Review: The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

Published on: May 19, 2020 by Harper Collins

Buy this book at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: Breezing into the tony seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn’t like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent.

Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she’s thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it’s not her loving support that’s sparked his renewed happiness—it’s something else.

Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he’s more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they’ve built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children.

Joanna is devastated—and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper’s past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?

Review: This book was such a disappointment. I breezed through the first half of the book in a single sitting because I found it entrancing. True, the characters were incredibly one dimensional. But I loved the drama and the sheer obviousness of the plot that I couldn’t stop listening. Things slowed down a lot in the middle and I was getting bored but I had been promised a fantastic twist by other reviews so I stuck through. The twist was not good, it literally made no sense at all and was confusing more than anything else.

Warning: Alright, that was the broad strokes, from here on out there will be spoilers.

I will focus mostly on the ending in this, but a few thoughts about the behavior of everyone in this book. People don’t do the things they do in this book. We are led to believe that Joanna is Leo’s wife (in the process of a divorce), yet she has a therapist who is so condescending that I would have fired her after one session. She constantly tells Joanna that she’s being obsessive and it doesn’t matter if her fears that Piper is a murderer are legitimate or not. That’s an odd stance. Also you’ve failed as a therapist when you have a client who is stalking another person and you tell your client that you are concerned they might have dangerous intentions, but don’t report that to the person being threatened. That’s a professional responsibility there.

Or like when Leo files for a restraining order and Joanna is arrested and all custody rights taken away because of a single swat on the butt to one of the children and no history of abuse. Even though at the police station they didn’t seem to find her much of a threat and allowed the children to stay in the room with her until their father arrives. Even when we know the whole story it makes no sense.

We discover in the end that Joanna was never married to Leo. She was his business assistant and that after the death of the children’s mother he decided to let her move in to help with the children. Then he met Piper and decided to marry and that arrangement had to change and Joanna went nutty and became obsessed with Piper and getting rid of her. Nobody’s behavior towards her makes any sense, even given all the facts. If this woman basically kidnapped the children and then physically struck one of them, why did the police allow the children to remain with her while waiting for their father? Surely when they called Leo he would have explained what was going on? Why did the children act like she was their mother through the whole book except at the end?

And while Joanna might have been crazy, she also wasn’t wrong about Piper. She is a murderer. She will kill the children and her husband if they disappoint her. So, everyone is an asshole is the message here apparently.

Speaking of the children, they read as being very young. I would have imagined Stelli being around five and Evie being around seven. But apparently they are 11 and 13, so their juvenile dialogue and inability to understand things made no sense at all.

It just gets more confusing when you have all the facts. Confusing behavior turns to nonsensical behavior. It was a terrible, terrible ending.

5 thoughts on “Review: The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

  1. Doesn’t sound promising. And yes, after that lead-in, I read the spoilers, and it made the book even less promising.

    I am in mind of The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. It usually works the other way with children and replacement wives – as a mother of three, I find it difficult to think the nanny would be that besotted by someone else’s children, and vice versa. Kids are great, but they are also a huge amount of work. Sometimes they are a conduit to a widower, but more often, the nanny takes care of the kids so the guy can have free time – which is spent finding someone for his interests and needs.

    And someone who doesn’t have custody (because she’s not the children’s mother or guardian) can’t lose custody.

    Here’s the question: now that you’ve seen this, how would you re-write it to make better sense? You said you were intrigued by the beginning.

    1. If I were writing the story I would have had Joanna be the ex-wife but not the kid’s mother. Joanna always wanted to be a mother, so she married a widower and became attached to his children and then he wants to cut her off once they get divorced. I’d give her very compelling reasons to be suspicious of Piper and give the reader plenty of reasons to be suspicious of Piper too. But ultimately Joanna is wrong and ends up doing something awful in her quest to prove Piper is a murderer. I think that would have been a much more compelling story.

      And I agree re: kids. I love my kid, other people’s kids….not really. Kids are exhausting and unless they’re my own I just don’t have the patience for that. So stories of strangers getting obsessed with other people’s kids doesn’t ring with me either.

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