by Catherine Todd

July 2003
ISBN: 0-06-051238-5
Reviewer Graphic Button William Morrow

Attorney, Lynn Bartlett has no idea why second wives are always complaining about their lousy lots in life. Sheís the second wife of high tech executive Jackson Hughes, and her marriage and life are both just perfectly fine, or at least she thinks they are.

Illusions are shattered by the uninvited attendance of Janet, Jacksonís attractive ex wife, at Jacksonís fiftieth birthday party. Janet is unescorted and not carrying a white flag. If her presence wasnít enough to unsettle Lynn, the adult stepchildren are also there and carrying their own baggage.

As Lynnís once comfortable life unravels around her at home and at work, she realizes that being wife number two is a hell of a lot more than saying I do.

Secret Lives of Second Wives, is an insightful novel about, as the title states, second wives. In it, the author, Catherine Todd, vividly portrays the turmoil experienced by a second wife who thought she had the marriage of her dreams.

Despite the misfortunes she suffered, Lynn Bartlett was still a difficult character with whom to empathize. She wasnít a particularly strong heroine. She didnít really stand up for herself and gave in to temptation way too easily. Jackson was equally as unappealing. He didnít quite seem to realize he was Lynnís husband and what that entailed until the end of the book.

Still in this case and perhaps only this case, the characters donít actually matter. This time, itís the truth behind the story that matters, and Catherine Todd tells it in such an honest, engaging manner that everything else seems pretty much inconsequential.

Reviewed in April 2004 by Natasha.

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