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Friday, May 26, 2017

#CJSReads Review: The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke @LizandLisa @LittleABooks

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Lake Union Publishing
Releases 6/1/17

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Bestselling authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke make their suspense debut in this twisty, emotional thriller.

Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…

My Review:

Jacks understands that not all marriages are perfect, but she never expected to get news that her husband's business trip was actually a trip to Maui with his mistress and that they both died in a car crash while there. Nor did she expect Nick to show up in her life, the fiancé of said mistress, and suggest they retrace their unfaithful partners' steps in Hawaii. During this trip, Jacks realizes that nothing is ever what it appears to be on the surface. And she, of all people, should know that secrets can be quite the burden. But what if this trip provides answers that she didn't want? Is ignorance bliss, will questions beget more questions or will she find out more than she bargained for?

This book starts out with a bang! A couple in a jeep, a woman with a secret, a whisper leading to a derailment.... oof - I NEED TO KNOW. Flashing back and forth between Jacks and Dylan's (the mistress) life, we see all of their relationships unfold. Certain parts may seem a bit implausible, but really, who cares? Take the book for what it is - suspenseful, intriguing, full of culture from James's Costa Rican background to the setting in Maui, Hawaii. Liz and Lisa keep you turning page after page. They show how certain relationships can fall apart, marriages and affairs alike, and how human emotions run a large range - whether it be through siblings, lovers or spouses. How far would you go to try and save your marriage - would you allow your partner to break you down bit by bit.. is that really love or just an obsession? This is a fast, easy and entertaining read. For the authors' first venture into this genre, color me impressed and give me more! Keep your eyes on these ladies - they're just getting started!

Huge thanks to the lovely, hilarious and beautiful authors and to Lake Union Publishing for this arc in exchange for my honest review.  ★★★★

Jessica's Thoughts:

I've always wondered how it's possible to have books written seamlessly when it's multiple authors, and this team of Lisa and Liz is amazing! I'm definitely not through with these ladies. The Good Widow is a great thriller about Jacqueline "Jacks" Morales and her discovery that her seemingly normal and boring marriage, wasn't at all as it appeared.

Jacks is an elementary school teacher, and her marriage was far from perfect, but even with it's ups and downs she could always count on it to be predictable. That is until two police officers showed up at her front door with bad news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

We bounce back and forth from Jacks' perspective and Dylan's (the other woman) as Jacks and Dylan's fiance, Nick, try to piece together what happened the day of the fatal car crash. She's slowly starting to realize that nothing is ever as it seems - not her marriage, not her husband, and definitely not his death.

This was a page turner from start to finish! I really enjoyed the writing style that these ladies have. They did a great job showing how relationships progress - whether it's through growth or falling apart. The landscapes of Hawaii were amazing throughout the novel! It was a very quick and entertaining read. If you want a great summer thriller, then I'd highly recommend this!

I give this 4/5 stars!

Sam's Thoughts:

The Good Widow, a novel written by the writing duo of Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, was one of my most anticipated releases for June.  I had heard several of my blogging friends (notably Amy from Novel Gossip and Chelsea from The Suspense Is Thrilling Me) singing its praises.   Well, those ladies had it correct.  This read is the perfect one for a summer at the beach or to binge read in your PJs.  From the first pages, I was completely hooked.

The novel opens an unnamed couple driving off into the sunset.  Flash forward, we meet elementary teacher, Jacks, getting the news every wife fears.  Her husband, James, is dead.  He died in a car crash in Maui.  The problem is, James was supposed to be in Kansas on business.  As Jacks receives more information surrounding his death, she is absolutely shocked. He was in Maui with a woman.  A woman he was having an affair with.  As Jacks learns her marriage is not as it appeared, she finds herself connecting with a man, Nick, who knocks on her door and is, ironically, the fiancé of the James’ lover, Dylan.  The pair decides to head to Maui and find answers but the ones she finds, may not be the ones she is ready for….

I am a complete sucker for any sort of domestic thriller.  This one had me ticking all my boxes Likeable protagonist?  Check!  Scandal?  Check!  Secrets and betrayal?  Check!  Fenton and Steinke do a superb job at hooking the reader and dragging them slowly and meticulously throughout the plot.    I loved the way they chose to narrate the tale by giving both women’s (Jacks and Dylan) perspectives both before and after.  I kept asking myself throughout, “Before what??!!  After what??!!  The crash?  Something else??!!”  Each chapter helps to set the stage for the affair, the state of Jack’s and James’ marriage and the eventual events leading up to the fatal crash.   I loved that this one had me guessing and constantly predicting what I felt was going to happen.  In the end, I was correct, but Fenton and Steinke did an amazing job at making me second-guess myself continuously!

This book would be perfect for fans of the domestic thriller genre that like something a little lighter:  think, The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle or It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell.   I also feel like Mary Kubica fans will love this novel! I gave it 5/5 stars.  

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