How well do you know those closest to you? Do you let people in, or keep them at a distance to keep them from knowing your every little secret?
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey attacks that question with a voraciousness that I haven’t seen since Michael Crichton asked the question “What if dinosaurs came back, and everything went to hell because of it?”
Evelyn, a scientist who recently won a prestigious award for her work in cloning, has filed for divorce. Her husband, Nathan, has been carrying on an affair for over a year, and she’s finally had enough. There’s just one problem.
Nathan stole Evelyn’s research, and his new wife is Evelyn’s clone. Martine is a perfect physical copy, created to be the perfect wife.
“The fact that Martine existed at all was a direct expression of all my failures, all the ways Nathan had decided that our relationship wasn’t enough. All the ways he’d decided that I wasn’t enough.”
–Evelyn, The Echo Wife
This raises a new question, though. Who is the Echo Wife?
An Echo is an almost perfect reproduction of the original, but one can tell it’s the Echo. In The Echo Wife, who is the echo? The original wife who wouldn’t give her husband a child at the expense of her career? Or the clone, who has been programmed to only think what she is told to think? Who is The Echo Wife?
My Thoughts on The Echo Wife
I read the synopsis of The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey on Netgalley, and wanted this book SO bad! At the time, the publisher wasn’t granting requests, but they granted my wish for it a couple months after I requested. The only problem with that is that by the time I got around to reading this book, I had completely forgotten why I wanted to read it so bad!
Luckily for me, this book gets ya hooked from almost the first chapter!
I had the hardest time putting this book down! All I wanted was to find out what happened next to Martine and Evelyn!
Evelyn is logical and unemotional while Martine is docile and nurturing. They couldn’t be two more different people. Just the fact that Martine exists pushes against the boundaries of Evelyn’s research, and she’s constantly fighting against her personal beliefs about Martine’s very existence.
Nathan doesn’t have much dialogue in the book, even though his existence actually plays prominently in the story. The book is more about the results of his actions and decisions, than the actions themselves.
This book is excellently written. I connected to Evelyn, even without relating to her. I think this is deliberate, because Evelyn is the unemotional one. Even through her research, I could tell she had a hard time connecting with and trusting others. Even her choice of research shows she is a loner and recluse.
This book doesn’t seem to be about Evelyn’s divorce at all, even though it plays into it. It’s not even really about Nathan’s infidelity. It’s about two diametrically opposed human beings learning to accept one another, even when the world says it’s impossible.
One thing I thought was funny is the ARC I received was labled “Uncorrected,” but I didn’t find many writing issues at all. Evelyn is the narrator, so the story moves along in almost a scientific way. It’s almost cold and unemotional. I was able to see some growth as the story progressed, because of Evelyn’s proximity to Martine.
When Evelyn and Martine are interacting, it’s easy to see the frustration in Evelyn’s voice over what she sees as Martine’s failings. When Evelyn is trying to understand Martine, she is only doing so through the lens of her own research.
Sarah Gailey’s depiction of The Echo Wife is so well-written that one could almost believe cloning is a real, achievable science.
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey is not her first book, but she is now on my list of auto-buy authors. I don’t have many on that list, so the fact that she made it tells you how good I think this book is! I haven’t had a chance to find her on Twitter yet, but trust me when I say it’ll be one of the first things I do. I need to follow this awesome human! I’ve only read this one book of hers, but I will be adding the others to my Amazon Wishlist.
Sarah lives in LA, where she has written so many books! Check them out here.
I’m not sure what genre this book would fit into, because it seems to have elements from several different ones. I would probably consider it a thriller, because most of the story seems to fit that category. It is definitely an adult book, as it has bad language sprinkled through the book. The language isn’t so prevalent that I would ever say don’t read it, but there is some.
Honestly, I will say I thoroughly adored this book. This will go on my list of “Books to read again when I’m going through a reading slump.” Even knowing what’s going on doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story.
The Echo Wife has enough psychological aspects to it, that I think it could take a lifetime to discover all of them.
I hope you give this book a chance, because I don’t think you could be disappointed.
I urge you to pre-order this book (it comes out February 2021), so you can enjoy it as much as I have! Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge Publishing for a free copy of The Echo Wife, in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I wrote this review voluntarily.
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Until next time, bookworms!