The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlantePublisher:  Atlantic Monthly Press
Release Date:  March 4, 2014
Pages:  325
Genre:  Mystery

About the Book:  When Dr. John Taylor is found dead in a hotel room in his hometown, the local police find enough incriminating evidence to suspect foul play. Detective Samantha Adams, whose Palo Alto beat usually covers small-town crimes, is innocently thrown into a high-profile murder case that is more intricately intertwined than she could ever imagine. A renowned plastic surgeon, a respected family man, and an active community spokesman, Dr. Taylor was loved and admired. But, hidden from the public eye, he led a secret life—in fact, multiple lives. A closeted polygamist, Dr. Taylor was married to three very different women in three separate cities. And when these three unsuspecting women show up at his funeral, suspicions run high. Adams soon finds herself tracking down a murderer through a web of lies and marital discord.

With a rare combination of gripping storytelling, vivid prose, and remarkable insight into character, Alice LaPlante brings to life a story of passion and obsession that will haunt readers long after they turn the final page. A charged and provocative psychological thriller, A Circle of Wives dissects the dynamics of love and marriage, trust and jealousy, posing the terrifying question: How well do you really know your spouse?

Wanda's Thoughts:  I was initially drawn to this book because of the abundance of rave reviews and the seemingly interesting premise. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met. It lacked genuineness with a storyline that was quite implausible. Dr John Taylor, a polygamist, who juggled his life among three wives, stretched credibility to the limit.

The writing is good, with simple dialogue, and makes for an easy read. The individual stories were cleverly woven together and all came together for a rather satisfying conclusion. However, I never connected to the characters and found them all unlikeable with little or no depth. There was very little suspense or drama and no real intrigue. I found this book to be barely lukewarm - no spark whatsoever. My rating - 2 stars.

Alice LaPlanteThe Author - Alice LaPlante -   Alice LaPlante is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer. She also teaches in the MFA program at San Francisco State University. Her fiction has been widely published in Epoch,Southwestern Review, and other literary journals. Alice is the author of five books, including the LA Times bestseller Method and Madness: The Making of a Story (W.W. Norton 2009). Her latest book, the novel Turn of Mind, was published by Grove Atlantic in 2011 and won the Wellcome Trust Book Prize for 2011. She lives with her family in Northern California.