PLOT: 3.5/5
WRITING: 3.5/5

“There’s a particular kind of grief that takes hold when a friendship dies. When your best friend, someone you trusted to love you, turns out to be your enemy. It’s as if one of the anchors that grounds you in this world has come undone. I sure hope there’s a special kind of hell for people like that.”

–       Natalie Barelli, The Loyal Wife

Though I have always been a fan of thrillers, there is something about mysteries and psychological thrillers, that never fails to draw me in. And readers too, love the genre and the recommendations that I regularly put out. 

Probably that’s one reason why my best-performing book recommendations video is – Best Mystery and Thriller Books | 5-Star Recommendations. I never expected it to do so well, but well, here we are (it has around 130K views on YouTube).

So, continuing with this romance of psychological and domestic thrillers, I came across Natalie Barelli’s The Loyal Wife on my Storytel audiobook subscription, and intrigued by it, I sat down to listen.

Read on to know more about the book and about my thoughts on the same.

What to expect?

Expect a women-centric book that narrates the story from a woman’s point of view. Expect a mystery and thriller in the subgenre of psychological thriller and domestic thriller. Expect a book that revolves around marriage, adultery, and scheming, and that carries a whole lot of drama in its 270+ pages.

Who can read?

Written in simple language, the book can be easily picked up by a beginner-level reader. However, given the subject and the themes, it will most likely be enjoyed by women.

Plot summary of The Loyal Wife 

When young Tamara ends up marrying Mike Mitchell, she never believes her luck. Having come from a humble background and with no decent education, Tamara could have never imagined that someone as rich, handsome, and sophisticated as Mike would ever become her husband. Mike is not just the perfect gentleman but also the perfect husband, the most caring, loving, and kind.

But Tamara’s steady and guarded world is shattered when she discovers that Mike is cheating on her. 

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned is a quote that Mike often used to say to her. Little did he know that it will all come back to haunt him. He should have known better. For if Tamara could be the perfect wife, she could also be the perfect revenge seeker, conjured from stuff that nightmares are made of.

And now Tamara has a plan, she knows something about Mike that no one else does. A secret that has the power to shatter him completely and take away everything that he holds dear.

But when Tamara’s carefully plotted revenge scheme goes awry, all hell breaks loose. Maybe she isn’t as clever as she thought she is. Maybe, Mike has always been one step ahead of her.

Is it too late now? Will Tamara figure out the way ahead? Or will she succumb to her destiny?

The writing

The book manages to grab the reader’s attention right from the start. It starts with a bang and surely continues to enthrall the reader. Just like the title and the blurb suggests, there is a whole lot of drama revolving around marriage and adultery. But is the suspense nail-biting enough? No, I wouldn’t say that. Is it a decent one-time read? Yes, that would more likely be my response. Read it if you are looking for a time-pass read and not for a read that would blow away your mind.

The characters

Tamara’s character is well crafted. There are times that you believe her completely and then there are times when she seems like an unreliable narrator. One ends up pitying the choices that she is making, as most of her actions seem to be a result of impulse rather than careful planning. She is also quick to jump to conclusions and that’s not a way an intelligent and calculated woman works. I, for one, wish she was a tad more tactical and smarter.

Mike is always made out to be the bad guy and I found his character to be too shallow, lacking both depth and variety. A pleasant surprise is in the form of Mike’s daughter Madison who brings a new dimension to the plot and serves us a decent dose of drama.

The climax

The book seems predictable for a long time after which it takes a new turn towards the end. While it’s certainly not one of the best climaxes that I have read, it is also not the worst.

In the end

The Loyal Wife is a decent one-time read; a no-brainer if you will. Read it if you are looking for a short and quick read or if you enjoy psychological dramas.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Loyal Wife using the link below.