In the early hours of an April morning, Maya stumbles into the path of an oncoming bus.
A tragic accident? Or suicide?
Her grief-stricken husband, Adrian, is determined to find out.
Maya had a job she enjoyed; she had friends. They’d been in love
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…
Lisa Jewell is certainly a prolific author as she has now written twelve books and has definitely come a long way in her writing style since her debut Ralph's Party released way back in 1999. I read and enjoyed The House We Grew Up In and I still have Before I Met You on my T.B.R. At first I was really intrigued by this new release as with The Third Wife Lisa's writing style has really changed and I would class her as now being at the more serious end of women's fiction. I had high hopes for this book but am sorry to say I was left disappointed and to be honest I struggled to make my way through this book, I only kept reading to discover what had happened to 'The Third Wife' Maya but when I eventually reached the end I didn't care what had happened and was just glad to see the back of such an unlikeable bunch of characters.
The book began with such promise with a stirring, tense opening as Maya, a 33 year old school teacher is wandering home from a drunken night out when she steps in front of an oncoming bus. This strong opening left me with many questions (that lasted throughout the novel) and had me eager to read on to discover the answers. We flash forward to one year later where Adrian is still grieving for his wife, he seems to be aimlessly stumbling through day to day living, knocked off track by the abrupt departure of Maya from his life. Only now does he realise that Maya kept everything going in the balancing act that was his day to day existence - attempting to keep two other families going as well as his relationship with Maya. Now Adrian is lost and bewildered when a woman called Jane appears in response to an ad he placed in the post office looking to sell Maya's cat. With the arrival of this mysterious woman Adrian begins to question everything he knows and whether Maya may have committed suicide or was it just an accident?
Adrian already has two failed marriages behind him and 5 children who, although all of very varied ages, still need and demand his attention as the after effects of the broken marriages are still being felt. I got the impression that Maya was his rock and the one thing that attempted to keep him steady and now that she is gone Adrian is all at sea and he begins to understand that may be people feel a lot of resentment towards him. He really wasn't all that likeable and came across as selfish and needy, a man who always had to have a woman by his side at all times in order to function and manage his life. He was never happy with his lot as evident with two failed marriages and a third that may or may not have been heading the same way for all we know. Pearl (the youngest of Adrian's two daughters) describes him as a love addict and I suppose he was always searching for that one elusive love who he believes to have found and then is not quite happy with what he gets.
Adrian becomes very caught up in finding out about this Jane woman when she leaves her phone in his flat and in the end I know this storyline did become essential but my god it was convoluted. I love a good twist and turn in a book but this was just ridiculous and frankly quite annoying. So much so it put me off Adrian even more and I began to take far more interest in his family - Cat and Luke from his marriage to Suzie and Pearl, Beau and Otis from marriage number two to Caroline. From the outset the reader is led to believe the families have perfect lives and all co-exist in perfect harmony and have no bitter feelings towards anything that may have have happened in their lives. But peel back the layers and all is not as it seems and each child has something to hide. Slowly undercurrents start to surface and make us realise everybody does have something to hide. I really didn't identify or like any of the characters which is really unusual for me ok so I took more of an interest in Adrian's family but their actions and falseness didn't do much to make me want to root for them and find a happy satisfactory ending.
I'm sorry to say every time I thought the storyline was finally going to start revving up a bit and get going it didn't it just fell flat and that was really the overall tone of the book for me. Yes, there as an element of mystery but I felt we really needed to hear more of Maya's viewpoint, there were bits and bits interspersed throughout the book but just not enough to satisfy me. This book had the potential to be very good if you had read the blurb but in the end it really did not deliver but left me sadly wondering would I bother with a Lisa Jewell book in the future.