Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress: A NovelThe Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress. Finished 2-19-14, rating 4.75/5, historical fiction, 308 pages, pub. 2014

A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930-Justice Joseph Crater’s infamous disappearance-as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best.

They say behind every great man, there’s a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge’s wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge’s bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband’s recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city’s most notorious gangster, Owney “The Killer” Madden.

from Goodreads

Since joining the women at She Reads last September I have received a monthly treat in my mailbox – a book that I may not have chosen, but once read, I loved.  This was no exception. I definitely would not have picked this up on my own (gangsters, prohibition and showgirls are not my thing really), but once I started I was immediately drawn into their world.  I could feel the smoky rooms, smell the liquor and hear the jazz of the early 1930’s.  The fact that this was based on a true story, the disappearance of a New York Supreme Court judge, that has never been solved added extra interest.  Now that I’ve read Lawhon’s take on it I am more curious about what really happened and I’m in good company since this is a mystery that tantalized the public for a good 50 years.

Told from the perspective of the three women in Crater’s life, his perfect wife, his flashy mistress and his hard-working maid, this book keeps you on your toes as you jump from one woman to another.  There were also changes in the time frame thrown in that kept me off-balance but in a good way as it kept momentum moving forward.  I loved the women, although Stella did perplex me at times, and was rooting for them all to have their happy ending.  There was no shortage of very bad things happening to people in the story, so a happy ending was not in the cards for everyone.

This book really did have a little bit of everything. There were really bad bad guys, politicians without morals, the glitz of New York City, sexy showgirls, hardworking people trying to better themselves, lies, heartbreak, and, of course, murder.  I loved it.

If you want to see the real pictures of the major players and find out why Lawthon was intrigued, read here.  Also, there is an awesome giveaway for book clubs with very cool shot glasses here.

I received this book from She Reads.  Go on over and see what other bloggers think about this one.

February 20, 2014 - Posted by | 5 Star Books |


  1. I’m fascinated with gangsters and showgirls so this sounds good to me. I like that it’s based on a true story as well.

    Comment by BermudaOnion | February 20, 2014 | Reply

  2. Yea for reading a book and loving it when you wouldn’t have picked it up on your own! 🙂

    Comment by Pamela D | February 20, 2014 | Reply

  3. This sounds amazing… just added it to my wish list. Thanks!

    Comment by lakesidemusing | February 20, 2014 | Reply

  4. I am looking forward to this book.

    Comment by Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) | February 20, 2014 | Reply

  5. Hi Stacy,

    Is joining She Reads by invitation or do you sign up yourself. Do you have to commit to review the book for the month?

    Hope things are going well.


    Comment by Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) | February 20, 2014 | Reply

  6. I’ll take some gangsters and show girls! The She Reads team does such a great job of picking amazing books. Before I bowed out of that group, I loved each and every book.

    Comment by sandynawrot | February 21, 2014 | Reply

  7. Yay for nice surprises! This does sound like an exciting read. The prohibition time period is interesting to me and I’m glad to hear this book does not disappoint!

    Comment by Lucy | February 22, 2014 | Reply

  8. I like this time period. Sounds good to me!

    Comment by Leslie | February 22, 2014 | Reply

  9. I have felt the same about She Reads – most of the books are ones I wouldn’t pick up on my own, but I end up really enjoying them. I loved this one and I’m glad to hear you did too. 🙂

    Comment by Heather | February 22, 2014 | Reply

  10. Glad this one was good! Hanging out for it to be released Down Under!

    Comment by samstillreading | February 23, 2014 | Reply

  11. I enjoyed reading your review. I enjoyed this book as we’ll and love the She Reads selections.

    Comment by Pat @ Posting For Now | February 23, 2014 | Reply

  12. I just finished reading this book and really liked it. Your review is spot-on. It’s not one I would have chosen either, but I loved every page. Thanks!

    Comment by Gage's grandma | February 25, 2014 | Reply

  13. I think I would love this one! I love the cover.

    Comment by Literary Feline | February 25, 2014 | Reply

  14. I keep seeing this one, I have added it to my TBR, hopefully I am able to get to it relatively soon (Ha, yeah right!)

    Comment by Tara | March 1, 2014 | Reply

  15. Well you said everything I would have said in the beginning (boo to gangsters, prohibition and showgirls), so I’m thinking the ending could turn out the same for me if I gave it a shot! What do you think?!?

    Comment by Thoughts of Joy | March 8, 2014 | Reply

  16. […] The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress  […]

    Pingback by 2014 Book Favorites and Stats « Stacy's Books | December 31, 2014 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: