The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney
Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
First, I would like to point out that second-person POV is the most difficult for an author to use. Abbie's chapters are written in second person and J.P. Delaney does a fantastic job of immersing the reader in the story in this way.
Admittedly, the beginning and the ending of this book frustrated me. I am not particularly a fan of sci-fi, and after reading the synopsis of this book, sci-fi is not the genre you would initially anticipate. (After reading the synopsis again, I suppose it makes sense, but it is not immediately apparent.) I must admit that I was turned off by the sci-fi element that is so crudely introduced to you in the first three chapters. I recall being equally turned off by the beginning of Stephenie Meyers' The Host, but I ended up absolutely loving that book, so much so that I was inspired to draw again for the first time in years after reading it. But I digress. The point is, don't let the sudden and unexpected reveal that Abbie is in fact a robot—who has been constructed by a mourning husband to be an emotionally capable replacement for the wife he lost—cause you do turn away from this book. As Abbie's awareness grows and she experiences memories of real-life Abbie and discovers clues that indicate that real-life Abbie and Tim's marriage was not what it appeared to be on the surface, you will struggle to put the story down. I finished this book in two short sittings.
As for my problem with the ending, it simply doesn't make sense. Abbie's chapter 83 is not congruent with the narrator's chapter 'TWENTY-SIX,' which immediately follows chapter 83 in the dual storyline. I read these chapters three times each to see if I was just missing something, but I'm certain they are contradictory. Two different accounts of what happened are given here, and what happens in Abbie's chapter makes what happens in the narrator's description in the other chapter impossible. In fact, there are major plot holes pertaining to the ending as a whole, but I do not want to put any spoilers here. This disparity has left me feeling incomplete and has made it difficult to rate the book.
Considering the storyline itself, I feel that robot Abbie is nothing like real-life Abbie, and this poses a problem. The characters in the story are taken aback by how "similar" robot Abbie is, but let's be frank. Real-life Abbie wouldn't put up with all the crap Tim pulls on her. Robot Abbie is just the “perfect wife” she has been told to be and lets Tim get away with far too much. However, the rest of the storyline is actually really good. The psychological struggle that robot Abbie experiences is relatable for anyone who questions their self-worth or relationships with others. She finds an inner strength as she becomes more independent, and she becomes more human even as she increasingly accepts her non-humanness.
I want to give the book a better rating, but I find that I am simply just too bothered by the inattention that was paid to details at the conclusion. This book could have been exceptional.
Note: This review was written prior to the book's publishing date. It is possible that changes have been made to make the story more congruent.
Recommended for fans of: science fiction, thriller, psychological thriller, domestic thriller, AI
Trigger warnings: murder, suicide
A missing woman receives a second chance at life, thanks to her billionaire husband--but the consequences are deadly in this gripping psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before.
Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He's an icon of the tech world, the founder of a lucrative robotics company. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago, and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss. She is a miracle of science.
But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband's motives--and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?
©Ballantine Books: August 6, 2019
Edition: Kindle ARC
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