I was a little nervous about this book as I’ve preferred Michael Robotham’s standalone books to his Joe O’Loughlin series. However this was deliciously addictive and I had to read it in a sitting, despite being unwell and incredibly tired after a long day at work.
The Other Wife
by Michael Robotham
Series: Joseph O'Loughlin #9
Published by Hachette Australia
on July 1st 2018
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
William and Mary have been married sixty years. William is a celebrated surgeon, Mary a devoted wife. Both are strong believers in right and wrong.
William and Olivia have been together twenty years. Olivia was once a tennis star, but her career has long since faded.
Clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin knows only one of these stories to be true. But when he is called to his father's hospital bed after a brutal attack, everything he once knew is turned upside down. Is it possible his father, the upstanding citizen, was leading a double life?
And who is the strange woman crying at William's bedside, covered in his blood - a friend, a mistress, a fantasist or a killer?
I’m not sure why I’d become a bit jaded with Joe but this book was a revelation on a number of levels. Firstly, I also didn’t know he was from a super-rich family. I’d also not remembered reading about his father before, but of course it could have been something I’ve forgotten as I’ve a memory like a sieve!
This book is very much about the father Joe realises he didn’t know at all. And there’s something rather sad about that…
And then there’s the whole false memory thing – which is something my mother’s called me out on a few times: when I’ve thought something happened or was a certain way, but it apparently wasn’t at all! Whether we misunderstand situations as kids or memories are tainted by other things I’m not sure… but it’s certainly a bit confronting to Joe.
“It’s called forgiveness, Joseph. You should try it sometime.” She glances at my father. “You expect too much of him.”
“He expected too much of me.”
“Then you’re both to blame.” p 239
Not to mention the fact his father had another life, in which he was seemingly a very different person.
Robotham keeps readers guessing as usual in this fast paced and highly addictive book. The police warn Joe off any involvement in the investigation into his father’s attack, but he’s the one with the connections to key suspects – including members of his own family.
Secrets are uncovered and lives put at risk as Joe tries to find out ‘whodunit’; but – just as interestingly – Robotham offers some great texture to this tale via stuff extraneous to that plot, particularly through Joe’s his younger daughter Emma, who’s still grappling with the death of her mother over a year earlier.
And of course there’s the child / parent relationship and its complexities, no matter how old the children become, which lies at the core of this book – the mortality (and fallibility) of our parents – something Robotham explores with compassion.
Something seems to break inside of me. Perhaps it is several things, tolerance, balance and decency, all of them unravelling and transforming into one thing. Rage. I want Mum to be angry. I want her to feel like I do. Betrayed. Humiliated. Abandoned. p 134
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.