Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review: The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge

From the back of the book: Camille Hart, one of Manhattan’s most sought-after matchmakers, has survived more than her fair share of hardships. Her mother died when she was a young girl, leaving her and her sister with an absentee father. Now in her forties, she has already survived cancer once, though the battle revealed just how ill-equipped her husband Edward is to be a single parent. So when doctors tell Camille that her cancer is back—and this time it’s terminal—she decides to put her matchmaking expertise to the test for one final job. Seeking stability for her children and happiness for her husband, Camille sets out to find the perfect woman to replace her when she’s gone.

I wanted to like The Replacement Wife, I really did. I liked the premise of the novel. I liked the characters. I thought the dialogue was often perfect and clever. I liked the prose itself (and for this reason, I'd be totally interested in reading other novels by Eileen Goudge). The problem was with the storyline itself, which I personally did not care for. 

You see, I've long had problems with books and movies that want us to root for two characters to have an affair. I just can't bring myself to do it. It drives me crazy. I mean, I know extra-marital affairs happen every day--I'm not naive. But that also doesn't mean that I have to agree with them or want to read about them/watch them. Even when it comes to much-loved movies like My Best Friend's Wedding or Made of Honor, I just can't do it. Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one who feels that way, so I suppose we could call it a pet peeve of mine. 

Unfortunately, The Replacement Wife followed this trajectory, and essentially asked me as the reader to approve of and invest in an extra-marital affair, and I just couldn't do it. For me, once the characters in question crossed that line, The Replacement Wife went from a book that I was really enjoying to a book that I couldn't wait to be finished with. I KNOW this isn't an issue for every reader. I KNOW there are probably hundreds of readers who absolutely loved the novel. But for me personally, it hit at a sort of pet peeve that I just couldn't get beyond.

I always struggle a bit with how to rate books like this that I didn't like for whatever particular reason, but that I also know others may still enjoy immensely. So, I've given The Replacement Wife the fairest rating I can think of, which is just simply that it's not my style. 

Disclosure Statement: I was provided with a free copy of this book to review through my NetGalley membership. My review itself is provided to the publisher, but is not a paid review. As always, all opinions are my own--I don't think I could lie about a book even if I wanted to!


  1. My husband shares that specific pet peeve! You're not alone. :)

  2. I have to be honest when I say that I don't know how I came across your blog, but I did, and I love reading what you write! (Sorry if that sounds creepy!) Thanks for the honest review of the book. I can't say that I enjoy books about affairs either, so I think I will steer clear of this one. Can't wait to see what you read next!

  3. uhm yeah, I am exactly the same. It would have driven me crazy the whole time and I could not have enjoyed it either! Thank you for your honestly- you're not alone!


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