Book Review: The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lasa Steinke

“It’s ridiculous how your life doesn’t need your permission to turn upside down.”

― Liz Fenton, The Good Widow

In this gripping, emotional thriller, acclaimed authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke make their debut as suspense writers. The Good Widow skillfully handles Jacks' sorrow and the loss of her imperfect marriage while still being heartbreaking and intriguing. The Hawaiian backdrop is breathtaking, the language is incisive and evocative, and the climax was a fantastic, unexpected surprise. 

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death… 

My reaction to this novel...

I like reading psychological thriller books because they get me to contemplate what is happening and what the story's next twist will be. It's interesting for me to read unexpected novels, especially if they throw me off guard. In fact, I had high expectations for this narrative. 

The fate of the two victims who passed away during the incident is an intriguing mystery. I made a lot of assumptions, but while I was reading it, I decided to look it up on Google to see if it was a romance or a thriller since I felt the story is leaning more toward the romantic end. This disappointed me. I'm not sure how the main character will be able to let go of the occurrence after viewing the incident's scene. The story was ridiculous. The story took a while to get going, but at the third or so mark, it really got the momentum, and I found myself waiting for Dylan to act when she learned James' true stance. At that time, I was wondering whether she may change her mind, but nothing happened. In addition, the author omitted the specifics of their deaths.

I too wondered, "Really?! Is she nuts?!" as I read the part of Dylan where she is afraid of what Nick did to her after she dumped him. She should have anticipated Nick feeling this way after breaking his heart. I'm not saying Nick did the right thing, but if he was really madly in love with her and she broke his heart so badly, she ought to have known he wouldn't stay or even allow her to go that easily. It irritated me that Dylan was acting like a victim and was afraid of Nick because, in my perspective, it was her responsibility that Nick behaved that way.

I found this book to be more of a romance than a thriller, and I was let down by the story's development and resolution. I didn't find it to be appealing. I had already predicted what would happen. It would be better if the author tried interesting concepts and stunned their audience with a shocking turn of events.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐(2/5)

“I've figured out a funny little secret about life: Even if you stay on the sidewalks and pay your bills on time and use hand sanitizer, bad things still happen. Yes, maybe you can cut your odds by playing it safe. By attempting to predict each and every possible pitfall. But your fate will still find you, no matter how much you hide from it.”

I really think that if something is supposed to happen to you, whether you are prepared for it or not, it will still occur, no matter what you do or how cautious you are every day or with every action you take. Whether anything is happening for or against us, we cannot stop it. All we have to do is let God handle the situation. 


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.