Jennifer Coburn

"The Wife of Reilly"

(reviewed by Kam Aures JUN 01, 2004)

"Finding a new wife for my husband was not going to be an easy task. Keeping Reilly a secret from my new fiance was going to be an even greater one. This sounds just awful, I'm Sure. While it's true I've gotten myself in a rather sticky situation juggling a husband and boyfriend, it doesn't automatically make me a bad person. I'll be the firstto admit I handled things poorly last weekend. I plead temporary insanity. All right, permanent selfishness. But all I have is today, and today this is the reality I'm dealing with. I could dwell ion regret over my mistake, which does no one any good. Or I can do something to repair the damage I've done.

I read somewhere that forty percent of women cheat on their husbands. Nowhere have I ever heard of a soon-to-be ex-wife finding her own replacement so her husband isn't lonely after the divorce. That's got to count for something, doesn't it?"

At her college reunion in Ann Arbor, MI, Prudence hooks up with her old boyfriend Matt and accepts his proposal to get married. The only problem is that she is already married to Reilly, a minor detail that she was not truthful to Matt about. She told Matt that Reilly died in a boating accident two years prior. After returning home to New York Prudence keeps in contact with Matt in Los Angeles via her cell phone and visits are planned to determine which coast they will settle down on together.

In the meantime, Prudence comes up with a plan to place an ad in the paper to find a new wife for her husband. With the help of a couple of her closest friends she sorts through the mountains of letters to pick out the women that sound like they would be a good match.

Posing as Reilly's sister, Prudence sets up meetings with many of the women in hopes of weeding out the bad ones. She even hosts a singles party in her friends' gallery with pictures of Reilly and his life history as an exhibit. Her plan is to compile a list of women that she thinks would be most compatible with Reilly and to leave him this list when she leaves. All of this she does without his knowledge.

In the beginning I thought that the concept of this novel was a little silly but I decided that it was worth giving a shot and I am so glad that I did. After reading the book I found that I truly enjoyed it and that it was silly in a good way. The plot and characters are so fun, fresh, and unique that it just works.

Another thing that I enjoyed about The Wife of Reilly is that the story is unpredictable. With a lot of "chick lit" books you know exactly what is going to happen and when it is going to happen. There is not any element of suspense. This is not the case with Coburn's book as there are quite a few twists and turns in the plot.

If you are looking for a light, fast, and funny read don't let the thickness of the book (345 pages) discourage you. This is one of those books that you will fly through in no time at all and even be left wishing there were more. You will not be disappointed. Coburn is a very creative author and I enjoyed her hilarious writing style in this debut novel. Hopefully there will be many more novels of this type to come.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 109 reviews


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About the Author:

Jennifer CoburnJennifer Coburn is an award-winning journalist who has written for magazines and newspapers in the United States, Canada, and Australia.  She is a native New Yorker and a graduate of the University of Michigan.

She lives in San Diego with her (irreplaceable) husband, William, and their daughter, Katie.

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