The Echo Wife
By Sarah Gailey
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.
Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty. (Goodreads)
The Echo Wife is the first novel by author Sarah Gailey that I have read. And I must say – I am very glad that I have had this opportunity to read her writing. I found The Echo Wife an engaging, interesting and kind of bone chilling read that I fully enjoy. A mixture of science fiction and futuristic possibilities that kept my vivid imagination in overdrive.
Evelyn Caldwell is a scientific cloning researcher. She is also a married woman to Nathan. Nathan wants a wife that will always be pleasant, not show him up professionally (he is also in the same field – though not as successful) and wants children. As we get to know Evelyn we realize that while she has MANY of the other qualities of a wife that Nathan wants, the three noted above were missing. So what does Nathan do? He borrows/steals Evelyn’s research (though it is not perfected by any means) and creates his own perfect wife. Really not very ethical! At this point – I lost all respect for Nathan.
From the get go – Evelyn was not a warm and fuzzy type character. She is hard to like. Luckily, even if some of her actions are questionable, I began to sympathize and even like her as the story went on. Definitely a nurture versus nature storyline relating to Evelyn and her upbringing. I found Evelyn’s upbringing sad…I wonder how things would have been different had she had a more nurturing mother?
“After my father was gone, my mother didn’t have to bear his weight anymore, and she could have taken mine. But she didn’t…. I learned to breathe in a vacuum, to walk underwater, to be all alone in the world. Because of the solitude she gave me, I learned never to lean on anyone too hard, never to lean on anyone at all. Not even my husband.”
The plot twists (which frankly, I do not want to give away as I feel each reader should discover and enjoy on their own) were unquestionably thought-provoking and at times surprising. The Echo Wife certainly opened my eyes to futuristic possibilities. Would our values allow us to create clone spouses? Would technology create clones that can self learn? All very interesting questions. Time will tell. In the meantime – one can read this book and immerse themselves in fiction at its finest. Additionally, I was surprised (or was I really?) the lengths people would go to in order to have the perfect wife or cover up crimes using technological advancements.
Martine – the clone in the story surprised me. At what point was her behaviour a result of her programming or was there some self learning beyond the programming going on?
I certainly had my eyes opened about neurocognitive programming. VERY intriguing topic, which I will delve into as I certainly would like to know what was real and what was fiction.
I was mesmerized by The Echo Wife. If a reader is looking for a book which stretches the imagination into the unknown and possibilities of what cloning could be like in the future (or are we there now?), then this book is for you. I look forward to seeking out more such titles penned by Sarah Gailey.