A Beautiful, Terrible Thing
Jen Waite’s memoir is a real-life psychological thriller, told in before and after chapters. In the “before” chapters, Jen has married a wonderful man. He’s handsome, attentive, and committed. He’s her best friend and a great father to their baby girl. But one email changes everything. In the “after” chapters, Jen analyzes how she became the victim of a con man. She never saw it coming.
The Real Michael Swann
Julia Swann’s husband never comes home after a terrible incident at Penn Station, where she last spoke to him on the phone while he was waiting for his train. Left alone with two young boys, she begins her search for Michael, but though she gets a lead from a stranger who may have seen him, her calls continue to go unanswered. She has no idea if Michael survived, or if he’s even the person she thought he was. A deftly written suspense novel.
The nightmare begins for Judge Scott Sampson and his wife when their two beloved six-year-olds are kidnapped. A caller informs him that his childrens’ lives depend on his ruling for a drug case he is about to hear. He must carry out the caller’s instructions, or the consequences will be unthinkable. This is only the beginning of a twisting, turning story of lies, deceit, and nail-biting suspense.
The Couple Next Door
Anne and Marco Conti appear to have the perfect life, with their beautiful home, their easy relationship, and their adorable baby. But that all changes when a terrible crime is committed while Anne and Marco are at their neighbor’s dinner party. The parents become the prime suspects, but as Detective Rasbach finds, there is a lot more to the story. Secrets come out of the darkness as the detective works to crack the case of the couple next door.
The House Swap
Caroline and Francis have some marital issues that are threatening to destroy the life they’ve built with each other. So when they receive an offer to house swap, they can’t wait to get away for a week. But while they’re trying to patch up the damage from Caroline’s indiscretions and Francis’s unhealthy choices, they find that the owner’s neighbor is a little too interested in them. And Caroline is starting to realize that the stranger who owns this house might not be a stranger to her after all…in fact, she’s getting the sense that this person might know some of her secrets.
The Banker's Wife
Annabel’s husband Matthew Werner, an insider at the powerful offshore bank Swiss United, disappears in a private plane crash in the Alps. Left to untangle his secrets, Annabel figures out that his death was not an accident, and that his enemies have their eyes on her. Meanwhile, journalist Marina Tourneau is about to marry into one of New York’s most elite families when she agrees to look into just one more story. What Marina figures out about Swiss United could help Annabel, but it also implicates some powerful men she wouldn’t want to upset. Will she choose to publish the truth anyway?
Other People's Houses
Frances Bloom has long been a participant in the neighborhood carpool with three other families. This means that she visits their houses often…and occasionally this means that she sees something she shouldn’t. Like Anne Porter having sex on the floor with a man who is not her husband. Frances decides not to say anything about Anne’s secret, but it gets harder a couple of days later, when Anne’s husband kicks her out of the house. Frances feels caught in the middle, as one household’s secret reverberates throughout the neighborhood.
The New Neighbors
Everything seems perfect when Jack and Syd find their new home. It’s their dream house, with the perfect location, tons of space, and a nice neighborhood. But it seems the house has secrets, because Jack finds something weird in the attic, and Syd starts noticing the girl next door. Not wanting to dampen each other’s hopes, neither one shares what they’ve seen. So when someone is killed just outside the back door, it seems like their stories don’t quite line up.
The Sunshine Sisters
Ronni Sunshine was a Hollywood darling in her day, delighting her fans with her beauty and charisma. But to her three daughters, she was a narcissistic, distant mother at home. Even so, Ronni calls them when she finds out that she has a serious illness. She wants them to help her end her life. The three sisters are all dealing with their own life crises, including a marriage on the rocks for one of them. When they’re forced to confront the final loss of their mother, they discover that they might be closer than they thought.
Cass and Jonathan Coyne have been married for five years when the problems start. Jonathan believes that ups and downs are a normal part of any marriage, but Cass can’t help feeling like she needs a vacation from this partnership. She convinces him to try an “intermission”: a six-month separation to decide if they still both want the same things. On opposite coasts, meeting once a month for a custody exchange of their beloved dog, the Coynes realize that maybe this experiment could go a little too far.
The Marriage Pact
When successful lawyer Alice and psychologist Jake get married, one of Alice’s legal clients offers them an intriguing wedding gift: a membership to an exclusive, secret society called The Pact. The Pact’s single goal is to keep marriages strong. There are some sweet and simple rules to follow, including exchanging monthly gifts, always answering the phone, and planning trips with each other. The parties are glamorous and the other couples make great new friends for Jake and Alice. But things change when one of the couples breaks the rules…and it becomes clear to Alice and Jake that The Pact, like marriage, is a lifelong commitment.
Fiona Lawson and her estranged husband Bram have decided to be modern coparents with bird’s nest custody for their two sons. Each parent spends a few nights a week with the kids at the family house, to maintain a stable home life. That is, until Fiona comes home to find Bram and the kids gone, and strangers moving in. The man she thought she once knew has been weaving a tangled web of lies, but he’s also not the only one with things to hide.
The Exes' Revenge
Imogen’s husband Phillip is a controlling, abusive man who is making their divorce as difficult as possible. So when he shows up unexpectedly and demands that Imogen move out by the end of the month or he’ll sue for custody of their son, she’s at her wit’s end. Desperate to protect her son and win freedom for herself, she does something rash. What she doesn’t realize is that Phillip’s ex-wife and his new girlfriend want the same thing she does: revenge. The three women become allies with a plan to get back at the man who has mistreated all of them.
The Story of a Marriage
Jon thought that he and his wife had a Great Love, but everything is cast in a different light when he realizes that he’s losing her to another man. In lyrical prose, he looks to his inner world, to the conventions of masculinity and femininity, and to the story of their relationship, to understand why this is ending. Finally, to try to understand how his wife could fall in love with another, he decides to tell the story from his rival’s point of view, taking a truly unflinching look at the saga of a marriage cut short.
The Best Kind of People
George Woodbury is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school in Avalon Hills, Connecticut. His wife, Joan, is an ER nurse, his son Andrew a lawyer in New York, and his seventeen-year old daughter Sadie a popular high school senior. The Woodburys seem like the perfect family, until one night a police car pulls up to the house and George is charged with sexual misconduct with his students. The revelation sets off a chain of events that reveal just how many secrets can hide in a family home.
Stay with Me
Nigerian couple Yejide and Akin have been married four years, and despite trying everything, she still isn’t pregnant. Ever since they fell in love at university, they have agreed that polygamy is not for them. But then her in-laws show up at their door with a young woman they say is to be Akin’s second wife. Yejide is furious. She knows that if she is going to have the monogamous marriage she wants, she will have to get pregnant. And it turns out she can, but at what cost?
Waiting for Eden
Veteran Eden Malcolm is a prisoner of his own mind, trapped in a hospital bed, unable to move or communicate. His wife Mary stays at his bedside all day, every day, except for Christmas. On that one day of her absence, the light of Eden’s consciousness begins to flicker. As he begins to communicate, some unspoken truths about his marriage, and his life before war, come to light. Eden must grapple with the distance between who he was then (a husband, a friend, an expecting father) and who he is now.
Something in the Water
Newlyweds Erin and Mark are passionately in love with each other and enjoying the perfect honeymoon on the sunny tropical island of Bora Bora. They’re all about the beach and all over each other. Then, while they’re scuba diving in the beautiful blue water, they find something that changes everything. They have to make a choice fraught with danger: to say something or protect the secret. The decision they make triggers a domino effect that can’t be stopped.
His Perfect Wife
Alexandra Southwood, devoted wife and mother, has disappeared, and the police have uncovered her bloody belongings. It looks as though the worst has happened. But though almost everyone believes her to be dead, Alexandra is alive, held in a room against her will. Her only escape is through memories of her relationship with Marc. Luckily, Marc refuses to accept that Alexandra could be dead, and he goes off in search of his wife, uncovering secrets along the way.
The Charming Predator
Lee Mackenzie met her husband-to-be on a backpacking trip in the UK. She was a bright and confident young journalism student from a small town in Western Canada. The man she met was smart, charming, and likeable. Everyone in her life agreed that they made a great match. But the man who was so easy to believe turned out to be a con artist, hell bent on destroying her emotionally, psychologically, and financially. Nobody has ever gotten closer to international conman Kenner Jones than his ex-wife, who tells their true story here.
Everything I Never Told You
Chinese American parents Marilyn and James Lee have a favorite child: Lydia, the one who will achieve all of their unfulfilled dreams. But when Lydia’s body is found in a lake in their small Ohio town, the carefully calibrated Lee family dynamic is destroyed. Secrets come out and buried longings are uncovered as the living Lee family members struggle to understand one another in the midst of their grief.
In the ideal marriage, your spouse is the person you know best, and you don’t keep secrets from each other. These books are not about those marriages. From memoirs written by women who married con artists, to suspense novels about spouses who disappear, to a neighborhood carpool upended by one woman’s affair, to a secret society that won’t let its couples leave, a secret truth is buried in each one of these books.
Featured image: @parapluie via Twenty20