The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin

The Starter Wife

Claire Wescott is married to Byron, a professor at a liberal arts college in Ohio. She’s his second wife and is starting to question if his change in behavior towards her means something…is it a sign that he’s seeing someone else. Claire thinks a baby will be the answer though she’s got fertility issues. As she pursues that direction, she’s also trying to figure out if there’s a “who” responsible for his distraction.

From the start, I knew I was dealing with an unreliable narrator because Claire has some serious issues! And, the prologue introduces someone, anonymous, who’s always in the background and I was never quite sure where to place her…past or present, good or evil, real or imagined. Then there’s Colleen, Byron’s first wife, who has a large presence in the story. She disappeared years ago, presumed dead by suicide. The narrative is Claire’s and it’s an uncomfortable place to be in as she grapples with self doubt, body image issues and her writing failures. I didn’t like her very much though I had empathy for her situation. I went back and forth about Byron because I only had Claire’s point of view.

Because of my struggles with Claire, I had mixed feelings about this story. I had a hard time resuming reading after breaks because I didn’t want to be back in her head. But, there came a point where things shifted and it became a seriously intriguing puzzle I had to solve. I got there but was still surprised by one final twist. I’m glad I hung in there because being off balance is part of the story’s allure. If you don’t get hung up on how you feel about the narrator, you’ll appreciate the journey and the payoff. I’m still thinking about that ending.

Book Info

  • Release Date: June 11, 2019
  • Page Numbers: 352
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing


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(Thanks to NetGalley for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

19 thoughts on “The Starter Wife by Nina Laurin”

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