Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Book Review: The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Good Sister
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "THE HUSBAND A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself. THE DAUGHTERS Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money. THE FORMER WIFE With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is. THE YOUNGER WIFE Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses in all of them?"




Pamela is married to Stephen Aston, a successful heart surgeon. They have two beautiful daughters, and live in a gorgeous house that they are remodeling, but no matter how perfect Pam's life is, she can't fight the early on-set dementia that is slowly tightening its grip on her. Stephen, her husband, hired Heather, an interior designer, to help bring Pam's vision to life, but slowly Pam is losing herself and Stephen has to put her into a nursing home.  This breaks his heart and he finds himself being consoled by Heather. As time goes on, sparks fly between the two despite the fact that Heather is young enough to be his daughter.  This blows his daughters' minds as Heather is their age and his new relationship with her feels wildly inappropriate considering their mother is still alive! The eldest daughter, Tully, has her own issues to deal with as she recently found out that her husband made a bad investment and they are losing all their money.  Plus, she has a slight problem: she likes to steal things.  Then there's her younger sister, Rachel, who is a beautiful baker, but she eats her feelings due to the fact that she hasn't dealt with the trauma from her childhood.  All of these tragically flawed characters coming together makes for a very dramatic domestic suspense from Sally Hepworth, especially when Stephen announces his upcoming marriage to Heather right when Pam starts suggesting Stephen isn't the nice guy they thought he was.  The Younger Wife, while isn't as compelling as Hepworth's The Good Sister, is still a suspenseful, fast moving novel despite my issues with it.

Hepworth is really good at creating tragically flawed characters that I find myself still rooting for even though I don't always agree with their decisions. She makes me care about them and that's how I felt about Tully. Her world is being turned up side down, she will have to move out of her beautiful home, and she has her own mental health issues while raising two little boys.  I was worried how all this stress might play out for her, not to mention the fact that her mother keeps divulging information about her father and the information starts to raise some questions for Tully.  Is Pam just rattling on or is there some truth to her secrets?

It was pretty easy to see where Hepworth was going with Rachel and her trauma in The Younger Wife. She hasn't dealt with her issues, so now she eats too much as a way of coping with difficult things in her life.  Rachel has always been the beautiful one, but she has a lot of baggage.  She is more accepting of Heather than Tully, but she also starts questioning things when she finds a load of cash hidden in her mom's water bottle with a note.  What was Pam saving for? Was she trying to leave Stephen? 

Heather is also a complex and troubled character in The Younger Wife mostly because she also has unresolved issues from her childhood.  When she moves in with Stephen (to the house she helped design!), things are blissful until she starts to realize that he controls her a bit and comments frequently on her clothing, how much she drinks, her version of a story, etc.  Things also get dark at times, and she  starts questioning her sanity. Is it her and her unresolved issues or is it Stephen? I found myself trying to figure out if she was an unreliable narrator, especially when Heather starts questioning herself. Also, I wasn't sure I could care about a character like Heather who dated a married man, but surprisingly, Hepworth found a way to make me care!

The Younger Wife is a soapy domestic suspense novel that I thought was decent overall, but the ending left me feeling let down. I hear that the official ending in the published novel is different than the ARC which I read, so that makes me feel better.  I tried to take that into consideration with my review as my main issue with the novel is the last 10% of it.  Nonetheless, if you enjoy domestic suspense and are a fan of Hepworth, readers won't be too disappointed by this novel as it is very fast moving and I was hooked as I wanted to know what would happen to these complex and complicated women.  

So, are you a fan of Hepworth's novels? Have you read The Younger Wife? Is it on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below.



  1. I haven't read one of Hepworth's books in awhile, but this does sound interesting - I wonder why they decided to change the ending?

    1. I think b/c it wasn't good. I wasn't happy with it. I am very curious what the new ending is. I hear it works a lot better! Thanks for dropping by, Angela!


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