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The Widow

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Member Reviews

The Widow by Kaira Rouda was great suspenseful book.

I have enjoyed the author's previous works, and this book was no exception. 

This domestic suspense really keeps you guessing.
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Full review to come on Goodreads and Amazon.  Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for a review copy.
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The Widow is a glittery, cunning novel about D.C. politics and more by Kaira Rouda.  Jody Asher has stood by her husband's side throughout his 30 year tenure as a member of the House of Representatives. Moving in powerful and wealthy circles in D.C., Jody had bigger aspirations for her husband.  When Martin suddenly dies, amidst a scandal involving an intern, secrets begin to emerge that could bring everyone down. Jody is not one to back down and sets her sites higher than once imagined. This is a fast-paced, thrilling novel especially if you have any interest in politics.  Rouda provides much inside knowledge from her experience as the spouse of a Congressman-a very fascinating portrait. Pick this one up today!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.
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The Widow is an excellent read. The author makes you root for Jody, even when providing all the traits that make her unlikeable. The twist is well thought out and the ending is great. A real page-turner. Don’t pass The Widow by.
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The Widow
By Kaira Rouda
Review and Rating 3 ⭐️

The Widow by Kaira Rouda is a thriller about Jody Asher, a smart, ambitious and ruthless politician’s wife on Capitol Hill. She might even be considered a bit of sociopath, but then who on Capitol Hill isn’t? Money, power, and corruption run rampant in D.C. 
Jody’s life is perfect until her husband’s affair with a young office staffer is discovered by a reporter who threatens exposure. Meanwhile, her daughter is marrying a man from the opposite political party and his family is supporting an opponent to take over her husband’s seat. Ugliness ensues. Will Jody’s perfect life soon be over? 
When her husband Martin dies (sort of) unexpectedly, Jody sees her opportunity to flip the script, get all she wants out of D.C. and get revenge on some people who she feels wronged her along the way, including her best friend and political adviser Mimi. 
This book is good fun, but you can’t take it too seriously. Sure there are no likable characters, Jody seemingly commits one bad act (or crime) after the next and never faces retribution, and the portrayal of D.C. is dismal to say the least. But I have read Ms. Rouda’s books before, and while this one is not my favorite, it is still a fun, entertaining thriller in line with her other work. 
If you are looking for a serious political thriller, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a fun, page -turner, this might be the one for you! 3 solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you #Netgalley, Thomas & Mercer and Kaira Rouda for providing me with an eARC. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 


Book Rating Key
⭐️  Not Recommended
⭐️⭐️ Readable Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Good Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Excellent Book
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Near Perfect Book
***Note*** I seldom give ⭐️or ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ratings. If I feel a book is a  ⭐️sometimes I just prefer to not finish reading it and not rate it. As for 5 ⭐️books, I think of those as books I would want to take with me to a deserted island 🏝️, and this means I read a whole lot of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️star books. Happy Reading!
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3.5⭐️‘S
The Asher’s have been a part of the DC elite crowd for thirty years.  Martin as a member of congress and Jody on the political social scene.  Martin is feeling the stress of his daughters impending marriage.  Not only was it way over budget, but she was marrying the son of his nemesis in high school.  Not to mention that he was a republican!!  With the social event of the season fast upon them, Martin is being called out for scandalous dealings with China and a young member of his staff.  His DC days were numbered, but the scandal died along with his sudden death.  Jody, not ready to give up the DC scene, vowed to get revenge on those that were involved in taking Martin down. She was definitely not someone to mess with!  Interspersed with notes for spouses of new congressional members and notes for those new to congress,this book was fast paced, but the first half of the book held much more of a punch than the second.   Somewhere along the line it lost its grip.  A read full of scandal and not so likable characters, this was a fun story, but ended up just being good and not as great as I had hoped for in the beginning.  Thank you to Wheeter Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC of this book.
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Wow - this book has it all!  Love, betrayal, secrets and corruption to name a few.  Although I don't typically read the political genre - I enjoyed the story.  It gives you a taste of what life "could" be like when you or a spouse is deep in a political career. Strong characters - some you will love and some you won't!
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I really enjoyed it. Keira Ronda did not disappoint with this thriller. This is a must read for fans of the house of cards and west wing.
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Jody has political aspirations and big shoes to fill after her senator husband passed away unexpectedly at their daughter’s wedding.
As Jody slowly takes over her husband’s role as senator she also uncovers secrets from his past and has to rectify the shaky standing her husband has left for her.
But what no one else knows is Jody has secrets of her own that motivate her more than anything her deceased husband could have done.
4 stars because Mimi ends up becoming an integral part to the story and we didn’t get any scenes/story with Mimi + Martin which I would’ve enjoyed
Freud would have a field day with that twist at the end
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I have been a huge fan of Kaira Rouda for years, from her very first book. She never disappoints me with her twists and turns as the story unfolds. Her lead characters are always strong females and I am here for it!
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3.5*
Jody has big political aspirations! Probably more so than her long standing congressional husband, Martin Asher.

But Jody has her hands full keeping the home fires burning as well. And that’s not an easy task. Beginning with her daughters’ wedding this weekend, destined to be the biggest social event in Washington. And then there is her husband being spotted with a younger staff member. And let’s not forget the fresh-faced politician who wants Martin’s seat!

All this is about to come to a head when Martin suddenly dies, leaving Jody a very powerful widow. If she can take full advantage of the situation…this just may play out perfectly in her favor!

As in all Kaira Rouda books, the female lead is always sharp, powerful with maybe just a hint of being a sociopath. And I love each one of them!🤣. Not sure what that says about me... Anyhoo…

While I loved Jody’s character and her ability to manipulate everyone to her own advantage, I had a bit of trouble warming up to this book. Especially in comparison to her previous works.

Personally, I think it was because it was centered around politics, which I truly loathe. But if you can handle the political backstabbing and antics you may come away loving this latest!

A buddy read with Susanne!

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer
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Huge amount of thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy of this book! 
Jody is a politician’s wife. She knows how to play the game and is committed to playing the long game. She is ambitious, charming, smart, and deceptively ruthless. 
When she finds out her husband is having an affair, she worries about their image and how it will ruin everything they’ve worked for. Unfortunately her husband dies unexpectedly and it’s a blessing in disguise for Jody. Now she can spin the story to her liking and come out on top and hang onto the life she’s sacrificed for. As long as her own secrets stay buried. 
Kaira Rouda once again does not disappoint!
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I usually love this author but…. This book just didn’t get it for me. I didn’t like all the political things. The affair was ok but then the wife. I did not like her. This book was a bit boring to me and that is too bad. I love this author and will continue to read her books and leave honest reviews but this one was not for me. 

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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The Widow opens with the first of “Mrs. Asher’s Little Tips for New Congressional Spouses,” which appear between chapters. Written in Jody Asher’s voice, the blurbs offer insider information about how to navigate Washington, D.C. society events, Congressional protocols, and expectations. They are designed to help wives of newly elected officials avoid embarrassment and make life in the city more enjoyable. Jody instructs wives about daily life in Washington, D.C., explaining, for instance, that their husbands’ time “will be scheduled down to the minute. I’m not kidding.” And identifies the staff members with whom the wife must become acquainted in order to make their family life run smoothly. For instance, the Chief of Staff can “make your life miserable if he wants.” 

Author Kaira Rouda's husband, Harley Rouda, served in the United States House of Representatives, representing California’s 48th District, from 2019 to 2021. She says that when her husband was elected, they were scrambling to secure housing, attending orientation sessions, and feeling “completely overwhelmed.” But they were assisted by caring, experienced spouses and Rouda included the tips as an homage to those helpful women. In addition to being highly entertaining, the gossipy, over-the-top tone of those snippets offers insight into the psyche and agenda of Rouda’s main character, a woman who delights at and is very accustomed to being in charge, with her place in society and at her husband’s side secure, never threatened -- a symbol of the power she wields. 

In Part Two, Rouda introduces excerpts from “A Guide for New Members of Congress” from Mimi Smith, who has been a friend to both Jody and her husband, Martin Asher, for more than twenty years. They all met in law school, and she is, by Jody’s admission, “a political animal, more connected than even we are,” who runs a highly respected think tank with her husband, Spencer. Mimi is a strategist and advisor who has guided the Ashers throughout Martin’s career. She is glamorous, savvy, and formidable. Her advice is offered in a straight-forward, unflinching, and experienced manner. Of course, as the story proceeds, Rouda reveals that Mimi has her own shocking agenda. And that Jody admires, respects, and fears Mimi because of her ability to make or break careers. But she does not trust her.

As the story begins, Martin is, at fifty-five, still handsome and charismatic. He serves as Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, serving his sixteenth term. Jody is planning the lavish and costly upcoming wedding of their daughter, Charlotte. At the outset, Jody acknowledges, through her first-person narrative, that she is intent on controlling Martin and will use unscrupulous means to do so. Martin has not been feeling well, and Charlotte is concerned about him. Things are about to get much worse for Martin, who has been scrambling to secure funds to pay for the wedding, and learns that a reporter is chasing a story about his ties to lobbying firms. Max Brown, an investigative reporter with the Washington Times, claims he has evidence that Martin is taking payoffs . . . and plans to run the story. In his first-person narrative, Martin assures his benefactor that he will pay all the money back. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s future father-in-law plans to back Martin’s opponent when Martin runs for re-election. And Martin’s indiscretion with a young, beautiful intern in his office who is just a few years older than Charlotte – and was placed in his office by Mimi -- is about to have serious repercussions, especially when he makes matters worse by telling her that he will provide her with an excellent recommendation, but she needs to find another position. Martin frets that he has secured his own political demise and knows that, if he has, Jody will extract revenge. Jody is determined to find a way to save his career, reputation . . . and her lifestyle.

Martin and Jody met in law school and married because their goals aligned. Jody had a dark past about which Martin was not fully aware until after he married her, and he ponders whether he would have married her anyway. He also oversold himself to her. “We both were posers, not at all what we appeared. That was our superpower. Together we wanted to be more than what we’d come from. We wanted power and prestige.” As Jody notes, “What’s love got to do with anything inside the beltway?” But now everything they have worked to accomplish is in jeopardy. Mimi wisely warns that if the intern story breaks, Martin could actually lose the upcoming election. "Sex scandals eclipse all others in this town.” 

And then Martin dies suddenly, and his death opens an avenue for Jody to come into power in her own right. She is ready to seize the opportunity. At first, Jody does not care about Martin’s seat, but a bit of googling reveals the Widow’s Mandate. She makes up her mind that she is not going to resume practicing law to support herself. Rather, her thirty years as “an important public servant” should be rewarded. “The fact is: whoever is serving, their spouse is, too, without most of the perks or thanks,” Rouda notes. JOdy declares, “There is nothing else I want to do. No other job interests me. I want this one. And I will get it, earn it. The people will love me, like they loved Martin,” she tells herself. And she will be able to figure out Martin's tangled financial dealings, and discover who was actively working to derail his career. Mimi agrees to help her, but Jody must first convince the party leaders who have already selected a young woman to run for Martin’s seat. The machinations, manipulations, double-crossing, and deal-making begin in earnest, and make for a titillating story.

The Widow succeeds in part because Rouda has crafted a convincing story about the cutthroat ways that business is conducted in the nation’s capital. She admits that she drew upon her personal experiences to believably depict “the settings, the traditions, the backstabbing.” She injects surprising plot twists and revelations that keep the story moving at a steady pace, heightening reader interest in seeing just how far beyond ethical norms Jody will go and how things will play out for her. 

But the real strength of The Widow is Rouda’s characters, especially Jody. She is not simply narcissistic and power-hungry. She is self-aware, and that aspect of her personality, revealed in a narrative that crackles with honesty from a woman who knows exactly who and what she is, elevates the story. Jody admits that she is unable to experience the full range of human emotions and lacks empathy for others, including her own daughter. Charlotte understands her mother, accepts her, and does not make excuses for her. She shares with Mimi that Jody has “often apologized to her for her inability to show emotion and feel true love.” Thus, Jody is fascinatingly despicable and, in key moments, surprisingly sympathetic. After all, the ability to emote is deeply satisfying and a person who lacks the capacity to feel must lead a miserable, unfulfilling life. Her story is riveting as she strives to secure a future for herself that she deems suitable and befitting what she has already accomplished with Martin. She is extremely clever, and surprisingly good at reading other people’s emotions and ferreting out their agendas, even though she utterly lacks compassion for them and is ruthlessly conniving. But her opponents are formidable. Can she be skillfull outwitted and played? 

The Widow is a captivating tale of intrigue, corruption, and the corrosive nature of ambition and unbridled power, at the center of which is a woman who is mesmerizingly cold and calculating. Rouda says she would enjoy writing another book set in Washington, D.C. and after devouring The Widow, readers will be hoping she does.
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I thought I wanted to read this book. There were a lot of 5-star reviews, & I generally like political thrillers. This was not one of those, nor was it a thrilling book to read.

In fact, I had to slog through this unsatisfying book from the very beginning. Many times, I wanted to DNF it, but I kept hoping it would get better. It didn't.  I don't understand the 5 star reviews. It doesn't deserve them.

***SPOILERS*** 

I also wanted to see the "heroine" of the book (there really aren't any heroines in here) get her comeuppance. That didn't happen either, much to my disgust. 

This book was filled with despicable, vapid characters.  I couldn't cheer for any of them, except for the daughter, maybe. The Widow is a confimed sociopath, She lacks empathy, normal emotions & thoughts.  She's the central character, & despite all her machinations & the fact that everyone hates her, she "wins" in the end. 

I wanted to throw the book across the room when I finished it, but because it's on my phone, I just deleted it & wrote this review. 

I wish I could rate this 0 stars.  I do NOT recommend this awful book.

I just reviewed The Widow by Kaira Rouda. #TheWidow #NetGalley
NetGalley.com. I thank Netgalley for giving me an ARC of this book so I could give my unbiased opinion here.
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☆☆☆☆.5
Kaira Rouda’s juicy political thriller, The Widow, is a must-read! She delves into the dark side of politics, bringing out just a hint of compassion in readers for this group of dirtbags. I normally dislike political novels but her excellent writing and diabolical characters make this a riveting read that is hard to put down! 

Behind the smiles, lies, and glitz...into the darkness of scandals and indiscretions. There are no friends on the Hill. Favors are not free. Everyone has a price. Someone is always watching. Trying to expose your secrets and take you down. No one is who you think they are. And NO ONE can be trusted!
 
Martin and Jody Asher are a golden couple in politics. Martin is charismatic and everyone loves him. Jody is the supportive spouse that keeps things running perfectly behind the scenes.

But Jody isn’t someone you want as a friend or enemy! She’s power-hungry, arrogant, and devious. A character that you love to hate. I was glued to the pages as I waited for someone to knock her off the invisible pedestal she thought she was on! I was kept in suspense as she came close, only to come out smelling like a rose. Would it ever happen?

I pictured Martin as JFK but I couldn’t imagine Jody as Jackie. She was too backstabbing and narcissistic. I could never quite visualize any one person as Jody. 

Ms. Rouda is one of my top authors and I pounce on her books as soon as I see them…without reading the description. Yes! She’s that good.

Sincere thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Kaira Rouda for providing this ARC through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

#TheWidow #KairaRouda #netgalley #thomasandmercer #honestreview #politicalthriller #bookaddict #thrilleraddict #thrillersofinstagram #bookstagrammer #lovebooks #bookreviewersofinstagram #lovetoreadbooks #cantstopreading #fortheloveofbooks #bookrecommendations #juliereadzintherockies #justfinishedreading #coloradoreader #bookreels #igbookreels #booksbooksandmorebooks #crimeandcocktailsbookcrew #mysteryandthrills
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of The Widow by Kaira Rouda.

Uuuuuugh, not a faaaaaaaan.  Newsflash, everyone in this cutthroat political story are gross and corrupt and sociopaths.  Okay, maybe not all of them, but literally, that's it, that's the story.  I'm so bored.

If I could write this review in one word, it would be vapid.  The characters are somehow unlikable and bland at the same time.  Affairs, sketchy back door dealings, privilege, wealth, and facades.  It's exactly what you would expect from a story like this, and I've read it.
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This was my first Kaira Rouda book and I loved her writing style. I didn't enjoy this book as much because of the politics aspect, but the plot was definitely intriguing enough to keep me reading. I loved the guides interspersed between the chapters. I hope to read another book by the author soon
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So I have to say that I think Jody might be one of my favourite villains of the year. She is so manipulative & scheming but it works so well with the story. I’m glad the American politics is mostly in the background as I don’t find that interesting, I really enjoyed the ending when Jody dropped her bomb on Mimi and then Mimi’s retaliation which brought down some high powered politicians in the story. All in all a good story which I enjoyed.

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the chance to read this book.
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I will start off by saying I have enjoyed Kaira Rouda other books, This one Im not sure if it was the time or what I did not enjoy. It was slow and I just struggled with it.
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