The Widow
December 1, 2022

Book Review

The Widow

reviewed by Valerie J. Brooks | Goodreads

“Behind every successful man is a ruthless wife who made it all happen, or so they say.” — Jody Asher, wife to Congressman Martin Asher

Jody Asher is having a bad night. At a congressional event hosted by the Library of Congress, she finds her charismatic husband Martin in an intense conversation with his young, attractive intern. Jody is already angry with him for not waiting for her to attend the event together, and she needs to talk with him. Their daughter is getting married the following weekend, and Jody needs more money for the extravagant affair. Jody doesn’t care what her husband does as long as it doesn’t reflect badly on them. But her friend Mimi, a Washington power broker and Martin’s supporter, points to the intern and says it’s inappropriate. Perception seems to be the only worry in the minds of these two women. When Martin forces Jody to leave early, Jody is in a rage because this is her favorite event of the year. But she plasters on a smile and goes with him. “He knows what happens when he makes me mad.”

And that’s only the first chapter of The Widow.

Kaira Rouda, author of Somebody’s Home and The Next Wife, immerses us in the underbelly of Washington, D.C., showcasing a family that will do anything to maintain its fifteen-year legacy. The Widow is a twisted tale of power mongers that rolls out like Game of Thrones but without the ice, dragons, and bloody carnage—although there is a more civilized form of carnage. Everyone wants power. Jody’s obstacles to retaining her husband’s seat in Congress include a daughter who is marrying the son of Martin’s main opponent, a man who has no qualms about undermining Martin during the wedding events. Plus, unknown to Jody, her “friend” Mimi brokers power with much darker motives in mind. Secrets pile up. Martin has borrowed money illegally, and the media is digging into a story about him. Jody must quickly dodge all the arrows launched at her and her family if she is to retain power in Congress—whether that includes her husband or not.

This dark comic thriller probably feels more true-to-life because of Rouda’s background. Her husband held a California congressional seat, and she uses details that bring authenticity to the story. The novel, told in the voices of Jody, Martin, and Mimi, includes a tip for new congressional spouses at the beginning of each chapter. Heels will click on the floors of the book’s prestigious settings. Full of secrets, intrigue, corruption, and backstabbing, The Widow is a whirlwind of plots and counterplots. In the end, you’ll gasp at what has been in play all along.

Kaira Rouda is a multiple award-winning Amazon Charts and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction that explores what goes on beneath the surface of seemingly perfect lives. Her novels of domestic suspense include Somebody’s Home, The Next Wife, The Favorite Daughter, Best Day Ever, and All the Difference. Rouda’s work has been translated into more than ten languages. She lives in Southern California with her family.

Thank you to Kaira Rouda and Thomas & Mercer for an advanced reader copy.

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