Wife to a Stranger is an excellent example of the metamorphosis of a four-heart novel into a two-heart wall banger.
New Zealand author Daphne Clair spins a tightly-written web around her readers with the story of Rolfe Massey. Rolfe is a businessman who has spent more time building his corporate enterprise than developing his relationship with his wife, Capri.
Fate gives Rolfe a second chance when Capri survives a train crash. Her injuries are minor, but there's a problem. Capri remembers Rolfe, but nothing about their life together. She doesn't know what happened to her jewelry and why her husband wasn't on the train with her.
Capri and the reader begin to suspect that something else was amiss in the marriage. She learns that she and Rolfe shared separate rooms prior to the accident. When a neighbor alludes to an extramarital relationship between them, Capri wonders how she could have been unfaithful to the Rolfe she has come to care for.
What kind of woman had she been prior to the accident? There are so many unanswered questions.
Rolfe seizes this opportunity to make up for lost time and renew their marriage. His pursuit of her is patient – despite his frustration caused by her inability to remember their marriage and her unwillingness to share his bed.
As I mentioned, the writing is good. Clair's story of intimate strangers held my interest. That says a great deal. I generally don't like "amnesia" plot lines. But the author's development of the growing relationship between the two main characters and the sexual tension made me want to find out what happens. Her use of secondary characters only add to the mystery.
So what happened?
At the critical moment of truth in her characters' lives, Clair throws the reader a curve. It's a plot twist destined to give readers
whiplash. And, while I cannot reveal what occurs, I can say nothing is as it seems.
I've been blind sided. My investment of time, interest and trust were all for naught. As Wife to a Stranger ricochets off the wall, I have just one thought:
I feel so used!