Review - Perfect Wives by Emma Hannigan


Published April 1st 2013 by Hachette Books Ireland
382 pages

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Jodi Lodlum's life is far removed from the life she once new and even further removed from her troubled childhood. Her's is the perfect rags to riches Story. She grew up with an abusive alcoholic mother who utterly resented her own daughter. Jodi, determined not to end up like her, works hard to be noticed in the cut throat world of acting. Her talent and warm personality shoot her to fame and fortune. She meets and marry's the gorgeous Darius and when the two have a child together Jodi decides that she want's her son to spend time away from the limelight. This decision takes the two of them  to an idyllic country cottage back in Ireland.

Francine can really only be described as a Stepford wife. She is a perfect machine who runs her life with military position. She has it all, great job, great kids, great husband and a great house. She is a pillar of the local community and looked up to by all the other mothers in the town. Francine is beside herself when she learns that a famous film star is coming to live in Bakers Valley. She is determined to befriend her and to be the first to introduce her to all the other mothers in town.

At the beginning of the story Francine comes across as shallow and one dimensional but we soon see that cracks are appearing in her perfect façade. When her son Cameron repeatedly bites, kicks an attacks other children Francine's friends start to turn away from her. Labelling Cameron as a demon child and laying the blame squarely at Francine's parenting skills.

We all know someone like Francine, someone who can never show their weaker side but when she eventually learns to confide in Jodi she learns what real friendship means. She realises there is more to life than coffee mornings and PTA meetings. That real friends don't turn their back on you when things get tough.

Jodi too has her own demons to deal with. Ghosts  re-surface threatening to reveal her less than perfect past. With the help of the kind, down to earth farmer next door she realises that if someone is really worth admiring then their past won't matter. Its who you are now that counts.

The one character I didn't warm to was Saul. I know he's just a kid but his character was just too syrupy sweet and one dimensional for me.

I also wonder how happy these women will be when all their children leave home. Their whole lives seem to revolve around them from coffee meetings to school committee's. I can imagine the women in this village becoming very unhappy in ten years time. Or maybe at that stage they'll be delighted to be rid of them.

In all Perfect Wives turned out to be a perfect summer read.


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