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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

Every once in a while, I'll start a book without having any idea what I'm getting myself into. I'll read the description, download it to my Kindle, return to my existing to-be-read list, and forget about it. Then months later, I'll see the cover, vaguely recall the concept, and blindly start reading. That happened to me with The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


If it's possible, I think it made the twists and turns even more fun. Since I had little-to-no preconceived suspicions about what was going to happen, everything felt like a bombshell.


Anyways, enough about me! You've come to this article for likely two reasons: you either want spoilers or to find other books like The Wife Between Us to read next. Fortunately, you'll find both of those things just below. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

What is the Novel The Wife Between Us About?

The novel, The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is a domestic psychological thriller about two women's relationship with the same physically and emotionally abusive man. I would normally write my own description here but I am so nervous about spoiling any of the twists that instead, I'm going to provide the official description to be extra safe:


"When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing. Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. You must read between the lies."


How Long Does It Take to Read The Wife Between Us?

According to How Long to Read, it will take the average reader approximately 5 hours and 51 minutes to read The Wife Between Us.


Is There a Second Book to The Wife Between Us?

No - There is not a second book to The Wife Between Us. It is a standalone domestic thriller. However, if you enjoyed Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's writing and storytelling, they have published two other books together - An Anonymous Girl and You Are Not Alone. Again, these books are entirely unrelated to The Wife Between Us.


Was The Wife Between Us Made Into a Movie?

No - Since it was published The Wife Between Us has not been made into a movie, despite that it was reported that there were plans to do so. In October 2017, The Hollywood Reporter published news that "Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners [was] planning a film version of the psychological thriller, The Wife Between Us." Given that that was over 6 years ago now, I'm not holding my breath that we'll get a movie or television adaption of this book.


Are Nellie and Vanessa the Same Person?

Yes - In The Wife Between Us, Nellie and Vanessa are the same person. This is the first "twist" in the book. Richard gave Vanessa the nickname Nellie when they were dating. So, in the early chapters of the book which "flip" between Vanessa and Nellie, you aren't flipping between people but between time - then vs. now, past vs. present.


How Old Is Vanessa Thompson?

In The Wife Between Us, it is confirmed that Nellie was 27 years old when she was still with Richard Thompson. Given that they divorced after seven years, it is safe to assume Vanessa Thompson is at least 34 years old.


How Does The Wife Between Us End?

Even though Emma agrees to call off her wedding, Vanessa believes she won't be able to go through with it. So, she begins to strategically provoke Richard and lure him to Emma's apartment. As planned, Richard attacks Vanessa. She is able to keep him from strangling her though by fighting him off using the wedding cake topper she brought with her. At that moment, Emma and Maureen emerge from the apartment to find the scene.


The next we hear of Richard, he is "spending 28 days in an acute mental health facility where is undergoing intensive daily therapy sessions. It is part of the deal he made to avoid being prosecuted for assault." Doesn't seem like enough does it...


We also find out that the "therapist" Vanessa had been seeing in the city was actually Richard's first wife, Kate.


That's not all though. Even with just a few pages left, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen sneak in one final twist. Emma Sutton was not just some random woman. She was Daniel Barton's daughter - the professor who had an affair with Vanessa and got her pregnant. Emma held Vanessa responsible for "tearing apart her family." She saw Vanessa as someone who "gilded through a golden life; one she didn't deserve." When she couldn't find a way to "naturally intersect" in Vanessa's life, she decided to get close to her husband instead. What she didn't know the whole time though was the two women were "unwitting coconspirators."


With no more twists left to spring on us, Vanessa returns to teaching pre-K and goes on her trip to Italy with her Aunt Charlotte.


What Was Maureen's Role In The Wife Between Us?

There are a lot of theories about Maureen's role in The Wife Between Us, though the most widely believed one appears to be that even though she was Richard Thompson's older sister, she was in love with him to some degree. Here are three solid examples that led me to come to that conclusion as well:

  1. After Richard attacks Vanessa in Chapter 39 and the two are discovered by Maureen and Emma, the following happens between Richard and Mauren: "I always took care of you, Richard. I never let anything bad happen to you. You don't have to worry. I'm here I'm going to fix everything.' Her utterances are bewildering. But what shocks me most is the strange emotion infusing them. Maureen doesn't sound angry or sad or confused. Her voice is filled with something I can't identify at first, because it is so out of place. I finally realize what it is: satisfaction."

  2. At the end of Chapter 40, when Vanessa mentions her and Richard's wedding album to Maureen, the following happens: "'You can do whatever you want with the wedding album....' 'I remember. Terry did a nice job. Lucky that he was able to fit you in that day after all.' I stop short. I'd never told anyone how close we'd come to not having a photographer at our ceremony. And it has been nearly a decade since our wedding; even I couldn't come up with Terry's name that quickly. As Maureen meets my stare, I recollect how a woman had phoned to cancel our booking. Maureen knew which photographer we were using."

  3. Again, at the end of Chapter 40, after Vanessa hands over her wedding album and rings, Maureen puts them on in front of Vanessa: "She stops at the edge of the parking lot and touches my arm. 'Goodbye.' I feel cold, smooth metal against my skin. When I look down, I see she has slipped my rings onto the fourth finger of her right hand. She follows my gaze. 'For safekeeping.'


5 Books Like The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Are you looking for another book like The Wife Between Us? If so, here are five similar domestic psychological thriller books that I'd highly recommend checking out next.


The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

1. The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

If there was one book I was absolutely sure needed to be on this list of books like The Wife Between Us, it was The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. It's very similar in that there's also tension between the first wife and the new girlfriend, even though the wife is technically dead. Here's what it's about exactly: "Jane is a broke dog-walker in a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane steals the odd thing. But her luck changes when she meets the mysterious widow, Eddie Rochester. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past - or his - catches up to her?"


The Golden Cage by Camilla Läckberg

2. The Golden Cage by Camilla Läckberg

When I came across The Golden Cage on a list of marriage thriller books, I knew I had to learn more. Once I did, I was sold. It definitely classifies as a book like The Wife Between Us. Just read the description yourself: "Faye has loved Jack since they were college students. Jack, the perpetual golden boy, grew up wealthy, while Faye, worked hard to bury a dark past. When Jack needs help launching a new company, Faye leaves school to support him, waitressing by day and working as his strategist by night. Things take a turn after they welcome a baby though. Faye finds herself stuck at home and none of the perks of wealth make up for the fact that Jack has begun to treat her coldly, undermining her intelligence and forgetting all she sacrificed for his success. When Faye discovers that he's having an affair, the polished facade of their life cracks wide open. Faye is alone, emotionally shattered, and financially devastated - but hell hath no fury like a woman with a violent past bent on vengeance. Jack is about to get exactly what he deserves - and so much more."


The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

3. The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

Like The Wife Between Us, Sally Hepwroth's book, The Younger Wife, features a husband, ex-wife, and new wife. However, it's a bit more complicated than that as the husband and first wife's daughters are involved. Here's the description: "The husband - A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first, he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself. The Daughters - Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money. The Former Wife - With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is. The Younger Wife - Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses in all of them?"


Finding Tessa by Jaime Lynn Hendricks

4. Finding Tessa by Jaime Lynn Hendricks

Both The Wife Upstairs and Finding Tessa by Jamie Lynn Hendricks are about women who set up their husbands. If you're thinking that will make this domestic thriller a boring follow-up, think again. In other ways, it's completely different. Read the description and you'll see what I mean: "When Jace Montgomery comes home late from entertaining clients, he discovers that his wife Tessa is missing. While the cops have him pegged as a suspect, Jace maintains his innocence despite the mounting evidence against him. That becomes difficult though when a coworker he's accused of having an affair with also disappears and a search warrant turns up an illegal gun in Jace’s home. What is he really hiding? Meanwhile, Tessa finally feels safe, having set up her husband to take the fall for her disappearance—and someone close to him is helping her put him away. Breaking her lifelong pattern of bad men is only one hurdle she has to overcome. Will Tessa’s old life catch up to her and drag her back to a life of abuse before justice is served?"


Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

5. Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Besides the love triangle between a husband-ex-wife-and new wife, Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney is quite a unique domestic psychological thriller compared to The Wife Between Us. Unlike a lot of books in this genre, which can be fairly predictable, the twists in Rock Paper Scissors are the kind that you'll think about long after you've put down the book. Here's what it's about exactly: "Things have been wrong with Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a long time. So, when Adam and Amelia win a weekend away in a remote part of Scotland, the hope is it will be a turning point in their marriage. Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after."

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