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A fast paced read that is as addictive as it is absorbing, THE SECOND MARRIAGE will have you second guessing as you plough your way through the secrets, the lies, the deception and the twists. Just when you think you know what's going on, along comes another sharp turn taking you on yet another bumpy thrill ride. I will say this, it certainly wasn't what I expected...and pleasantly so.
The story begins with Lily, having taken a job as 8 year old Noah's private tutor, ruminating over the interview she was late for and thus being swept off her feet by Noah's charismatic father Edward. What follows is a whirlwind courtship resulting in a proposal and a registry office wedding as she becomes Mrs Edward Morgan.
But as Lily is soon to discover - marry in haste, repent at leisure. For with Edward comes two adult daughters and a mysterious past which he refuses to discuss. His main stipulation at her interview should have been a red flag - forbidding her from mentioning Noah's deceased mother...EVER. And yet Noah confides in her that the rest of the family is lying; that they think he doesn't remember but he remembers everything; that his mother is alive. Lily is shocked. Maybe he's mistaken. Yet when she broaches the matter with Edward he becomes cool and distant, dismissing the idea as Noah's imagination and wishing it to be true. But Lily isn't so sure.
She confides in her best friend Marsha whom Edward outwardly loathes and does his best to keep her from seeing her. Classic control behaviour. But Lily will not be swayed. Marsha does some digging into his mother Clare's death which proves to be tougher than it should be. But her determination pays off and she has a doozy of a story to share with Lily about her discovery. The problem is, is it true? Is the information Marsha has uncovered her Edward? Or is it someone else? Because if it is in fact Edward then he has some explaining to do...not that Lily would believe him after the lies he has spun over and over again. So what exactly is the truth?
But at the centre of this story is an innocent little boy who awaits the return of his mother to whisk him away from a life locked inside the fortress his father has built around them. And for what? Is it to protect them? Is to keep others out? Or is it to protect himself? Lily isn't sure anymore. But one thing she is sure of and that is Noah remembers more than what the family thinks he does, despite being only 3 at the time his mother disappeared, and Edward is doing his level best to suppress the boy's only remaining memories of his mother. Surely that can't be healthy...can it?
Lily has no choice but to confront Edward with what she knows...and he breaks down with tears of relief that he no longer has to keep the secret from her. So why keep it in the first place? To protect her? Noah? Or himself? And what about his grown daughters, Tara and Georgia? Every time the three of them are together Lily gets the feeling they are talking about her as the conversation ceases the moment she walks into the room. Tara, the eldest, is constantly aloof and doesn't care who Lily is or what she is doing there. Georgia at least pretends to like her. And Edward? He just continues to appease his entitled daughters while Lily is inwardly fuming. While poor Noah is the pawn in some secretive game they seem to have going on.
Lily has obviously gotten herself into muddy waters and soon finds that she is in too deep to do anything about it without raising suspicion. I began to wonder how it was all going to end for all involved because it wasn't going to be pretty, that's for sure.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed THE SECOND MARRIAGE as its fast pace kept me turning the pages to find out what happens next. And I was hoodwinked this time. I couldn't foresee the outcome as much as I tried to conjure up possible scenarios. So I gave up trying and just enjoyed the ride. There were enough twists to give you whiplash and enough unlikeable characters to leave you speechless. I didn't like Edward from the first moment. He was too smooth and too perfect that he had to be hiding something. He was creepy and controlling, and I couldn't believe a word that came out of his mouth. His daughters were two faced, bitchy and completely self-entitled. Lily was naive and honestly stupid to be taken in after just coming out of a seven year relationship herself. Noah, despite his obvious anxiety which was at times frustrating, was probably one of the most redeeming characters alongside Marsha who could spot the wolf from the sheep, even if her friend couldn't.
While in some ways it may not be hard to work out where THE SECOND MARRIAGE might be heading, there are still plenty of twists to keep you guessing and second guessing throughout. There is plenty of tension that makes it a solid thriller and like Lily, you're not sure who or what to believe.
Filled with secrets, lies and deception, THE SECOND MARRIAGE is intense and addictive read that is perfect for fans of domestic thrillers.
In a lot of ways this book was typical of the genre - rich older man woos younger, inexperienced woman who soon wonders if she has made a mistake. And what really happened to his first wife? Where this book differed, in the best possible way, was in depicting the said younger woman not as a scared, whiny victim of gaslighting but rather a woman who knows her own mind and is not afraid to use it! Yes!!!
Lily Baxendale is engaged as a governess for Edward Morgan’s son, eight year old Noah. Edward also has two grown daughters, Tara and Georgia who have flown the nest. They are a little hostile towards Lily. His first wife, Claire, died five years ago when Noah was only 3 years old. But Noah claims his mummy is still alive and that he remembers everything. Of course such discussion is shut down immediately by Edward who claims the child is prone to panic attacks so he is kept at home, in cotton wool.
Lily is immediately attracted to the much older Edward, as he is apparently to her. They marry after only a few months and that’s when things start to go down hill. It soon becomes apparent that Edward is quite controlling and has been lying to Lily. But she is not having a bar of it and when he tries to stop her from seeing her best friend, Marsha, she flips him off and goes anyway.
When the lying becomes too much, Lily is seriously considering her options and she confronts Edward about it. It’s not too hard to figure out where this might be going but, on the other hand, there were quite a few little surprise twists yet to come. Lily was a wonderful character as she stood up for herself really well. Edward was a bad guy, then a good guy trying to protect his family, then a bad guy until we finally learned what he actually was. Noah was an endearing little lad and I was certainly rooting for him to have a happy life. The older daughters though were quite a surprise packet but I can’t tell you in what way.
Overall it was an enjoyable story with good pacing and strong characters, with just enough suspense to make it interesting. Many thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.
I have throughly enjoyed each of the books I have read from Jess Ryder and The Second Marriage is no exception. Its strong plot and fast pace makes it a quick read, it is well written and its characters are brought to life so well, they jump off the page. I found myself caught in a twisty ride looking for the answers to questions raised, not knowing who I could I trust.
In a genre where we are lucky to be spoiled with so many choices to read, I was curious to see how Jess Ryder’s spin on this trope was going to stand out above others. To my surprise, the secret ingredient (and its unanimous from a number of reviews I have read), was a lead character at the helm who is strong, stands up for herself and isn’t submissive in any way, which I found to be so refreshing and what makes The Second Marriage all the more enjoyable.
I absolutely loved this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat right through to the end. Every time I thought I knew where it was headed, something new happened to send me in a different direction.
While the basic concept of an older man rushing into marriage with a new younger wife with questions sitting in the background over the mysterious previous wife seems to be a fairly common trend at the moment, this book is a good example of this theme done right.
Too often this kind of book presents us with the naive and/or whiney younger wife who has just been too dumb to see obvious signs in front of her. Instead, this book gives us Lily - a woman who is smart, independent and resourceful. She hasn't married Edward because she needs his money, or because she needs to escape a former life/lifestlye - she has married a man that she genuinely loves and believes she knows.
The slow and steady dawning of the realisation that maybe she doesn't really know this man that she married the way she thought she did is both heartbreaking and believable.
Believable because it's not one sudden thing that triggers it all but, rather, a gradual build up of individual occurrences that lead her down this path. Heartbreaking because we get to bear witness to Lily's journey as she uncovers secrets and needs to make decisions about whether or not she can continue to love and accept her husband knowing what she now does, and can she really trust him or are there still more secrets she has yet to uncover. Who is her husband, really?
Full of twists and turns and unexpected reveals, this book is a 'must read' for fans of suspense and drama.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I listened to the Bolinda Audio version of this book and found the narrator well suited to tell the story.
Am I glad I read it - absolutely, I loved it Was it a waste of my time - not at all Would I sit down and read it all over again - absolutely Would I read more by this author based on this book - yes (few more books in my TBR pile first, but then I fully intend tracking down more by Jess Ryder).
The second wife plot has been done to death since Rebecca and this is one of the worse ones Did Edward kill clare ? Who knows and who cares ! Boring and poorly written definitely not gripping as the blurb said
Premise: After Lily marries widower, Edward, she is disturbed that his troubled son keeps insisting his mother isn’t dead – but is very much alive and well.
The good: A great premise full of mystery and intrigue
The bad: Lost some of its impetus towards the end
The ugly: Slightly convoluted ending
In summary: A creepy premise that keeps you turning the pages.
The Second Marriage by Jess Ryder hooks you in from the start with a brilliant mystery that has you wracking your brains trying to work out what is going on. After a whirlwind romance, Lily marries widower Edward, who she met while looking after his troubled son, Noah. He tells her his first wife, Clare, died after her food allergies were triggered after contact with sesame seeds. But the real sucker punch of the opening hook comes when Noah reveals to Lily that his mother isn’t dead and that he’s been instructed by his father to lie about it. The author does a great job of exploiting this hook while building the world around Lily, Edward, Noah and Edward’s two daughters, Georgia and Tara. Plus there’s Marsha, Lily’s best friend who rather annoyingly takes on the ‘master detective role’ in finally solving the puzzle, when really we want to see Lily crack it herself. Inevitably, the whole story concludes with a big showdown between all the members of the family and the truth is finally revealed. No great twists at the end, past the mid-point twist, but a satisfying enough ending. I found my attention wavering a little towards the end of the book after the mystery had been solved but overall a good read.
Bought this book to pass the time on a long journey and sad to say I was pretty underwhelmed. Most of the characters were quite two-dimensional and, as others have noted, the plot was a little lacklustre. I’ve read plenty of thrillers in the past that have quite literally had me on the edge of my seat, unable to stop reading. This wasn’t one of them. Not only was I uninspired by much of the plot, but even the dramatic finale failed to deliver; I wouldn’t have noticed it was the conclusion of the plot at all if not for the page number at the bottom of the screen. Having said that, the book is a decent length, and for 99p I can’t really complain. If you’re looking for reading material, I’d maybe start elsewhere.
This book started out ok and I thought it was going to be a good story but it took a bad turn and went downhill from there. It is not very believable that somebody would marry someone so quickly without knowing much about them (including their real name and actual identity) and there wasn’t really any attempt on the author’s part to make it believable. At the point where Noah’s grandmother comes in, I just couldn’t understand why she would have told him she was his mother. It was unnecessary and extremely cruel since she said herself she believed her daughter had died. After that I began to lose interest as the plot and characters became more and more preposterous. The ending was ridiculous. This book was not just badly written. It was lazy, rushed and you can tell not much effort went into it.