have been more interesting if Adrian, the main protagonist had actually developed as a character over the course of the novel - and I know the whole idea is that he does - but again, that came out of the plot and me being told that he had by the author, rather than there being any discernible character development.

If you liked her previous novels then I expect you'll like this, though it isn't a light hearted read. If, like me, you were expecting a change in depth then you may well be similarly disappointed. I have given it 3 stars and it's certainly no more than that, for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 28 Sep 2014
By 
F Keegan (N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
The protagonist Adrian has had multiple marriages. His first wife Susie is mum to his adult children, swept off his feet on the mere sight of Caroline, she becomes his second wife and is mum to his little ones. When the drudgery of married life sets in yet again he meets and marries Maya. Maya just wants to fit in, strangely enough the families all seem to get on well and Adrian just wants to keep them all happy but Maya feels she is always on the periphery of the family. Desperate for a baby and receiving hate mail Maya feels her marriage beginning to unravel. After a drunken night out she has a tragic accident leaving Adrian reeling and wondering was it an accident, suicide or murder. Jane is introduced as the person who may just hold the key to it all but she is elusive and hard to track down. Can Adrian get to the bottom of this all and begin to heal?
I found this an average read, it started off well with Maya's death and the impact it has on the family but seemed to get lose it's way mid read. The novel explores Adrian's complex relationships with both his ex wives and his children and his relationship with Maya. During this part it just read like descriptive text to me, no emotion and Maya aside I did not gel with any of the other characters. Thankfully it picked up towards the end although even that I found disbelieving and strange.Despite loving other novels by this author this one disappointed me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a little slow, 2 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
I've not read a Lisa Jewell novel before and I was really looking forward to reading this after reading the blurb but unfortunately, it just didn't do it for me.

With 3 wives and 5 children under his belt, Adrian jumps from one wife to the next leaving broken families in his wake. It's a detailed look at the intricacies of the modern extended family; albeit a little odd with them all going on holiday together.

One of the issues I had with the book was the main character, Adrian. What a selfish knob he was, I don't think I've ever read a book where a lead character infuriated me so much with his want it all, grass is greener attitude to his families and marriage. This book is predominantly his story and what a complete selfish idiot he really is and his journey to that realisation whilst trying to investigate the mystery surrounding wife number three's death.

Overall, it's a well written easy read although with some implausible elements but I did find the mystery of the stalker quite appealing; however like the rest of the story it was just dragged out a little too much and I felt like I was constantly waiting for something to happen.

Lisa's reviews on Goodreads tend to be good so would I read another? Probably, but only on recommendation from a trusted source.

Thanks to publisher for approving me for a copy via Netgalley.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard lessons in life mostly learned by others, until..., 18 July 2014
By 
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Third Wife (Kindle Edition)
Adrian is one of the golden gang of men who sincerely believe/ fool themselves that as long as they are happy with the way things are, well everyone else must surely agree.

His ex wives give every impression of managing without him, they are sterling sorts who get on with life after he, smoothly, he thinks, disengages himself from his two marriages. Susie and Caroline have both been left for the next new model. Seemingly seamless transitions hardly affect Uber Architect Adrian's peace of mind.

However third time is not lucky and the debris is flying. Told partly in the past and partly in the present, the tale unwinds from two sides. Maya dies on the first page so there's no spoiler there. The frame of mind in which she leaves the world is worth investigating though, as pressures have been brought to bear from all quarters.

He ponders and puzzles, sometimes coming up with some pertinent revelations. I enjoyed his tracts of thoughts on the whole and liked the way we got inside his mixed up head. There are touching, intuitive moments, interaction with his five children Luke, Cat, Otis, Pearl and Beau who all come alive and pop off the page delightfully.

The most significant, most flagged up mystery is carried right through on the premise that it could have been any of them whodunnit. Sadly this is a damp squib which I think rather wastes the reader's time and sympathy. Cyber bullying cannot be dismissed as easily as it is here.

Reading this book is a reasonable way to pass the time while mulling over contemporary personal dilemmas but it doesn't leave much of an impression or a desire to recommend beyond that level of a relaxing read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but unsatisfying, 30 July 2014
By 
Love Books "Jessie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
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This is another difficult one to review. I did enjoy the book, and read it very quickly, but it was very unsatisfying with a hugely frustrating ending.

Adrian, aged 47, is, everyone agrees, a nice chap but he's addicted to love. So he marries Susie, has two children with her, then ups and leaves for Caroline, has three children with her then hooks up with sweet Maya, who dies in the first pages of this book. It turns out that there's a lot of bitterness and unhappiness bubbling away beneath the seemingly happy facade of the Wolf family and Maya is the victim of the badness erupting.

It's almost a very good book. Written mainly in dialogue, the characters are compelling (not the same as pleasant) with the exception of Adrian who I found dull as ditchwater. And that's the main problem with The Third Wife, we spend most of our time with Adrian who is dull, self-pitying, boring and so annoying.

I also found the ending completely disappointing and unsatisfying when with just a small rewrite of the last two paragraphs to make Adrian do what he wanted to do, it could have been so much punchier.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb read from Lisa Jewell 10/10, 5 Aug 2014
By 
sam155 (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lisa Jewell is a similar age to me (but looks younger dammit) and appears to obligingly write books that interest me as I age. When I was in my twenties I adored chick lit debut Ralph's Party. As I grew out of chick lit and started to prefer literary fiction, Jewell began to write for me accordingly, or so it seems. Now that I married with kids, I no longer want to read about searches for Mr Right. What I want from a book is family politics and family lives and I want to read about other parents without wandering into self deprecating slummy mummy territory which has been done to death.

Lisa Jewel, is therefore, to me, the perfect author, and The Third Wife suited me down to the ground. I even slowed down for the last hundred pages and had "new book hangover" when I finished it.

Jewell doesn't write about Baddies and Goodies because life isn't like that and neither are people. The protagonist, Adrian is a nice guy, but appears to have have got incredibly lucky in life through sheer niceness and yet he has myriad flaws. As his flaws unfurl, the plot thickens. The story opens with the tragic scene of Maya's Death, and is successfully told in partial flashback. Reading it is like piecing together a detective story or having five gossips with five different people so you can piece the truth together.

Whereas some writers write about flawed characters that you grow to like, in this case Jewell has done the opposite and I became impatient with Adrian on more than one occasion. His selfishness has repercussions on just about everyone in his life, and this is revealed in satisfying clues throughout the book.

I got completely lost in Jewell's writing, as usual, and I love her attention to detail: she somehow pitches it just right so that you don't get endless landscape descriptions, but you do get to see inside bathroom cabinets full of secrets. That's the kind of detail I want.

If you like me, find Joanna Trollope too stagey, and get fed up with chick lit and "What am I like?" Mummy novels, then Lisa Jewell is a safe bet. She avoids cliches and writes almost hypnotically well. She is a writer of excellent modern literary fiction and she writes about the kind of lives i'm interested in. I give The Third Wife ten out of ten and I have this message for Lisa Jewell "Write faster!"
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to Love, 6 July 2014
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
No Spoilers.

Adrian Wolfe, a charming, middle-aged three-times married man is addicted to being in love. Married in his twenties to first wife Susie, the mother of two of his five children: Luke and Cat, he then falls in love with the beautiful Caroline, leaves Susie and their two young children, and starts all over again with Caroline. After several years of seemingly happy marriage to Caroline, and three children later - Otis, Pearl and baby Beau - Adrian, now in his mid-forties, gets itchy feet and moves on yet again to pastures new with the petite, red-haired Maya. Adrian tells himself that he is a lucky man and that everything has worked out for the best - all three wives get on well with one another; the whole family go on holiday with each other every summer; the children appear to have coped well with the many changes in their lives; and now Adrian and Maya are trying for baby number six to add to the happy clan.

However, nothing is actually quite what it seems - Maya has been receiving poison emails addressed to: 'Dear Bitch', Adrian's children are all, in their own ways, suffering from Adrian putting his own happiness before theirs, and then one night a very unhappy Maya, out on her own, drinks a huge amount of vodka and falls in front of a bus and is killed. Was it suicide? An accident? Or was she driven to her death? (No spoilers- we learn about Maya's death right at the beginning of the book and the rest of the information I have revealed appears early on in the book). Now that he is on his own for the first time in his life, Adrian gradually discovers that his seemingly perfect life, is not perfect at all and that his selfish actions have consequences that cannot just be charmed away. And then an unusual and very attractive young woman seems to be stalking Adrian - but who is she? And what does she want?

With her later novels, in particular: The House We Grew Up In and Before I Met You (both of which I have read), Lisa Jewell has been trying to move away from the 'chick lit' label she feels has been inaccurately applied to her early novels, and has now entered into the psychological thriller arena with 'The Third Wife' - a decision which, according to an interview I read with the author, she began to doubt during the writing of this book; and I must admit that although very readable, this novel did not really have the intensity or the amount of plot twists normally found in a psychological thriller. That said, Adrian's character, with his immaturity, his selfish brand of charm and his insistence on ignoring what he does not want to see, was described well, and I found that Maya's situation of trying to fit in with Adrian's large family and how she became increasingly dismayed by her own submissiveness and acquiescence, was portrayed well also. However I do have to confess to not enjoying this novel as much as either of the author's previous two novels and I felt the ending of this story was too neatly resolved, so in the light of this, I will be looking with interest to see which direction Lisa Jewell takes for her next fictional outing.

3 Stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read, full of surprises, 14 Dec 2014
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This review is from: The Third Wife (Kindle Edition)
This is exactly the kind of book I adore – a multi layered offering which comprises in depth and intriguing characters, a dose of mystery and fascinating insight into the world of modern families and the way these characters live their lives.
Adrian Wolfe appears to have a perfect life; married to younger wife Maya, he also has two ex-wives and five children, all of whom appear to get on famously; half siblings and wives all friendly and welcoming, so much so that they holiday together every year and socialise on other occasions – just one big, happy family. Tragedy however strikes when Maya drunkenly falls under a bus, leaving the question did Maya want to die or was it purely an accident? Despite believing that Maya was happy and fulfilled, Adrian can’t stop wondering especially after uncovering a secret. In the aftermath of Maya’s death and in the wake of an appearance by a mysterious stranger, layers are slowly peeled away, revealing that the big, happy family isn’t as perfect or as happy as Adrian always believed and as he fumbles through his grief, learning to live and cope alone for the first time, he has no choice but to open his eyes to the fact that there might be some rot at the core of his family unit.
Through flashbacks to when she was alive we learn about Maya and her role in the family; in the present day we are presented with a very different view of Adrian’s supposed idyllic life as we are introduced to his children and ex-wives and their lives. As information is fed to us the mystery of Maya’s death becomes more intense, leading the reader to wonder and guess at what exactly has been going on. Nothing is given away until the end.
Lisa Jewell has gone from strength to strength as writer; I have loved her previous books but her later novels focusing on the intricacies of familial relationships are truly something else. Written with a wealth of depth and understanding her characters are three dimensional, real people.
The Third Wife’s cast of characters are colourful and individual with recognisable foibles and feelings that make them act as anyone would. I was caught up in the whole scenario of three wives coming together to make life easy for the man they have in common but then as layers are stripped there comes the confusion and guilt of Maya, the bitterness hidden by a bright smile of Caroline, wife #2, the all seeing vision of Susie, wife #1 who sees more than she lets on, the blinkered, selfishness that is Adrian and then the hurt, betrayal and jealousy felt by the children whether 3 or 23. It is an eye opening and thought provoking read that highlights just how broken people can be despite the fact that they might appear to have it all.
Highly recommended, along with The House We Grew Up In, also by Lisa Jewell.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for the ARC of this book.
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The Third Wife
The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell (Hardcover - 3 July 2014)
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