From the Publisher:
On the eve of their Silver Anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband Jimmy–still every inch the handsome star athlete he was in high school–to come home. As night turns to day, it becomes frighteningly clear to Mary that he is gone. Through the years, disappointment and worry have brought Mary’s life to a standstill, and she has let her universe shrink to the well-worn path from the bedroom to the refrigerator. But her husband’s disappearance startles her out of her inertia, and she begins a desperate search.
For the first time in her life, she boards a plane and flies across the country to find her lost husband. So used to hiding from the world, Mary finds that in the bright sun and broad vistas of California, she is forced to look up from the pavement. And what she finds fills her with inner strength she’s never felt before. Through it all, Mary not only finds kindred spirits, but reunites with a more intimate stranger no longer sequestered by fear and habit: herself.
The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens has a brilliant premise and yet I not only struggled with the book, but also with how to phrase my review, as the story just did not connect for me. On the night of Mary and Jimmy Gooch’s 25th Anniversary, Jimmy does not come home, leading eventually to Mary re-evaluating her life. A lot is made of Mary’s weight; just as Mary cannot ignore it, neither can the reader. Throughout the book I felt numerous emotions about Mary’s character but the two I oscillated between was pity and dislike and before I go into what did not work for me, let me state what I did enjoy. Lansens’ writing is beautiful; from the phrases she chooses to how descriptive her writing is, and at some points, quite vividly so. I truly enjoyed the premise of the book and wanted desperately to adore the story or at the very least, the protagonist and watching Mary confront herself and battle her inner demons was almost enough to make me comfortable with the storyline. So what were the main issues I had with The Wife’s Tale? The storyline did not appear realistic to me, starting with the night Jimmy did not arrive home and flowing into Mary’s reaction to her husband’s disappearance, which seemed so far outside of the norm. Add to that the fact she is not a recluse, yet appears to not have any close friends. The characters seemed flat to me and two-thirds the way into the story I was still reading about Mary’s issues with food, which the reader will continue to read about long after this point. Many questions I had about the story remained forever unanswered. As I mentioned above, A Wife’s Tale is eloquently written and detailed; yet I felt the storyline carried too many inconsistencies. I have a feeling A Wife’s Tale is a book a reader either adores or does not care much for, however I do think A Wife’s Tale would be an interesting discussion group choice.
Lori Lansens was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, a small Canadian town with a remarkable history and a collection of eccentric characters, which became the setting for her first two bestselling novels. Living with her family in southern California now, she could not resist the pull of her fictitious ‘Baldoon County’ when she set out to write The Wife’s Tale. She took the journey, along with her main character, from Canada to the Pacific Coast of America, where she enjoys the sunshine, and has learned a thing or two about transformation.
I read my own copy of A Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens for: