Four Wives

Four Wives

Book - 2008
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Baker & Taylor
The world of four different women living in the affluent suburban paradise of Hunting Ridge--Love Welsh, Marie Passeti, Gayle Beck, and Janie Kirk--begins to unravel as infidelity, abuse, malaise, and a troubled past threaten to expose the reality behind the contented facade of their "perfect" marriages to wealthy and successful men. A first novel. 40,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave
In Wendy Walker's brilliant debut, the lives of four wives and mothers intertwine and collide in a tale of suburban angst among outrageous wealth.
On the outside, it appears as though Love Welsh, Marie Passetti, Gayle Beck and Janie Kirk lead enviable lives, with marriages to handsome, successful men; bright, happy children; and homes right out of Architectural Digest. But in the wealthy suburb of Hunting Ridge, appearances mask a deeper truth: These four wives are anything but perfect. As they try to maintain a façade of bliss, behind closed doors they each face their own crises-infidelity, dissatisfaction, self-doubt. As springtime draws to an end, doors are both opened and closed and the women come face to face with the most difficult and heartbreaking challenge of their lives-to reconcile their innermost desires with the lives that each of them has chosen.
Four Wives shares a peek beyond the perfectly manicured lawns of Hunting Ridge—exposing a world as troubled as it is blessed.

& Taylor

The world of four women living in the affluent suburban paradise of Hunting Ridge begins to unravel as infidelity, abuse, and a troubled past threaten to expose the reality behind the facade of their "perfect" marriages to wealthy and successful men.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2008.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312367718
Characteristics: 354 p. ; 25 cm.


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Oct 06, 2010

Four Wives is an insightful and very entertaining book about four female friends whose marriages are in various stages of collapse. They live in a wealthy suburb where considerable value is put on appearances and families staying together.

There is good drama that keeps you turning the pages: a divorce case involving a child’s death, a steamy and risky affair, escalating family violence and fear of the exposure of a deep childhood secret.

Ms Walker writes with a broad perspective of many of the challenges facing modern marriage especially in a judgmental community where there is little support as relationships start, or continue, to come unraveled. The conclusion we are inevitably led towards is that most marriages are indeed doomed and some will crash spectacularly despite the fallout and consequences. There is even some fancy theory expounded through one of the young characters in intellectual support of this outcome. However, as the book closes this grim outlook is balanced with hope for renewal as major adjustments are made in two of the relationships.

Where the book falls down in my opinion is in the treatment of the husbands and men generally. They are sparsely drawn and mostly incapable of cooking, housework and looking after their children. They are selfish lovers who lack passion. The only thing they seem good at is bringing home a healthy and regular salary. True there are two positive male characters who do connect to these women but interestingly one is older and one much younger.

Now most womens’ lives are more interesting than most mens’ but imagine a book about four husbands with minimal description of their wives. I can’t believe that would be very popular even with male readers. Contrast Four Wives with the excellent movie Revolutionary Road in which the marital problems are traced from the contrasting perspectives of both husband and wife.

The four women all fall into the category of homemakers with one having a career though it is secondary to her husbands. The implication is that women’s role and value in this suburb is to cook, do housework, look after their children and submit to their husband’s wishes in and out of bed. This seems a bit narrow in today’s world.

However, this book provides a well above average read with plenty to relate to in one’s own experience of life.


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