Title: The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives
Author: Kristin Miller
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication date: July 20, 2021
One Sentence Summary: Brooke is the new trophy wife in Presidio Terrace and uses her new neighbor who reportedly killed her two late husbands as inspiration for her next mystery novel.
The Sinful Lives of Trophy Lives, more or less, lives up to its title. Revolving around three women in an exclusive community, the lives of the wealthy are flaunted and the duality of perfect appearances and deep, dark secrets is explored. This is a fun and thrilling look into the darkness that lurks underneath money, the secrets people keep from each other, and what happens when they start to be exposed, when things reach a fever pitch. A fun thriller with lots of information seemingly coming out of left field, but that ties together very well.
As the new trophy wife of Presidio Terrace, Brooke is just looking for a quiet, secure home in which to write her next mystery novel and to play the part of the perfect (second) wife to a tech billionaire, a man more than two decades her senior. She doesn’t expect to be quickly befriended by Erin, the president of the HOA and new neighbor.
Erin is a successful news anchor married to a plastic surgeon. But their marriage is strained as he works to increase the success of his business and she is relentlessly ambitious in her career. Brooke’s arrival, though upends her life, sparking her decision to take some time off work to groom herself into the perfect trophy wife to keep her husband from straying.
Georgia is Erin’s friend and is swiftly introduced to Brooke, who becomes deeply entangled in both their lives. Georgia is known as the Black Widow as both of her husbands supposedly died from accidents. She’s ready for the third husband, though, and everything is going swimmingly until he vanishes and her past suddenly catches up to her.
The Sinful Lives of Trophy Lives mostly lives up it’s name, but it also felt a little hollow. Certainly, none of the women are pure and they all have their secrets, but it wasn’t quite as sinful as I expected. I did really enjoy how they became inexplicably caught up in each other’s orbits, tangling themselves deeper into a dark plot, though. But I just wanted more secrets to make their lives truly sinful.
My favorite was Erin. Her story had the most movement and the more interesting secrets. Erin is such a go-getter that she really felt like the brains of the three women. She’s smart, but also self-obsessed. I loved watching her lose it, loved watching her twist the other two women around and be twisted herself. I loved when things got out of hand for her even as she tried to be the perfect trophy wife. It was fascinating the way she spun her personal life on social media so she looked absolutely perfect.
Brooke was, well, kind of adorable. She’s the youngest of the three and comes off as innocent, though she, too, holds deep secrets. As a mystery writer, it’s easy to see how Erin and Georgia appeal to her, but she’s so wrapped up in their stories that, other than being a writer, it was hard to get to know her. It made her not quite interesting and I’m still puzzling over what the book description meant when it mentioned “the truth being their ‘perfect’ marriage.” Her husband wasn’t actually seen or mentioned much and she was often left on her own, so I’m still curious about the truth of their marriage.
Georgia, well, I felt she could have been more interesting. She’s bursting with color and vitality and seems not at all what one might think of as a murderer, but there are also parts of her that seem a little too perfect, making the reader wonder a little about her. With the story mostly told by Brooke and Erin, the reader doesn’t get much more beyond how they see her, which makes sense considering what really happened to her late husbands is part of the core of the story.
The part that bothered me was how alike all the men seemed. I often got them mixed up. They were all wealthy and worked hard so they were rarely home. But they were also demanding and had their own ways of controlling their wife. Georgia’s fiance was actually something of a breath of fresh air, but all the other men seemed to be cut from the same cloth.
I liked that The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives made the women into more than simple housewives whose only job was to look pretty and be the perfect hostess. They had their own careers, their own minds, their own decisions to make. Put beside the men, it was easy to see why they did what they did.
The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives moves at an excellent pace and revelations come as necessary. Not once did I want to try to figure out what was really going on and not once did I feel it was predictable. There were things I suspected, but I still really liked the twists and turns. This book definitely kept my interest and I felt caught up in the women’s lives, though some bits of information and revelations just seemed to come out of nowhere. I think I might have appreciated at least a little foreshadowing, but these women really kept their secrets!
This novel is teeming with secrets, but it wasn’t quite as catty and backstabbing as I had thought it would be. While Erin seemed jealous of Brooke, it really only came in snatches that became a little repetitive. Instead, the three women seemed to forge a strong bond, one based on shared secrets. If anything, I wish they had been a little more brutal towards each other, but I had fun getting tangled up in their lives.
The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives was a fun thriller that had me questioning what was going on and what was going to happen next. I loved how everything was neatly tied together, how everything had been so meticulously planned. It did feel like some information came out of left field, but I still really enjoyed this novel.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.