The Guilty Wife by Nina Manning

One woman’s past could cost her everything…
Frankie Keegan is struggling.
While she tries to make strides in her career, life at home is slowly unravelling as she is haunted by the secrets of her past.
Someone else remembers…
As the dark nights draw in, the anniversary of the loss of her brother looms and Frankie is drawn back to the memories of that fateful night 20 years previously. As she descends into a guilt-ridden state, she begins to suspect that someone else is also remembering that night and they are determined to terrify her…
Can she confront her past before it’s too late?
From the international bestselling author of 
The Daughter In Law, a gripping psychological thriller about family, secrecy and grief – with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of K L Slater, Shalini Boland and Lisa Jewell.

Please be warned this review contains details of the plot, characters and events.

I love a good thriller. I like to sit with my cup of tea and deerstalker, channelling my inner Sherlock Holmes, trying to work out ‘whodunnit.’
And that was exactly what I did with The Guilty Wife except unlike normal, I didn’t manage to work out the twist!

From the beginning, I wasn’t a huge fan of the protagonist, Frankie. I found her quite cold and almost calculating, using alcohol as a crutch and constantly pushing away her family. As the story progressed, I did begin to warm to her.
Having suffered a huge trauma in her teenage years, the narrative follows her struggles to cope with said trauma as well as live her life as a successful woman, mother and wife. As a woman in the 21st Century, you are expected to juggle these three roles whilst simultaneously showcasing a big, breezy smile. It’s bloody hard work! Frankie shows how hard these roles are and when they are met with a mysterious stalker and a ‘unsupportive’ husband, things were always going to spiral out of control.
There were many questionable actions and I often found myself shaking my head at her choices. Admittedly, I have never been in her situation but I would like to think that I would be a little bit more pragmatic and thoughtful if it was the case.
Ultimately, she was a very fragile woman who had not received enough or the right kind of support during her traumatic younger life.

Frankie’s husband, Damian was a character I couldn’t quite get my head around. As a stay at home dad, who struggled to find IT work, I felt that he didn’t have the compassion or fatherly love you would expect.
The way he spoke to Frankie was often demeaning and the language he used seemed controlling; it was almost as though he needed to ascertain his masculinity and authority as man of the house by making his wife feel small and insignificant.

Starting a new job is always duanting, but when it is for busniess mogul Mason Valentine, who also happens to be gorgeous, Frankie was always going to struggle. With a name like Valentine, it was always going to foreshadow a potential office romance, especially when Frankie’s marriage was slowly disolving around her.
Mason seemed too good to be true from the very start and there was something which made me question his motives throughout. He seemed to prey on the vulnerable and I was worried about his ulterior motives from the start.

I found myself floating a number of different theories throughout the book as to who was behind the mysterious ‘stalking’ of Frankie. Her husband seemed to be too pre-occupied with his phone/iPad to notice her discomfort. Her new boss, Mason, seemed too good to be true.
Manning expertly wrote in a number of red herrings, in the shape of plausible perpetrators to keep you off the scent of the real ‘villain.’

I liked how the book showed how trauma can manifest throughout your life and lead you down a dark, unmanageable path. Working with students who have suffered from adverse childhood experiences, this was a topic that hit home with me and made me question what could have been done better. In the flashbacks, Frankie’s accounts of her teenage years showed a young firl who was easily taken advantage of with only one supportive figure, her older brother, Kiefer.
The interspersing of the diary extracts, a coping method recommended to her by a counsellor after her traumatic experience, and flashbacks to her adolescent years allow you as a reader to chart Frankie’s highs and lows. She becomes a more rounded and relatable character as the story progresses.

I would have loved to have heard more from the other character involved in the twist – almost like a mirrored account of their involvement with Frankie.

This is a fast-paced thriller with characters and a plot which grow throughout, leading to an unexpected climax

I was lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for this book with the wonderful ladies over at The Ladies Who Read – check out or website for some other thoughts on this book.

https://theladieswhoread.wordpress.com/

Check out the other bloggers on the tour and click on the link to purchase the book https://amzn.to/38Kj9OY

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