Elisa Wright is a mom and wife, living a nice, quiet life in a nice, quiet town. She’s also convinced her brother-in-law is a murderer. Josh has one dead wife and one missing fiancée, and though he grieved for them he starts dating someone new. Elisa fears for that woman’s safety, and she desperately wants to know what happened to her friend, Josh’s missing fiancée.
Searching for clues means investigating her own family. And she doesn’t like what she finds. A laptop filled with incriminating information. Other women.
But when Elisa becomes friends with Josh’s new girlfriend and starts to question things she thinks are true, Elisa wonders if the memories of a horrible incident a year ago have finally pushed her over the edge and Josh is really innocent. With so much at stake, Elisa fights off panic attacks and a strange illness. Is it a breakdown or something more? The race is on to get to the truth before another disappearance because there’s a killer in the family…or is there?
Title: The Replacement Wife
Author: Darby Kane
Published: December 28, 2021
My Rating: 3.5 stars
I devoured and loved Ms. Kane’s debut novel, Pretty Little Wife. Although this title is written under the author’s pseudonym (and I do love her Romance titles) I simply cannot say that I loved The Replacement Wife. The writing is good, the words flow smoothly, the basic story is intriguing – this time it was the characters that kept me from wanting to spend more time in their world, to figure out what is reality and what is being manipulated by others.
Elisa is convinced that her brother-in-law, Josh, is a serial killer as the women in his life keep ending up dead or missing, never to be heard from again. Yet no one will believe her mainly because of a recent trauma in her own life that has left her less than believable as she has severe depression and PTSD… and pills that are supposed to be helping but are not. She’s forgetful, often lost in panic anxiety as she relives that moment over and over. But when that forgetfulness and the panic attacks begin to ramp up for no real reason other than she’s started to outright question and defy Josh — that’s when her questions and suspicions lead her into more danger from a man she’s loved as a brother for years. Josh’s new girlfriend either is an ally or an enemy and Elisa cannot decide which is the truth… and lives will depend on her figuring that out.
I could not like one single character in The Replacement Wife and that includes a little mischievous, often out of control little boy. Harris, Elisa’s husband, will defend his brother over his wife’s concerns time and time again, often (inadvertently) helping Josh with his plans for Elisa. His entitlement and constant, undermining and belittling of Elisa guaranteed that he would get on my last nerve. Josh simply came off as slimy without a redeeming quality to be found. Rachel, I never knew her agenda which side she was on, good or evil. And Elisa should have been a sympathetic character, someone to root for as she finds her way to the truth of her friend’s disappearance and whether Josh is in fact a killer. Yet, for me, she came off as unlikable, often almost inviting the bad guys to use her, tormenting her for surely she deserves this because she couldn’t save her friend. …and yet, I did finish The Replacement Wife, even sat kind of stunned at the absolute ending to this tale for a few moments.
Any review is simply the thoughts of one reader — and your reaction, enjoyment of this story may be far different than mine. That’s the joy of reading, no two people ever read the same book. I would encourage you to pick up this story if you love suspense, not knowing what is truly real, and putting puzzle pieces together before the reveal. I wish I had loved this story, but it did keep me reading until the final page to know what ultimately happens. You need to make up your own mind, as for me, I’ll be keeping an eye out for Ms. Kane’s next release because I don’t give up on an author just because their most recent release didn’t blow me away.
I own a Kindle edition of this title.
Available in a variety of formats including print and for your favorite e-reader