Readers who liked Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson will enjoy The Perfect Wife, JP Delaney’s futuristic twist on the story of an amnesiac wife with a secretive husband. Abbie wakes with no memory of how she ended up in a hospital bed. Tim, her husband, is beside her, crying with joy; a Silicon Valley genius, he explains to her that she’s “artificial. Intelligent, conscious… but manmade” – a companion robot, or cobot, created five years after Abbie’s death.
"One Booker shortlist later, Galley Beggar were proved correct. Ellmann’s novel isn’t perfect, and it may not take the prize, but in a world where Ian McEwan is still at large, something introspective and richly painted is a tonic for us all...."
— The Daily Telegraph
4.25 out of 5
Delaney’s third offering is an intriguing novel of ideas that draws on Frankenstein and the Pygmalion-Galatea myth, and plays with its themes (from AI and art to autism) just as absorbingly as recent literary fiction with similar preoccupations. However, it lacks a key thriller element: as Abbie 1 is dead and Abbie 2 is inanimate, you’re not emotionally invested in their stories and there is no suspense.
With every thriller must come a dizzying plot twist and an unforeseeable denouement, as is definitely the case here. Some readers might wish Abbie’s story had a slightly different ending, but regardless, everything about The Perfect Wife feels earned and satisfying. Thrillers, after all, are more about the journey than they are about the destination – and this journey is a captivating, deeply engrossing one.