The Second Wives Club: A Novel Hardcover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
At the first meeting of the Second Wives Club we meet the other two women in the club and learn a bit about each one of them and their situations.
Julia, is the trophy wife. She is perfect in looks, the kitchen, at business functions, and bed. Her problem is the fact that her husbands ex-wife seems to be his best friend. They are always in contact with each other and it drives Julia crazy.
Fiona, has a 16 year old stepson from hell. With the help of Jakes mom whispering in his ear, he is not willing to give Fiona the time of day and is causing constant problems between her and her husband David.
Susan, whose situation is a bit different from the other womens. Her boyfriends ex-wife was the perfect mother and wife but unfortunately it is hard to compete with a women who died. Susan always feels as though she is not loved as much and Nick does not show her enough how much he really cares.
Over the course of a couple of years, we watch these 4 women battle it out with the ex-wives and husbands all in the hopes of seeing better days. Some make it, others don't.
Even though I found myself routing for the ex-wives from time to time, and did not like every one of the second wives, this was still a fun easy to read book. If you have read other books by Jane Moore including Fourplay and the The Ex Files, you will want to pick up The Second Wives Club as well.
These characters are worse. But it's not their fault; it's mostly the fault of the author, who isn't too interested in developing them with any depth. Don't read this book to listen in on conversations the way people really talk. But the fictional women's questions are eerily familiar, and worth thinking about when you know they are based on real people's experiences:
Will my new in-laws ever take down the pictures of my husband and his former wife? How do I have a natural relationship with my stepchild? Will my husband always put the kids before our relationship? If we have kids, will he be around enough, or off with his other kids? Will his guilt over leaving his marriage ever subside? Will mine? Do I deserve every problem I have?
I liked how many different themes and scenarios come up through the four characters. Everyone will relate to at least a few of the situations, and I bet more than half, while not recommending the book for its literary merits, will go online looking for a second wives support group of some kind or other. Just to see. Meanwhile, you can start with the book.
The four women are:
Alison steals her husband Luca from his wife, Sofia, in classic fashion (the boss/secretary situation) and gets repaid in kind. At Alison's wedding reception, Sofia crashes the party to pick up her two sons and when Luca refuses to stand up to her the stage is set for their relationship. Alison wonders if she will always be the second most important thing in his life, with his children being first.
Fiona's husband David has a 16-year old son from his first marriage and they have a one-year old daughter together. Fiona has to deal with being a stepparent to a son who thinks she's the reason his parents aren't together. Their strained relationship adds extra pressure to her marriage and she has to wonder if it will ever get any easier.
Julia is married to James and thinks herself the perfect trophy wife. She cooks like a gourmet chef, exercises and eats right, is active in local charities, and is creative and insatiable in bed. Surely that should be enough, until James decides he wants more from her than she's willing to give.
Susan is the only member of the group who isn't actually married, but she lives with her boyfriend Nick. Nick's first wife, Caitlin, died and Susan stepped in to act as a surrogate mother to his six-year-old daughter. When Caitlin's parents start to resent Susan's place in their granddaughter's life it makes her wonder if she can ever climb out of the Caitlin's shadow.
Overall this book was fine, but it didn't really shine in any way. It was kind of boring for the most part and I actually had to make myself finish it. Time passes without mention in this book and you sort of have to guess if it's one week later or several months just by what's going on in the characters' lives. Furthermore, the characters were flat and I felt no connection or reason to care what happened to them. Though the story has elements of a number of other chick lit titles that I liked (BABY PROOF by Emily Giffin and THE OTHER WOMAN by Jane Green are the two that stick out the most), for some reason this just didn't do it for me. It wasn't awful though and it could have been worse, but in my opinion it wasn't worth the time it took to finish it.
Now I admit it, I've had leftovers for a late-night snack and enjoyed them immensely. I have older sisters and occasionally have worn hand-me-down clothes that I really liked. I've even driven a secondhand car, which was in great condition and enabled me to drive a better vehicle than what I could have afforded new. Cars, clothes and late-night snacks are one thing, but a second husband is yet another. Baggage doesn't even begin to describe what these men bring to their new relationships.
That's the predicament the girls have found themselves in, and now it's up to them to make the best of their situations. That's exactly what they do when they form the illustrious Second Wives Club. The meetings provide these harried women with a forum for cussing and discussing. More than anything, it's a way to hang on to their sanity and share the indignities they suffer at the hands of the dreaded ex-wives with other women who understand their pain all too well.
While the book's premise --- the trials and tribulations of second wives --- is already an amusing idea, it takes on an even richer flavor from the fact that all of these women are British. The British have a wry sense of humor, unique phrases and an ironic point of view that made this read all the more enticing.
THE SECOND WIVES CLUB begins with the wedding of Alison and Luca. Everything is proceeding swimmingly until Luca's ex-wife, Sofia, storms the reception and reclaims the two young sons she shares with Luca from the party. As if that isn't enough, Sofia also has a few choice words for the now blushing (with embarrassment) bride. Luckily, Fiona, a guest at the wedding and a woman who knows the pain of being a second wife, takes Alison under her wing and invites her to a meeting of the Second Wives Club.
Fiona could use another friend herself as she's dealing with a lackadaisical hubby and an angry teenage stepson. While she wasn't to blame for the breakup of his parents, try telling that to Jake who is an expert at wreaking havoc in his stepmother's life.
At the meeting, Alison also meets Julia, a beautiful trophy wife who, in spite of her physical beauty and impressive repertoire of sexual skills, still can't seem to compete with her husband's friendship with his ex-wife.
Then there's Susan. While Susan has yet to marry her man, they've lived together for years with her stepping into the shoes of his now deceased and sainted wife, Caitlin. While she has done everything from raising his daughter, Ellie, to keeping his house, cooking his meals and warming his bed, Susan has a relationship that leaves her feeling disappointed and devalued.
These women though aren't about to sit passively by and allow their men's previous loves to tread on their territory any longer. They take definite and sometimes risky steps to improve their situations. While I won't ruin any of the wonderful surprises this book contains, I will tell you that it's fast-paced and laugh-out-loud funny.
THE SECOND WIVES CLUB is a great summer read, a frivolous beach book or even a therapy manual if you're a woman who experiences the unique position of being the second wife. I highly recommend it.
--- Reviewed by Amie Taylor