Saturday, April 6, 2019


THE PUMPKIN EATER'S WIFE by Tannis Laidlaw (2017)

Reviewed by Rewa Vivienne

Is Murder Ever Right? Jeanie knows one thing. She can’t get away from her abusive husband. She tried. And failed. Has scars to prove it. So, what about doing something more … permanent? 

She plots; she plans. Each time he drinks, she watches and waits. Will he threaten? Belittle her? Disparage her? Roar at her? Grab whatever is handy and…? Or will he fall into one of his rare drunken stupors? Is murder ever right? Can Jeanie get the new life she so desperately wants? 

Domestic violence, both physical and psychological abuse, identity theft, HIV, immigration offences, an estranged child. This book has them all.

It is the story of a woman escaping a very bad marriage and carrying the knowledge she is a murderer. We follow her as she escapes to another country breaking many laws along the way as she attempts to make a new life for herself.

Predictably, it all works out well for her because she is our heroine. She gets the life she wants and the baddies get their comeuppance.  How she gets away, finds jobs and friends all seems a bit too easy to me but it keeps the story moving along and the pages turning, which is what we ask of thrillers.

At the beginning the author apologises to North American readers for using New Zealand English. Why? Do American authors ever apologise to us for using different spelling and syntax? Maybe this novel was aimed at the American market as the name refers to the American Nursery Rhyme “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater”.

I would probably class this an airport novel.

This review was first published in FlaxFlower reviews, which focuses on in-depth reviews of New Zealand books of all kinds, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of Flaxflower founder and editor Bronwyn Elsmore. 

No comments:

Post a Comment