Book Review: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Susan Angela Ann Harrison’s latest novel The Silent Wife is a mysterious psychological horror about an unofficial marriage that goes awry after 20 years. The reader plunges into the mind of passive psychologist, Jodi, who knows her partner is having an affair; she justifies his behavior with her psychoanalytical methods. The twist isn’t that Todd is having an affair, it’s that he’s having an affair with a girl half his age, the daughter of his childhood friend.
Throughout the book, Harrison strategically composes a his-and-her narrative that allow us to tap into the thoughts of Todd and Jodi. As mentioned before, Jodi is a psychologist with multiple patients. Some are coping with infidelity issues. Sadly Jodi is well aware of cheating behaviors such as, “A shower can eliminate telltale body odors, but the soap the cheater uses in the hotel bathroom is going to be different from the brand he uses at home” because she witnesses it at first hand with Todd.
The Silent Wife is an apt title because Jodi soundlessly gets back at Todd. One of the most thrilling parts of the book is when Todd has to choose between living with either Jodi or his lover, Natasha. He states, “But the prospect of his two worlds colliding; two worlds that belong categorically in separate orbits, is impossible to imagine.” While Todd attempts to make his final choice, Jodi plans her revenge for all of his years of silent sorrow he caused her. The suspense continues to builds and made me believe Jodi killed her partner.
One afternoon while doing laundry, Jodi finds Natasha’s sleeping pills in Todd’s pants and decides to grind up 11 sleeping pills and mix them into his late night drink. The next morning Todd appears unconscious. I was stunned after I read this line, I thought “Don’t intelligent women find other solutions to avoid putting up with their partner’s mischievous?” The author left me lingering by stating phrases such as “Perhaps she should have checked the dosage amount…not that knowing would be any help because she has no idea what dose would likely to kill him.” Pages after this incident reveal that Todd finally wakes up and luckily for her, he didn’t die.
I admire this book because it’s difficult to find a storyline that encompasses the dreadful horrors of a “marriage gone wrong” while still including romantic flashbacks such as “still wet from their swim, young, in love, sheltered by the overreaching sky, they absorbed this experience as something, an exaltation, a moment of breaking through and coming together.” Harrison’s writing style will keep your eyes focused to the page because as she ends one chapter that includes Jodi’s deep thoughts, the next chapter switches to Todd’s mindset and the weight of deception pushes you to continue reading the next page.
If you enjoy horror books that do not include blood, devil possessed characters, or unbearably tragic endings, then this story is definitely for you. I encourage all horror fans to read this book and admit that they didn’t see Todd’s and Jodi’s choices coming. Right when I had the characters figured out, the next plot sideswiped all the predictions out of my head.