Our story begins in Islington, England, in April 2011, when a young woman named Maya, in a state of inebriation and possible confusion, steps in front of a bus and is killed.
Adrian Wolfe was her husband, but she was his third wife. Like a serial adulterer or serial monogamist, he had the ability to move on whenever he felt as though the bloom had faded from his love life. Never mind that he had a total of five children: Luke and Cat with his first wife, Susie, and Otis, Pearl, and Beau with his second wife Caroline.
Now with Maya’s death on his conscience, we see Adrian wallowing in his grief and asking the unanswerable questions. Did Maya purposely step in front of the bus, or did some action by others drive her to it? When Adrian finds out about a series of vicious e-mails that someone had been sending to Maya, addressed to “Dear Bitch,” he wants to learn more.
When a mysterious woman who calls herself Jane appears in his life, on the pretext of adopting Maya’s cat, he wonders if there is a connection somehow.
A sweeping tale about learning to live with the consequences of one’s own actions, and also figuring out how to reinvent one’s own life in light of this learning, The Third Wife has multiple narrators and time periods that flow back and forth, from 2010 to the present. As the story unfolds, we learn more about each of the characters and begin to understand more about Maya’s actions, her thoughts, and what was going on with her at the end. We also see Adrian coming to terms with his own behavior and how he reframes his choices in order to make them fit with the fairytale narrative he has written for himself. A 5 star read for me, it will appeal to those who enjoy stories about family and relationships.