Sunday, September 30, 2018

Book Review: 'The Good Widow' by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Marriage isn’t ever easy, but it’s worth all the ups and downs along the way. At least, that’s what Jacks had always believed. However, when two police officers arrive on her doorstep to tell her her husband has died in a place he never should have been, she begins to question everything she once knew. What do you do when your world is turned on its ear? Do you curl into a ball and ignore it or do you dig until you find the answers you need?
Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales is my kind of woman. Despite the fact that her in-laws don’t much like her, she carries on with her marriage. Although she does try to thaw her mother-in-law’s icy demeanor, she doesn’t become obsessed with it either. Her relationship with her sister is the best though, and Beth’s love and support are amazing.
Nick Ford is every woman’s dream. Smart, handsome and a firefighter to boot. Despite losing his fiancĂ©e to another man and then – eventually – to death, he perseveres. I was wary of his idea to trek all the way to Hawaii to find out the truth of what happened to Dylan and James, but once they were there, I was fully on board. It didn’t surprise me to find Nick and Jacks drawn to one another after their mutual tragedy, but I wasn’t sure I liked it a whole lot either.
You learn a lot more about Dylan Matthews, the woman James Morales is seeing on the side, than you do about James, but that’s okay, too. I think seeing Dylan’s side of the whole story helps you understand exactly why she did what she did. Not that it makes her infidelity right, but it does make it more plausible. I wish we could have gotten a chapter or two from James’ point of view, if only to help the reader reconcile the things that Jacks wouldn’t ever know.
The Good Widow hooked me from the blurb. I didn’t even have to crack the book to know that I was going to love it and I wasn’t wrong. I had the hardest time putting this book down because my need to know the truth was so strong. Then, the authors threw a twist in there that maybe I should have seen coming but, like that big truck late at night, it completely blindsided me. I felt a lot of kinship and sympathy for Jacks, although I’ve never been in her situation before. By the end, I was also firmly on Dylan’s side because, as her story unfolds, you get to know the real girl behind the face of the mistress. Engaging, intense, and full of surprises, The Good Widow was an excellent read.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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