ABOUT THE BOOK:
The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie. From the bestselling author of The Girl Before comes a gripping new psychological thriller. . . .
Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.
She is a miracle of science.
But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?
Beware the man who calls you . .
Many thoughts on this one! Certainly fascinating and thought-provoking.
“So what am I? A prototype?”
He shakes his head. “Much more than that. A quantum leap. A paradigm shift. And, most important, my wife.”
‘The Perfect Wife’ is much more disturbing than most psychological thrillers. The author challenges the reader to question what the meaning of being human really is. The book begins with a bang: Abbie suddenly awakens – from the dead! – but is a highly specialized robot with a very complex type of AI. Her husband, Tim, a tech millionaire, has designed her for “deep learning”, so that she actually adapts and evolves based on her experiences.
Can AI really replace a loved one? Can a robot ever really become sentient? Abbie’s husband Tim seems so grief-stricken at the loss of his beloved wife that he has created an exact replica to replace her. JP Delaney has written one of my favorite thrillers (‘The Girl Before’) which also touched on some feminist themes and he really adds to ideas of human flaws, control and autonomy here.
“Even Tim, you think, for all that he keeps saying he adores you—is it really you he loves? Or is it the idea of you—his creation, this amazing achievement? This extraordinary monument to his pure, enduring love? ”
Tim is a workaholic and a very demanding boss. Abbie learns that they have a son named Danny who has a rare condition called Heller’s Syndrome which caused him to completely regress as a toddler into a severe form of autism. Abbie and Tim struggled to come to terms with Danny’s condition, and to find the best possible education and care for him.
The story is told in alternating chapters. One of the voices is a third person which was very disorienting but in the end made perfect sense. Abbie and Tim had the perfect marriage until something happened to cause a breakdown in their relationship. As the mystery surrounding Abbie’s death unfolds, the book really picks up the pace as Abbie begins to “learn” more and more and adapt to her surroundings. I never thought of her as an “it” or a robot but always as a person. Abbie can’t quite recall everything about her past…only what Tim decides to “upload” to her.
Tim is a brilliant and driven man and seems completely devoted to Abbie and their son. Tim does seem happy that Abbie is bonding with Danny, even if their household isn’t quite a traditional one. I had the sense that Tim wasn’t quite what he seemed to be on the surface, but yet he did seem genuinely glad to help Abbie recover all of her lost memories.
“Most people think death is inevitable,” Tim goes on. “But what if that’s just a failure of our collective imagination? What if death is just another problem to be hacked?”
There is an absolutely mind-blowing ending so this book is best enjoyed without reading too many reviews. Just go in blind and you will enjoy! The only reason I didn’t give this book a higher rating was because the main characters all used British terms and phrases, even though the story is set in Silicon Valley. But ‘The Perfect Wife’ is definitely a thought-provoking thriller with a subject matter of great topical interest that should not be missed!
“You’re Abbie. And I love you. That’s all that matters.”
(ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)