Don't let the title throw you. In “Wife 22” (Random House, $26, on sale Tuesday), by Melanie Gideon, Alice Buckle has only been married once. But her 20-year marriage is slowly burning out, and she's caught in a mundane, ho-hum life.
A drama teacher, spouse to William and mother to Zoe and Peter, she often Googles for solutions and participates in Facebook chatter.
One day she opens her spam folder and finds a questionnaire that turns her life around. It is an anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century.” Intrigued, she signs up for the study and is assigned a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).
Then the email questions began to appear. Some are deep and intimate, forcing her to take a look at herself and her marriage. The researcher's thoughtful questions and responses become more and more personal as she begins to unearth memories, and the correspondence takes an unexpected turn.
This is basically a novel about loss and self discovery. It's a nice comfortable read with an unusual twist.
— Peggy Gandy