The Two Mrs. Carlyles

Written by Suzanne Rindell
Review by Alice Cochran

In the wake of the infamous San Francisco earthquake, Violet, an orphan, and her best friends are trying to find a way for themselves in the world. This earthquake is not the first tragedy for the girls to encounter: prior to this, Violet’s family suffered a terrible demise, and the orphanage where she and her friends lived was burned to the ground. Perhaps the most shocking is the mysterious, graphic death of the dancehall owner who had been providing employment for the trio. What unsettles Violet is that each of these events is preceded by one of her “episodes” where she falls asleep and wakes up with tragedy surrounding her. Now separated from her best friends after the dancehall murder, Violet meets the influential Mr. Carlyle, with more mystery in his past than gold in California. Can Violet clear her name in the tragic events of her past as well as keep further tragedy from unfolding? Will the truth of Harry Carlyle’s past come to light? Could he be a murderer as well?

The Two Mrs. Carlyles is a sometimes-spooky adventure novel with lots of unpredictable twists and engaging characters. Although it has somewhat of a slow build to the actual meat of the story, this book is overwhelmingly gripping in its second half. My ultimate impression is not divided: if I could go back and experience reading this book again for the first time, I would.