Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge

A few weeks ago, Goudge, who I follow on Facebook shared that there was a deal for an eBook version of her book The Replacement Wife. The book, one that was published in 2012, was one that I hadn't read. The blurb shared on the site was intriguing and I decided to request a copy from the library (I'm just not a digital book reader, give me the good old-fashioned paper version). I have read a few of her other books, including Once In A Blue Moon. She is one of many authors that I have discovered through the blog and continue to read.

About the book:
The Replacement Wife
A professional matchmaker with six months to live tries to find her husband’s next wife in this poignant novel by a New York Times–bestselling author.
Camille Hart, one of Manhattan’s most sought-after matchmakers, has survived more than her fair share of hardships. Her mother died when she was a young girl, leaving her and her sister with an absentee father. Now in her forties, she has already survived cancer once, though the battle revealed just how ill-equipped her husband Edward is to be a single parent. So when doctors tell Camille that her cancer is back—and this time it’s terminal—she decides to put her matchmaking expertise to the test for one final job. Seeking stability for her children and happiness for her husband, Camille sets out to find the perfect woman to replace her when she’s gone.
But what happens when a dying wish becomes a case of “be careful what you wish for”? For Edward and Camille, the stunning conclusion arrives with one last twist of fate that no one saw coming. At once deeply felt and witty, The Replacement Wife is an unforgettable story of love and family, and a refreshing look at the unexpected paths that lead us to our own happy endings.

The concept behind the story in this book left me feeling a little sad. On one hand, I can totally relate to a mother and wife wanting to ensure the best for her family, especially given her own childhood. On the other hand, I immediately had a sense of foreboding. There simply were too many ways that this could go wrong. When she shared the idea with her husband and with the selected candidate, both met her request with reservation and yet she pushed forward. Even those around her that she shared her plan with wondered if it was the right thing.

The story challenged me and left me wondering, would I particpate, could I stand by and not try to reason with them if I was aware of what was going on. It left me feeling frustrated for the kids who not only had to deal with their mother's illness but also the outcome of this 'game' that the adults were playing. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and I liked how the side storylines were carried forward through intersections, even as they fell from the main story. I felt that I came to know them and connected with the emotions that they were processing, feeling anger, sympathy and frustration as the story unfolded. I appreciated that the book included both a six months later and a year later look into the lives, allowing the reader to feel like although this story was finished, they knew how the characters would be moving forward.

Have you read any good books recently?