Eileen Goudge’s “The Replacement Wife”

Ladies? If you like reading about family drama and strong women, you may like Eileen Goudge’s The Replacement Wife.

Camille is a professional matchmaker. Married for twenty years to a “tall, dark, handsome” doctor, who loves her passionately and loyally, she truly believes that every person has a chance to find their other half. And she’s very good at her job of finding a perfect match for her customers of both genders.

But when the cancer that she beat a year ago returns and becomes terminal, she decides to use her expertise in finding a perfect replacement of herself—a mother for her two children and wife for her husband.

Wow! Sounds unbelievably altruistic and downright unrealistic, right? But there you have it. That’s Camille’s plan.  Her decision is based on her own ill-fated experience of having lost her mother to cancer at fourteen (the age of her daughter now) when she had to practically raise her younger sister alone, due to their father’s frequent absences. So how can she doom her own children to the same ordeal? She can’t! She’s a planner, and she’s a wise planner.

As it turns out, even a very wise, unselfish woman, like Camille, can make an unwise choice.

Needless to say, the adage “Be careful what you wish for” is a perfect premise to this story.

Some plot lines are so predictable that the novel may be called a “story of ribbons and bows, where everything is wrapped and tied up neatly.” Still, you keep reading, trying to see if your guesses are correct.

Eileen Goudge is a talented writer whose prose is well-crafted. What else is valuable about this particular book (and quite rare) is that the author pays almost equal attention to the secondary characters. They’re just as fully developed, with richly described lives, as the protagonists. And you really enjoy their stories.

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2 thoughts on “Eileen Goudge’s “The Replacement Wife”

  1. I quite agree with your thoughts on this novel. I read about a quarter of it and then gave up thinking it was predictable. While Gouge’s writing is good, it didn’t move me in any way (which is surprising and unfortunate, considering she writes about a woman dying of cancer) or compel me to continue reading the book until the end.

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