Black Widows by Cate Quinn #review

Black Widows by Cate Quin

Title: Black Widows
Author: Cate Quinn
Publisher: Orion Books


Polygamist Blake Nelson built a homestead on a hidden stretch of land—a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah—where he lived with his three wives:

Rachel, the first wife, obedient and doting to a fault, with a past she’d prefer to keep quiet.
Tina, the rebel wife, everything Rachel isn’t, straight from rehab and the Vegas strip.
And Emily, the young wife, naïve and scared, estranged from her Catholic family.

The only thing that they had in common was Blake. Until all three are accused of his murder.

When Blake is found dead under the desert sun, all three wives become suspect—not only to the police, but to each other. As the investigation draws them closer, each wife must decide who can be trusted. With stories surfacing of a notorious cult tucked away in the hills, whispers flying about a fourth wife, and evidence that can’t quite explain what had been keeping Blake busy, the three widows face a reckoning that might shatter all they know to be true. 

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My review:

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get into this book, but as soon as the mystery element kicked in I was hooked!

The novel focuses on a Mormon family of three wives – Rachel, Emily and Tina – and one husband, Blake, all living together in the wilds of Salt Lake City. Blake is killed and suspicion falls on each of the Sister wife, and it soon becomes apparent that Blake was not a perfect husband – but which wife hated him enough to kill him?

The plot is quite a slow burner, with tension building between the wifes and the police, and between the three wifes themselves. We see over the course of the book flashbacks from earlier in their relationship, and the rocky start that many of them had to their marriage. We find out that Blake has been keeping secrets, and it’s interesting to see the wives try to figure out what might have been going on, all the while wondering if one of the others could be a murderer.

What I found really interesting was learning more about the Mormon faith and ways of life, and the way that others judge them for it – even fellow Mormons, who practice a non-polygamous version. The subject of polygamy is a very complex and intriguing one by itself, so I enjoyed reading about it all, although some of the more dark elements to Blake, Rachel, Emily and Tina’s marriage were hard to read about at times.

Overall, I think this is an interesting and gripping read. It’s not hugely fast paced but it definitely kept me turning the pages – then again, I’m always a sucker for a bit of mystery, and Black Widows strikes just the right balance between suspense and reality.

Rating: 4/5

Many thanks to Orion for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.


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