Culture Street

Books

The War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen

On October 2, 2012

By Sophia Whitfield

Tamar Cohen has been a freelance journalist for over twenty years during which time she has written for publications including:†The Times,†The Telegraph,†Marie Claire,†Cosmopolitan,†Good Housekeeping, and†Hello!

Over the past four years, she has written nine non-fiction books. The War of the Wives is Cohenís second novel. Her first novel, The Mistressís Revenge, was published in 2011.

The War of the Wives is a sharply observed story of the frailty of marriage.

Selina and Lottie had never met before. Selina had been happily married for twenty eight years and was content with her three children and her comfortable life. Lottie had been happily married for seventeen years, has a beautiful teenage daughter, but continues to struggle financially. Selina and Lottie meet for the first time at the funeral of their husband. It is here that they discover the awful truth; they have both been married to the same man.

Selina and Lottie struggle to make sense of the revelations as it slowly dawns on them †that their lives have been lived in the unrelenting glare of deceit. The knowledge of Simonís duplicity holds terrible consequences for both women. †Selina is a composed, well heeled individual who likes to be in control. Lottie is the opposite, falling apart publicly for all to see. How can one man love two women, both so different?

As the women delve deeper into Simonís life, they realise that he was living his life on a precipice with his deceit ready to implode at any moment, revealing the terrible truth of his life. Financially things are dire, something that is news to Selina. She must now relinquish her stay at home status, find a job, sell her beloved house and try her best to keep what remains of her family together. Lottie is far more used to living within a certain means, she has been hard working her entire life, but it is the loss of Simon that she cannot fathom.

The two women, both at odds with each other, throw blame around as they try to make sense of their lives. At the same time they must attempt to protect their children and support them in their choices.

The mystery of Simonís death continues to gather pace as Cohen delves expertly into the psyche of these two women. Simonís body is discovered, but there is no conclusive evidence to determine the cause of his death. There are still so many unanswered questions. What was he doing in that part of town? Was it suicide or an accident? An important distinction must be made for insurance purposes. Cohen keeps the suspense going right up until the unexpected conclusion.

The War of the Wives explores the raw emotions revealed when betrayal raises its ugly head. Cohen writes deftly about the frailty of family life. She explores the fears that underpins marriages, and the hatred that erupts when there is a breakdown in trust.

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