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The Wife Who Knew Too Much: An Exciting Thriller that Fails to Fully Deliver

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

But what did she really know? 

The Wife Who Knew Too Much is about the whirlwind romance between two people from two completely different worlds: Connor Ford, the heir to a multi-million dollar business, and Tabitha, a waitress working in New Hampshire. When a chance encounter brings them together a decade after they fell in love for the first time, Tabitha quickly realizes this time will not be like the first. While her marriage to Connor may feel like a dream come true, bringing her a luxurious life with the man she’s been yearning for, it’s a threat to others. Those who were closest with Connor’s first wife Nina are now thirsty for revenge. Who’s the victim? Who’s the villain?

This thriller, although packed with plot twists and page-turning cliffhangers, unfortunately was not the most satisfying read. The build-up was slow-paced, which made some parts boring even though they were supposed to create tension and raise the stakes of the plot. When Michele introduced a certain character or a subplot that was important to the story, it seemed random and misplaced. It wouldn’t be clear how that storyline would create tension later on until the moment it happened, which by that time you had forgotten all about it. Although finding out what happens at the end was thrilling, I wish some parts didn’t feel like a drag to read. 

Michele Campbell’s writing is of a contemporary style; the liberal use of casual language combined with the modern-day atmosphere is not inherently a negative thing, but it doesn’t enrich you in the way that you would hope. As a writer, I often read books with a more critical view to inform my own process. How do you get the audience to love or hate your characters? How do you raise the stakes and tension in the story? How do you choose words wisely? While I did find some juicy elements in this book, it gave me a better idea of what I should not do when writing than what I should. 

One thing Michele Campbell does well in this book is balancing the romantic story element with the mystery thriller storyline. Even if Connor and Tabitha’s love story is awkward and cringey in the beginning, it’s obvious there is some chemistry between them and their dynamic doesn’t need to be forced. Still, both of them are flawed characters and do not always make the best decisions. This, combined with Tabitha’s struggle to fit into Connor’s world, makes you wonder if this is truly the perfect match it’s made out to be. The fact that this is not a black-and-white relationship makes you want to keep reading; it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, so it’s not boring, but it doesn’t cross the line into an abusive dynamic that would make it too uncomfortable of a read. 

Lastly, the title itself is obscure, although it is never fully explained who the wife is. Is it Nina? Is it Tabitha? What do each of them know? 

While this thriller won’t leave you on the edge of your seat, it’s still an exciting read that you’ll thoroughly enjoy. 

Nina Popovic is a fourth-year student majoring in Conflict Studies and Human Rights, and minoring in Communications at the University of Ottawa.