Beth Murphy is on the run, trying to leave an abusive relationship behind. She has been planning this for at least the last ten months, if not longer, but is still worried he will find her, somehow.
We haven’t yet been introduced to this husband of hers but it sounds like he is someone to forget. Harsh perhaps but after several years of abuse, it sounds like Beth has finally made the best decision of her life.
And it appears she has not just left on a whim. She has meticulously planned for every eventuality. It has taken time to buy a car, researching an area to live, even stockpiling cash so she doesn’t have to use her card. She is hoping to disappear. She has even thought about the trail she wishes to leave, to throw him off the scent. She applies for a rental property in her real name, gives her card to someone who travels frequently across the country with clear instructions on how to use it and then she flees in the opposite direction.
Beth has been extremely clever.
We are then introduced to Jeffery Hardison who has arrived home to a mess. The normally pristine garden still has its emptied rubbish bins strewn across it rather than up against the wall like they should be, the living curtains are closed and one of the lights outside has a blown bulb. He feels rage bubbling up. Sabine knows he likes a clean, orderly house and after four days away the least she could do is keep the home tidy for him.
Sabine Hardison is the main breadwinner in this household, selling expensive properties and hitting high bonuses for doing so. It also seems she has not been completely honest with Jeffery. Has she found herself a new admirer? Is that where she is right now while her husband is at home worried sick that something has happened to her.
Sabine had text Jeffery to say she would be home by 9 pm but never arrives, which is unlike her. She is an organised individual and therefore keeps to a tight schedule. Where is she? Even her twin sister is unaware of her movements and they speak at least twice a day so something is definitely wrong. So wrong, that Jeffery feels there is no other choice – he calls the police. He just has to hope that her meddling sister doesn’t mention the time he hit her in a fit of rage.
With the police on the case and searching hard for clues, Jeffery takes the opportunity to reflect on his life with Sabine and how their relationship has changed over the last few months. He knows that there is something wrong. She has become more distant, turning away at his touch and not sharing her schedule with him – perhaps she has run off with someone else, someone that can give her more than he can.
Beth is paranoid; concerned that she will be recognised or that he will catch up with her. She knows she needs to change her appearance so she stops wearing her expensive clothes and cuts her beautiful, long hair in the hope that the dowdy person now reflecting back at her will melt into a crowd and become anonymous.
Will she succeed or will the abusive husband catch up with her? Will Jeffery find Sabine? Has she run off with a lover, or has something far more sinister happened to her? The detective on the case, Marcus, seems determined to find out. He comes across as someone who will leave no stone unturned and will continue to search until he uncovers the facts, but will he be happy when the truth is finally revealed?
My Thoughts on Dear Wife
Dear Wife is a captivating suspense story about a woman fighting for her life. Through Kimberly’s words, we feel the pain that this woman suffered at the hands of someone she trusted; someone that she loved. What started as a love story for Beth quickly turned into a nightmare as the love of her life turned into a bully which turned their marriage into a relationship of physical and mental abuse.
It is, however, also a story of hope. It represents all of those people who have been strong enough to walk away from domestic abuse; to say no to any more torment and torture.
As a reader I felt myself holding my breath at times, unable to release it until I knew that Beth was once again out of harm’s way. You become invested in her fight for survival and hope that she is never found and can go on to live a life she deserves.
Kimberly has written a novel full of suspense, with new twists coming with each fresh chapter. It is a riveting read that will leave you wondering whether Beth and Sabine are the same people or whether the true identity of Beth will ever be revealed.
Dear Wife is a novel that has taken an unbelieving difficult topic and turned it into a story with possibilities; a story with new beginnings.
Have you read Dear Wife or any of Kimberly Belle’s other novels?
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