☆••*´¨`*•.☆•• 5-stars ☆••*´¨`*•.☆••
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 Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge is thought provoking fiction. I first read the book about one year ago, and I can’t get it out of my head. I still remember the intensity of my feelings while reading the book. I tormented my husband with my diatribes about the characters and their decisions. One year later, I still want to lay into the lead characters about the foolishness of their actions.
Camille is ill, and with the best of intentions, opens Pandora’s box. Edward, Camille’s seemingly-perfect husband and soul mate, succumbs to the temptation of the “well-meaning” single women in his wife’s life. However, those single women don’t want to be single, and Camille doesn’t anticipate that their desperation will make for questionable motives and pliable ethics/morals.
Camille grew up without her mother. Her father is so bereft by the loss of his wife, that he is a nonfunctioning parent—almost to the point of neglect. Camille doesn’t want this for her young children, and she sees her husband as work-obsessed and family-obtuse as her own father. Camille plays the martyr. She foregoes treatment and sets out to find her replacement. Edward is devastated by her decision to give up on life and their relationship. Camille’s only concern is the long term care of her children, so she nudges Edward and her clients to the point that both think he is on the market.
Does Camille’s logic make sense? The forces driving her are obvious, but she is the only person who doesn’t see how disastrousness of her choices. How can she possibly not grab her family and hold them tight every minute of every day that she is breathing? How can Edward leave her alone to work late or attend social functions?
The Replacement Wife is compelling, aggravating, sad and thought-provoking. How easy is it to settle into complacency and not put forth an effort in yourself and your relationships? What would you do in Camille’s situation—diagnosed with inoperable cancer? What would your husband do if he were in Edward’s position? Are you sure about that? There is always an Angie out there waiting for the right man at a vulnerable time.
Ultimately, The Replacement Wife is a cautionary tale about marriage. Camille and Edward appeared to be the perfect couple. People envy their magazine-spread-perfect existence. However, their 20 year relationship has more style than substance. They have more separateness than togetherness. Ultimately, both Camille and Edward get what they want, and to a great extent, I think Camille gets what she deserves.
This book is a long, emotional read. It will break your heart. It will elicit strong emotions about the characters and your own loved ones. The Replacement Wife is rife with discussion possibilities for book groups. Reading The Replacement Wife is like watching a train wreck. You can see it happening. You can’t do a thing about it, and you can’t take your eyes off it.