I received a copy of The Murdering Wives Club by Sharon Thompson through Book Sirens. (Yes, this is still an honest review even though I got a digital copy the book for free). It was one of those books where the cover, title, and description all jumped out at me and screamed, “YOU MUST GET THIS BOOK AND READ IT RIGHT NOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!
But, of course, I didn’t… because… well, life and stuff kept getting in the way and now here we are months later and I’ve finally read the book (almost a month ago) and am just now getting around to sharing my thoughts with all of you awesome bookish people. So, did The Murdering Wives Club live up to my high expectations???
Yes, and No….
Like I already pointed out, at first glance, I thought this was going to be a book I would absolutely love. And I did, mostly.
I was surprised by how funny this book turned out to be. I mean, it’s a book about a bunch of murdering wives and a man who thinks his wife is one of them. And it’s set during World War II, a time period basically requiring all historical fiction set during this time is a tear jerker… Doesn’t sound like a whole lot of laughs, right???
But as I read the story of how Laurie Davenport, an upperclass man who has returned home from the war blind, and Norah Walsh, an Irish woman with big ambitions, try to investigate a group of women who may or may not meet to plot the murder of their husbands, I laughed out loud on numerous occasions!!
Big hearted Laurie seems unable to wrap his mind around the idea of women wanting to do harm to their husbands, despite the story Eve Good has been telling them of a whole women’s club devoted to just that! Not to mention the fact that he believes his own wife has tried to kill him and may be a member of the club!
Eve Good herself has a dark humor about her that I found wildly entertaining. Because of that, I found myself actually rooting for her to maybe not be released from prison, but to at least not be sentenced to death. Eve tells her story of how she heard about, joined, and then tried to leave the Murdering Wives Club to Laurie and Norah in the hopes of being acquitted from murdering her husband. According to Eve, she didn’t even kill the poor man — it was an accident! Or maybe one of the other murdering wives did it?
Regardless, Eve’s story was definitely what made this book. It’s dark and twisty, and makes you question humanity, yet for some reason, you find yourself feeling bad for her. Which is something I can’t say for the rest of the characters who make up this story.
The Murdering Wives Club is full of characters I found charming, funny, disturbing, and/or just plain entertaining. But these same characters made me want to smack them at times.
Laurie Davendport believes his wife, Charlotte, tried to kill him… twice, I believe. Charlotte is portrayed as a cold-hearted woman who cares nothing for anyone other than herself. But as unlikeable as that makes her sound, when she actually shows up in the story, I found her kind of funny.
Norah Walsh is a young woman from Ireland who has been hired to help Laurie after a couple of accidents have left him depressed and in need of both daily help while he gets used to his blindness, and companionship. Norah is at times compassionate, funny, or selfish. She comes off both enormously independent at times and yet, at times even simultaneously… incredibly dependent on the men around her. For the most part, I thought she was a likeable character, but she also rubbed me the wrong way at others.
But by far, as I’ve already stated, my absolutely favorite character was Ms. Eve Good. Eve is currently in prison for murdering her husband (and others, possibly). She is the reason that any one is giving credence to Laurie’s claims that his wife tried to kill him. Oddly, Eve seems like the most honest person in the whole book. I like honesty.
Despite being one of the main (if not THE main) character in the book, Laurie Davenport was my least favorite and almost ruined the whole thing for me. I understand that he has recently been blinded and is trying to find his way in what, for him, is a new world. But he’s just way too whiny for me. He objectifies Norah and belittles her in a way that turned my stomach at times and it was just hard to get through.
I think people who enjoy dark humor, and weird mystery cults will probably enjoy this story. I’m definitely going to give the next book a read when it comes out and see if Laurie grows on me a little more. Plus, I’m hoping Norah finds her place in the world without depending on men.