His Other Wife by Deborah Bedford chronicles the interior life of Hilary Wynn, a divorced mother with a teenaged son, Seth, on the brink of graduating high school and heading to college. Hilary just has to get through the weekend of graduation, complete with a visit from ex-in laws, ex-husband and new wife Pam, before she begins rebuilding her life without her son’s daily presence. Before the weekend is over, however, Seth is involved in an incident that ends tragically. With his future in jeopardy, Hilary must work with her ex and his wife to save her son.
I really liked this book. Bedford has a way of writing that gets you into the characters’ lives and makes it so you can empathize with them immediately. She has these nice touches in her writing that makes their lives seem real. Hilary is a ball of motion and I really got the sense of her as a wife and a mother – thinking, talking, cleaning at the same time. Bedford’s characters are in action the way we are for real, and I loved the conflicted feelings that Hilary had around her role in her divorce, her husband’s remarriage and the challenge of realizing that she has been less successful than she had thought in terms of moving on from her marriage, and coming to terms with the new woman in her ex-husband’s life.
His Other Wife is classified as a work of Christian fiction, but I don’t think I knew that when I featured it on my February wishlist, and questions of faith are gently explored through the character of Hilary, her relationship with God, and how it changes at different points in her life. It is an element among many other aspects of this story about a family coping in the aftermath of divorce, the effects of divorce on children, personal responsibility in a tragedy, and dealing with the new woman in your ex-husband’s life. Bedford successfully builds tension through the novel and in its own way, it is very much a pageturner as well as a thoughtful examination of a woman’s life when she is dealing with big change the best way she knows how. Recommended.
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