About The Book
Missing persons don’t always stay that way
Sandrine is unhappy in her body, her house and her life.
But none of that matters when she meets her man. He makes room for her, a place in his home, with his son.
He cares about where she is, who she is speaking to. He loves her, intensely. Everything would be perfect, if only the first woman, the one from before, would just stay away…
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Second Woman is one of the most intense books I have read for a long time and it also has one of the most unreliable narrators. The narrator, Sandrine, has problems with confidence and her body image. Her childhood sounded difficult and obviously had an impact on her ability to interact with colleagues and potential friends. But when she meets a man and his son, Mathias, after an appeal to find his missing wife her life changes. And in many ways not in a good way.
Throughout this novel her man remains nameless. He isn’t the only one, there are a handful of others and I feel this was because the author ( and character) felt that giving them a name gave them an identity they didn’t deserve. Her man was the main one, I think the others weren’t named because of their refusal or ignorance of her predicament.
At first things appeared fairly calm in their relationship. Sandrine knows that his wife’s disappearance and presumed death has had an impact on his and Mathias’s life and she is slowly getting closer to the young boy and has an amicable relationship with his maternal grandparents. But her relationship with the man has started to get volatile. He resents the constant presence of the police, especially the female officer, and when the first wife reappears you started to see his true personality.
Initially there were times I struggled to believe Sandrine. I wondered if she really was in a relationship with the man, whether the first wife had reappeared and it even crossed my mind that she was the first wife. But the more I read I started to see what was really happening. I started to see her as others saw her, not her own thoughts regarding her image and her popularity. I saw that there were some people who cared about her safety and wanted to help her. I was also relieved to see that once she realised this it gave her more confidence in her own strengths.
As the danger levels increased I felt more horrified. Not just at the abuse she and others around her received but also at the lack of understanding over her situation. I hate to think that this is a true reflection of attitude but sadly I expect it is.
I read this book as part of a read along within a group and really enjoyed seeing other readers thoughts.