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A creepy premise leads to mystery and intrigue

The Second Marriage - Jess Ryder

Released: 3rd November 2021

Psychological Thriller Fans rating - 64% ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Psychological thriller

Premise: After Lily marries widower, Edward, she is disturbed that his troubled son keeps insisting his mother isn’t dead – but is very much alive and well.

The good: A great premise full of mystery and intrigue

The bad: Lost some of its impetus towards the end

The ugly: Slightly convoluted ending

In summary: A creepy premise that keeps you turning the pages.

The Second Marriage by Jess Ryder hooks you in from the start with a brilliant mystery that has you wracking your brains trying to work out what is going on.

After a whirlwind romance, Lily marries widower Edward, who she met while looking after his troubled son, Noah.

He tells her his first wife, Clare, died after her food allergies were triggered after contact with sesame seeds.

But the real sucker punch of the opening hook comes when Noah reveals to Lily that his mother isn’t dead and that he’s been instructed by his father to lie about it.

The author does a great job of exploiting this hook while building the world around Lily, Edward, Noah and Edward’s two daughters, Georgia and Tara.

Plus there’s Marsha, Lily’s best friend who rather annoyingly takes on the ‘master detective role’ in finally solving the puzzle, when really we want to see Lily crack it herself.

Inevitably, the whole story concludes with a big showdown between all the members of the family and the truth is finally revealed.

No great twists at the end, past the mid-point twist, but a satisfying enough ending.

I found my attention wavering a little towards the end of the book after the mystery had been solved but overall a good read.


My best friend warned me that it was too soon to marry Edward, a widower with an adorable but troubled little boy. She said we were moving too fast. But all I could see was a kind, loving man, struggling with grief, who needed my help. Yet as storm clouds gather above our small wedding ceremony, my hopes and dreams fall apart. None of my husband’s family turn up to support us. Instead of a honeymoon, we have a quiet night in. My wedding bouquet is placed on his first wife’s grave. And then my new stepson tells me he’s sure his mother is still alive. What does Noah remember and why is his father trying to make him forget? Have I been completely wrong about my husband? What happened to the woman who came before me, and how far will he go to stop me finding out the truth?



AMAZON US (paperback)

AMAZON CA (paperback)

AMAZON AUS (paperback)

*Please note - while I'm not affiliated with the author, I do make a small commission on purchases made through these links.


AJ Wills is the bestselling author of multiple psychological thrillers. He was a journalist for more than twenty years and has been writing full-time since March 2021. He's married to fellow thriller writer, AJ McDine.

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