Thoughts on The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Published by Graydon House, December 30, 2019

Genre: Beach Read | Psychological Thriller

Format: I audiobooked this one via library Libby account 

I almost put this one down--- or hit the stop button on the audiobook anyway-- but I'm glad I didn't. 

This is my first Tarryn Fisher novel, but I gather from digging through a few interviews that plot twists are what she's known for.

Tarryn Fisher notes that she wrote the book as an exploration of polygamy. How is it that women accept it? Live with it? So, the three women in this book are her three answers to that question. The first, the narrator Thursday, represents insecurity, the original wife is bitterness, and the third wife is willful ignorance. 

Some reviewers write about enjoying the first part of the book but then falling off in the middle, but I had the opposite experience. I guess your reaction will depend on what you're in the mood for. The first part of the book introduces Thursday, a nurse who has just gone through a miscarriage, and her husband polygamist Seth is about to visit. Thursday lives in a downtown Seattle condo supplemented by her trust fund: shopping, working as a nurse and cooking meals to please her man. To me, this part of the book read like a sad romance novel. Here was this woman who had nothing going on except waiting for her shared husband to pop in and give her some attention.

Fisher flips the first twist when Thursday decides to investigate Seth's other wives, something that has been a "no no" in their relationship. The twists keep coming and kept me reading to the end. I don't want to give anything away.

Thursday is the character with the most development while the other two wives, Thursday's parents and friend, and Seth fall flat. It makes sense to me reading now that Fisher wrote the wives as allegorical answers to how women deal with polygamy. They had very little development, so it was hard to root for them or hope for their happiness or survival.


“In its place is a framed print of a pressed poppy. It depresses me. Pressed flowers are an attempt to hold on to something that was once alive. They’re desperate and lonely.”

“People treat being sick in the body as fine, normal, empathy-worthy; they’ll bring you soup and medicine, and press the back of their hand to your forehead. But if they think you’re sick in the mind, it’s different.


I'm not sorry I read this. The question of how women agree to live life as just one of someone's wives is an interesting one to explore. I'll be curious to read more of Tarryn Fisher's books to see if she creates more memorable characters elsewhere.

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