I really enjoyed this one

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*Thank you to Scout Press and BookishFirst for this ARC of The Wives* in exchange for an honest review*
The Wives really surprised me in a good way I loved it. It ended up being one of my favorite reads thus far this year. The story centers around a core group of army wives who are posted to the army base Fort Benning in Columbus Georgia where their husbands are stationed. This is an autobiography but it certainly doesn’t read like one because the story is so engaging.

Simone never saw herself as an army wife but when her long term boyfriend turned husband Andrew he wanted to enlist in the army. She put her reservations aside and followed him. They ended up at Fort Benning all the way in Columbus Georgia. That is a long way from their life in New York. Simone even had to learn to drive which I found very endearing. What I appreciated most about this story the raw honesty Simone shared about how hard army life actually is.

It is not a walk in the park everyone always thinks about those who are enlisted but the wives themselves pay an equally heavy burden. They are their husbands support but for much of their time at the base or any other that they are transferred to they do life on their own. A running theme that I picked up on is the constant number of pregnancies. The wives get knocked up then they do the rest- the pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing themselves. For some of the wives if they are lucky their husbands can attend the birth.

Then as quickly as they return for the event they are sent back to wherever they are stationed during their current deployment. I really liked getting a glimpse behind the curtain of what military life is actually like for the deployed spouse and their partner. To be completely honest reading about Simone and Andrew’s relationship the two words that came to mind are distant and cordial. I sensed that they loved each other but it seemed like a very awkward relationship as well. They married then he was off on his first deployment and Simone was on her own.

I couldn’t imagine having to go through that. To top it all off she lived in a new state on a base where she didn’t know anyone. Talk about isolating I enjoyed reading about her growing friendship with the other wives Rachel, Hailey, Jo etc. Rachel especially because was the first wife she met. Although their relationship did change a lot over the course of the story. They started off very friendly then as the years progressed Rachel’s personality seemed to change.

She became more frosty almost but maybe it is because Simone moved into her house one day and stayed months on end. When Andrew left on one of his deployments. I mean who the heck decides to do something like that? Rude much? One aspect of the story I did not care for is some of the stereotypical things about military bros. It turns out they are completely true. Now don’t get me wrong I have the upmost respect for those who serve. However, some of the behavior is still inexcusable in my mind.

Everyone knows the brutality of war obviously those who serve know that the best. What is a problem is when these guys take it out on their wives and families. That is not ok I imagine the PTSD in the military is off the charts-along with the sexism, stuff they “watch” (absolutely disgusting). I felt so sorry for Hailey having to give up her dream of teaching for many years because her husband knocked her up and shipped off. She like many of the other wives had to do life on her own.

I didn’t care for those parts of the book it was so wrong on so many levels. Anyone who wants to read about what life is actually about from the people that know it first hand should pick up a copy of this book.