Book Review: The Other Woman’s House by Sophie Hannah

other womanThere was a point in reading The Other Woman’s House, probably about 3/4 of the way through, where I thought I would give it four stars. After all, I was intrigued enough to spend my entire day yesterday reading it. Hannah had a good hook; I needed to know if the main character was as batshit insane as she seemed to be. Or was she just a basketcase? There is a difference. The former is a killer. The latter just makes everyone around them miserable. At least that’s my take. Definitions may vary.

When I finished, I said, “No way this convoluted mystery deserves more than three.” Like every other mystery out there, Hannah spent a large chunk of the end of the novel telling us everything we didn’t have enough information to figure out ourselves. She did it once, with three detectives stuck in traffic – that’s ten pages I’ll never get back – and then again with the killer and his final victim. What made no sense being told by third parties made a bit more with the crazy person involved, but unfortunately not much.

When I was composing my review in my head last night in bed, I realized I hated every character. I’m not exaggerating. Every character. There were two characters involved in a – I feel like I’m insulting the word sub-plot here, but I can’t think of an alternative – subplot that was, basically, the question of whether or not they should give out the hotel phone number of a detective on his honeymoon. Well, they did manage to do one other thing, illustrate how reprehensible, narcissistic and neurotic a character who had no narrative point was. I felt so sorry for the character she married. It’s no wonder he never wants to have sex with her. On the other hand, what was the point of that point the author kept driving home? It had zero relevance to the story. Honestly…

Good lord. I just discovered this book is part of a series. Okay, then these pointless characters and storylines make a little more sense. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make them any less pointless. The blurbs keep calling this “the beloved Zailer and Waterhouse series” which I find hilarious. I can’t imagine Charlie and Simon being beloved to any reader. They were the two most insufferable characters I’ve read in my entire life.

With all those complaints, why am I giving it two stars? Even though I hated the characters, they were well drawn and fully realized. Hannah’s writing is clear. Her dialogue is natural. I would read a novel by Hannah outside of the Zailer and Waterhouse series, but there is no way I ever want to spend another minute with those characters. They are going to have a miserable marriage.

Cross posted to GoodReads.

  • The Other Woman’s House (★) by Sophie Hannah
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143121510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143121510
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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