The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

mhaley6's review

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dark mysterious tense
  • Strong character development? It's complicated


A wild ride! I never saw the ending coming.

jordiemooon's review against another edition

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4/5 stars ★★★★✩
"I remember thinking how fragile we were as humans, souls covered in tender flesh and brittle bone; one wrong step and we became someone else entirely."
The Good:
• I was so intrigued the entire time I was reading this and it was probably the fastest I've read a book in a while. I just HAD TO KNOW what was gonna happen!
• Even a few weeks later, the story has stuck with me (quite unusual). I can still recall small moments that made me reflect on life and question my own morals.
• There are some GREAT quotes in this book, dude. I highlighted quite a few through the kindle app, but I feel like there are still others that resonate with me.

The Blah:
• Some circumstances felt like cop-outs...

Notes for myself:
01/15 for 2020
kindle / purchased
Other books by Tarryn Fisher to try -
I Can Be a Better You (owned), Atheists Who Kneel and Pray

jennilind's review

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This book was interesting. While it wasn't perfect it was a really unique story that I felt drawn into. There were enough "wait, what?" moments in it that kept me wanting to read more to understand what was happening, even while getting annoyed at how some characters acted. I am usually really good at guessing big reveals in books before they happened but I honestly was very unsure while reading this book on which way the story would go - which was great to experience!
If you're looking for an easy but suspenseful read I recommend this book.

krislynv's review

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Debated between 4 or 5 stars and thought... ah, what the hell, I read it in two days so I’ll give it 5. I could not put it down. I just kept turning the pages to see what was going to happen. When I was done I was like what the hell did I just read? (in a good way). Totally crazy, twists and turns til the very end .... literally

kasia_k_'s review

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tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


mcgravel87's review

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dark mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No


hickmonl's review

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dark mysterious fast-paced


elchefe's review

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dark emotional mysterious sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


shanlyz's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


How does a man love so many women? A different woman almost every other day. And where do I fall in the category of favor?

I love you all differently, but equally. I wanted to know what that meant, the specifics. Was it sexual? Emotional? And if you had to choose, if he had a gun to his head, would he pick me?

“My father…” he started. I rolled my eyes. Glad the known world could start an excuse with “my father.” 

“So, where do I come in? You’re looking for a breeder and I fit your type?”

I wanted to say, no, to be the type of strong, resolved woman who didn’t budge. I had to remind myself that I’d been the one to call him, and he hadn’t manipulated me into anything. “You’re in control”, I told myself. “You’ll be his legal wife.” I was so, so wrong. 

I love him so much, and despite the awful uniqueness of our situation, I can't imagine being married to anyone else. And that's what love is about, isn't it? Working with what your partner came with. And mine came with two other women.
I'm about to turn off the little overhead light and leave when something catches my eye. Poking out of a dress pants' pocket is the corner of a piece of paper. I pull it out, at first worried the pants will be washed with the paper in the pocket and ruin the rest of the wash, but once I have it in my hands, I'm curious. It's folded into a neat square.
I only hold it in my palm for a moment before opening it to have a look. A doctor's bill. I scan the words, wondering if something is wrong or if Seth went in for a checkup, but his name isn't anywhere on the paper. In fact, the bill is made out to a Hannah Ovark. 
"Hannah," I say out loud. The receipt in my hand says she was in for a checkup and labs. Could Hannah be… Monday?

How perfectly annoying that Monday would live here. I think of my condo downtown, stacked on top of a dozen others, people living vertically in little spaces in the sky. I spend five minutes staring, admiring it all, when a voice makes me jump.
"Shit," I say, holding a hand over my heart. When I turn around, she's staring up at the house too. 
“After the wedding we did a remodel. So. Much. Work," she says, rolling her eyes. "Luckily, it's what my husband does for a living, so he handled everything.”
 I love you all the same, wasn't that what he always said? The same! Yet here she is with a house while I wilt away in a high-rise. Clearly, she is the type you buy a house for and I am the type who gets a card.
"Would you like to come in and see it?" she asks.
There are no family pictures hanging anywhere that I can see, and for that, I'm grateful. What would it be like to see your husband in family photos with another woman?

"I'd love that," she says eagerly. "I'm not from Oregon.
I moved here to be with my husband, so I haven't made many friends."
"Oh, where are you from?" I tilt my head to the side, trying to recall if Seth had told me where she was from.
My skin prickles. Seth is from Utah. Had he known Hannah when he lived there? No, that isn't possible. Tuesday is his first wife; he'd been with her in Utah. There is an age difference between Seth and Hannah, so it isn't likely they went to school together. Hannah pulls her phone from her back pocket and I tell her my number so she can program it in.
I'm suddenly desperate to get out of here. What was I thinking, anyway?
Seth could stop home during his lunch break and find me with Hannah. What would he say if he found two of his wives together? I make for the door and bend down to lift the lip of my shoe from where it's folded against my heel. then that I see the shards of glass on the floor. 
She takes it, thanking me, but I notice the blush that has crept up her neck. "Must have been the photo I had hanging there. There was an accident and it fell off the wall?" I nod. These things happen. But then, as she pulls her hand away, the glass held gingerly between her fingers, I notice a sizable cluster of bruises on her forearm. They're just turning purple. I avert my eyes quickly, so she won't catch me staring, and open the door.
"Goodbye, then," I say.
She waves before shutting the door.
I think about her bruises all the way back to my car. Had they looked like finger marks? “No”, I tell myself. “You're seeing things.”

I fold my arms across my chest and stare out the window, suddenly not feeling as special and loved as I had hours ago. I feel cast off, abandoned. I am not the one having his baby-she is -and so my needs matter less. Oh my God, he invited me to Portland to soften the blow. This wasn't a stolen romantic getaway, it was a manipulation: the soft words, the flirting, the nice dinner- the realization stings.
"I've sacrificed a lot, Seth.." I want to cringe at the bitterness I hear in my voice. I don't want to act like a child, but being robbed of my time with him is unbearable.
Seth actually has the audacity to frown at me. "You can't run away from this. We have to talk about things. That's how it works in a relationship. You knew when I married her what that would entail. You agreed." I am so enraged I stand up, knocking over my empty water glass as I push out of the half-moon booth and rush toward the door.  
How dare he lecture me on marriage? His path is the easy one.

I want to make him suffer. He needs to know that there are no lies in a marriage- no matter how women you're married to-which makes the truth more complicated. But still.

Marriage to one person is hard enough. You're right about one thing," I say, "I’m disappointed. I feel betrayed. I'm...jealous. Someone else is having your baby and it's not me."
All the things that comprise our lives, and yet none are filled with memories, or represent a joining of lives, like a baby would. He shares that bond with someone else. I suddenly feel depressed. Our existence together is a shallow one. If not for children, what is there? Sex?
Companionship? Is anything more important than bringing life into the world? I reach up absently to lay a hand on my womb. Forever empty.

I was the new wife, shiny and well-loved-my pussy a novelty rather than a familiar friend. Of course, there was the promise of babies and family, and I would be the one to provide them- not her.
That boosted my position, gave me a power.

He didn't leave, but the downside of that was he didn't leave anyone. He merely adapted. Rather than divorce, he took a new wife-one who could give him children. I was the second wife. Tuesday, in a compromise to remain without children, agreed to legally divorce Seth while I married him. I was to be the mother of his children. Until... Hannah.

She doesn’t have to share her husband with anyone else and I crave that, as much as I try to tell myself that I don’t. Things would be so much easier if the other two wives weren’t in the picture. 

Because women don't ever stop wanting what they want. They see another man who's considerate ar some, and it reminds them of what they're missing in their own lives."

But being dick-whipped or pussy-whipped can sate you just enough to blind you. My mother once told me that a relationship could withstand almost any trial if the sex was good. 

I've become that woman- the one who is made happy by the happiness of others. It's disappointing to me, that I've forgotten myself entirely.
Be supportive of the other women!
Remember to suck his dick as often as you can so you can be the favorite…

Perhaps he discovered his type is me. That’s wishful thinking, when you’re one of three.

"Yeah?" I seethe. "Or you had an arrangement. I'm sick of it. I wanted to know who she is. See her face. You get evervthing you want, three wives, and we're just left to pine after you."
'Listen to me. You're sick. It's happening again.
I stare at him in astonishment. "Sick..? You're the sick one," I spit. You get to have as many women as you want, and we are your emotional prisoners." Once the words are out of my mouth I realize how much I mean them. I've never allowed myself to think it; I was overcome by love pressing, pressing, pressing my feelings down to accommodate him. Isn't that what we do as women?
“You’re going to be exposed for who you really are.”

I'd been for such a caring husband. The tea, the tea he said was sent by his dead mother. Oh my God. If Regina was right, it was Seth who caused the miscarriage.
The pain I feel is almost unbearable. At the time of my miscarriage, I'd not seen the medical report from the hospital; I hadn't wanted to. Seth had been my protector during those days: grieving with me, sheltering me from the things I didn't want to hear. I wouldn't have managed to get through that time without him. He'd told me that his decision for a second wife came when Regina decided that she didn't want children. Why then would he end the life of his unborn child, endangering my life, too? Nothing makes sense.
My last search is the most painful, prompted by Regina's last words before we parted ways outside of the diner:
"I think there's something wrong with him."

By the time he told me about Regina, I was already in love with him. I was willing to accept anything he had to offer just to be loved by him. 

The hurt rushes through me and the all of a sudden it's gone, replaced by anger. How dare he. How dare he love me one minute and discard me the next. Seth's attention isn't focused on me. It's focused on Hannah.

“She left a message on my phone. Said she was coming here. I didn't know... I was worried."
A chill washes over me; it starts at the back of my neck and creeps down my body like an invisible hand. What is she doing? Surely she came here to back me up. 
"I called the police," she says to me. "I told them you were coming here with the intent to harm Seth or Hannah, that you'd threatened to do so."
My whole body is trembling now. It's a setup, it was all a setup. When she'd told me she'd found out where Hannah was, I'd been too preoccupied to ask her how. She'd known all along where they were, and I'd played right into her hand.

The air whooshes out of me at the same time I feel blood on my hands. Seth collapses on top of me, the gun trapped between us. His blood pools warm on my belly.
I can barely breathe. And it's in that loss of breath that I remember. Seth approaching me at the coffee shop, him telling me that he was married, my initial anger, and then our affair, getting pregnant.. and his wife, Regina, leaving him. I remember thinking he'd marry me now that Regina was out of the picture, that we'd be a family. But then I lost the baby... Oh God, oh God. Waking up in the hospital and the doctor telling me that I'd never be able to have another child. The look on Seth's face...
And then he'd left me. For Hannah. Some slut he met who was young enough and fertile enough to have his babies. They were both from Utah; she was ten years his junior. But I'd begged him to come back to me; I'd told him that I didn't care if he married Hannah, that I still wanted him. And so began our second affair.

After the police came to Hannah and  Seth’s temporary home and found Seth bleeding on top of me, I was taken to the hospital. I spent three days there recovering from minor wounds before they transferred me to jail to await my arraignment.
Regina had set me up, of course, getting me to believe and accuse Seth of causing both of our miscarriages. But this turned out to help my case. My lawyer got me off on insanity. 

During my first meeting with Dr. Steinbridge, just a day after I arrived, he told me that I'd been stalking Seth and his new wife for quite some time. He also told me that Seth's ex-wife, Regina, had corroborated the story by saying that I'd shown up at her work and her home, forcing myself inside and demanding information about them.
Dr. Steinbridge told me. "Seth is a troubled individual, the way he grew up, the abuse he claims he suffered. He cheated on both of his wives and emotionally manipulated you. He used you and played into your denial. But we aren't here to deal with Seth's issues, we're here to deal with yours.
When you realized what was happening in your relationship with him, your mind created an alternate reality to deal with both the death of your unborn baby and the fact that Seth was moving on with someone else."
"But he never tried to end things with me," I said.
And then the good doctor produced half a dozen emails between Seth and me, all of which came directly from my email account. Seth pleaded with me to accept the fact that we were over and that he was sorry for cheating on Hannah. 
“You and Seth were never married. He had an affair with you when he was married to his first wife, Regina. Regina left him when she found out that he got you pregnant." He'd paused to let that sink in. "But you lost the baby, and that caused you to enter a psychotic episode."
Seth had not caused our miscarriages, but Regina made me believe that he had. 

Once I made Seth the enemy in my mind, it was so easy to believe what Regina fed me. My baby had been healthy one day, moving and kicking, and then he'd just stopped. There was no medical reason found. 
"Dr. Steinbridge," I say during one session. "Isn't it funny that Seth never mentioned any of this the last time I was here?"
"He never claimed to be your husband, Thursday. When you came in last time it's because Seth tried to end things with you.

I'd been so eager to blame someone for the death of my baby that I'd never questioned her story, and Regina, so eager to punish me, had never imagined the outcome it would have.
"I knew you had issues with mental health, but I had no idea the stories you made up in your own head about the polygamy."
I look away, ashamed. Shame is a powerful reality check.

“Make decisions you can live with..." he says to me.
"I wanted to make you look crazy. I didn't know you were crazy."
I bristle at that. "You think you're not?" I shoot back.
"You think it's normal to do what you did? I may be the one in here, but at least I can admit what I did. You told me he scared you to get me to further believe he was abusing Hannah. You made me believe he'd caused your miscarriage and mine. All to get me to go there that night?”She stares at me, her mouth thinning into a straight line of denial. Of course she didn't want to think she was as bad as me. I didn't want to think of myself as the other woman; denial is a twisted, perverted soul-thinner.
"You're the one who brought the gun. You shot Seth," she hisses. "I wanted you punished for ruining my life I didn't want Seth to get hurt."
Yes. But you could have helped me and you chose to use me instead, You handed me the delusion."

Seth and Hannah did not deserve what happened to them. Seth was a cheater, he'd had an affair with me when he was married to Regina, and then, when I couldn't have his children, he'd moved on to someone else: Hannah. But he'd continued his affair with me even after he'd married Hannah. The rejection had caused me to lose touch with reality. Seth would never walk again; my bullet passed through his spine.

Her laughter hurts my ears. I cover them with my palms, pressing hard, trying to block out the sound. It's the same as that day in my kitchen, Seth calling me crazy, looking at me with disgust in his eyes. I'm shaking when I rear back, slamming my head into Regina's nose. The force slams my jaw together. I bite through my bottom lip and feel the shards of a broken tooth. She screams, a hand reaching out to touch the spray of blood rushing from her nose.
I jump over the table, knocking her to her back. Her head hits the floor and I see the shock and panic in her eyes eyes wide with fear. I cradle her head between my hands and slam it into the floor. I can hear shouting, so much shouting.
"Help!" someone screams. "She's going to kill her!"
I am helping. I'm helping myself.

chad8's review

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