The Younger Wife

St. Martin’s. Apr. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781250229618. $28.99. SUSPENSE
Hepworth’s latest novel (following The Good Sister) begins at the wedding of Stephen Aston, a respected heart surgeon in South Australia, and the much younger Heather Wisher. It seems perfect—surrounded by Stephen’s daughters Rachel and Tully, family, friends, even his ex-wife, Pamela—until, just after the ceremony, there is a scream, a thud, and the celebrant emerges pale and bloody. A series of flashbacks from the points of view of Heather, Rachel, and Tully reveal shocking secrets that unravel the ersatz perfect family and threaten a carefully constructed façade that someone may be willing to do anything to protect. Hepworth weaves the struggles of dementia, sexual assault, anxiety, and domestic abuse into the lives of realistic, likable characters that readers will be rooting for.
VERDICT As much a mystery as a character study of three young women coping with love, loss, and trauma while struggling with the discovery of being deceived by the one they count on most. This title will appeal to fans of Jamie Brenner, Jodi Picoult, and Celeste Ng.
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