Since high school, Claire Prescott planned her life. From the first time she saw university professor Byron Prescott speak about literature at her high school, she knew he would be a part of it. Even though everyone told her Byron was too old and his first wife, Colleen, seemed to just disappear, she has never looked back and succeeded in creating the perfect life she has dreamed of.

She tells herself that a handsome husband, a large house and the ability to stay at home and work on her novel is all she needs to keep both herself and Byron together forever. Nina Laurin’s The Starter Wife (Grand Central Publishing) is a suspenseful twisting read that will leave you wondering just how far one will go for true love and the perfect life. This thriller mixes the drama of The Wife Between Us with the dark intrigue and mystery characteristic of the classic Rebecca.

Claire has loved every minute of the last two years of marriage with her husband Byron and the life they have created. However, despite all Claire has, she never feels completely settled and starts to sense she is losing Byron. Their house feels more like a tribute to his late wife, Colleen, her novels are rejected time and time again, there is no baby in her future and she feels she is completely losing control, even though Claire is sure she has thought of everything to keep Byron happy. When Byron starts to become distant and lose interest, Claire’s perfect life feels like it’s unraveling and she can hardly believe how things went so wrong with her perfectly thought-out plan.

Claire tells herself she is happy with the way things are but she can’t shake the feeling that she also lives in the shadow of what happened to his previous wife. While Byron was never charged for Colleen’s death and the case has been closed, the fact that she mysteriously disappeared one evening just doesn’t make sense. Claire can’t help but think there is more to the disappearance, especially since Byron waited so long in their relationship to mention that Colleen’s body was never found. As Claire investigates the mysterious disappearance, she stumbles upon a social media frenzy claiming Byron was involved with the death and may have also been somehow involved with several of his students outside academic matters.

As Claire continues to try and find clues to Byron’s past, she feels more out of control and opens doors that can never be closed. Her memory seems to come and go and she has trouble remembering if what she perceives is reality or if she is waking up from a bad dream. She starts to receive emails and phone calls that she is unsettling positive are from Byron’s late wife. But Colleen is dead, Claire thinks she must be imagining it all. As she is trying to piece things back together and resume a normal life, Byron ruins everything by bringing up Tracy, an unwanted name and memory that haunts Claire’s past.

I really enjoyed reading this book and had a hard time putting it down because of the surprising twists and turns. Both the writing style and characters are easy to follow and will keep you guessing until the last page. Even if you are not a fan of psychological thrillers, I would highly recommend giving this one a try. The Starter Wife is a page turner and will leave you second guessing everything you thought you knew until the very end.

The Starter Wife is available for purchase June 11.


Nina Laurin is the bilingual (English/French) author of The Starter Wife, Girl Last Seen and What My Sister Knew, all published by Grand Central Publishing. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University in her hometown of Montreal, Canada, where she lives and writes. You can learn more at and on Twitter @girlinthetitle.