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The Starter Wife    by Nina Laurin order for
Starter Wife
by Nina Laurin
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2019 (2019)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Claire met and fell in love with Byron Westcott (a successful professor of literature at Mansfield Liberal Arts College) when she was his student. He was older, sophisticated and encouraged her writing career. He'd been married once before but his first wife had died unexpectedly years ago.

Colleen Westcott, a renowned artist whose paintings keep increasing in value, committed suicide ten years ago. Or so it is assumed, but in fact the police never found her body, just her car parked near the Cleveland waterfront. Now after two years of marriage, Claire is afraid Byron will never get over his first wife.

Claire feels like a shadow living in Colleen's house among her things, spending the money Byron inherited and not being able to make any changes to their surroundings or change the lifestyle he shared with Colleen. Just when their marriage is going through a rough patch, Claire begins getting phone calls and emails from someone who calls herself Colleen.

Twenty-seven-year old Claire comes across as a whiner, making the book difficult to get into if you want to like your protagonist. The story is told by Claire, but begins with a prologue narrated by an unknown waitress who swipes a very expensive engagement ring left in the restaurant bathroom. The engagement ring belongs to Byron's wife.

The plot is twisty and intent. Throughout there is the question of whether Colleen is alive or dead. And if she is alive, why is she in hiding?

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