Book Review: The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Today’s Brew of Choice: black cold brew — my goodness am I tired

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Title: The Echo Wife
Author: Sarah Gailey
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: February 16, 2021
Genre: Science Fiction, thriller, mystery

A binge worthy sci-fi thriller that cleverly tackles the ethical questions of clones and trauma

At a glance: Evelyn’s life and everything she knows begins to spiral out of control when she discovers that her husband, Nathan, has used Evelyn’s own award-winning research to clone her and create a more docile and submissive wife.

  • 📖 Couldn’t Put It Down
  • ⏱️ Fast Paced
  • 🛸 Sci-Fi/Fantasy
  • 🎢 Thriller

Read this if… you want a quick thriller, if you are interested in the concept of clones, if you love character-driven stories, or if you love first-person monologues to really get to know the main character.

Diversity Representation: NB Author

Content Warnings: death of a spouse, death of a parent, murder, blood, medical stuff, adultery, domestic violence, confinement, body horror

Book Review

Creepy, smart, cyclical, intense, eerie, distant, balanced, fast-paced

The Echo Wife has been on my list for a while, ever since Sarah read and reviewed it (and made this incredible flatlay for it that I’ve included below). I’ve been meaning to read Gailey’s work because I’ve been hearing people sing praises for their work for quite some time. I have to say this did not disappoint. This book is a perfectly quick, summer, creepy book. It goes by quickly, but it has a lot of depth at the same time.

Quick Summary: Evelyn Caldwell is an award-winning scientist, known for her perfection of human cloning. In such a sensitive profession, she and everyone she works with abides by a wildly strict code of ethics in regards to her clones. That is until Evelyn finds out that her husband Nathan has used her own technology to clone her into a more submissive and docile wife.

The most outstanding part of The Echo Wife was how much of an internal monologue we get from Evelyn. The book is told from her perspective, and so we are really able to see her thought process. It’s so interesting to see her grapple with the ethical barriers about her profession that she has put up to shield herself from the work she is doing. It’s so interesting to see how those barriers are paralleled in her real life. But the way that Evelyn thinks does so much for the story because we see all of the internal conflicts with her morals and her traumas. Sarah Gailey walks on such a tightrope here to balance moral conflict and past traumas and somehow makes them parallel so well, it’s truly astounding.

We, as readers, are asked to suspend some of our beliefs in order to understand what is happening in the book. Is this world the same as ours? Is it in the near future? How have we been able to clone people perfectly with what appears like no other technological advances? But it doesn’t matter. That isn’t the point. The story uses a science fiction element to highlight trauma and the cyclical nature of abuse. It speculates on how it happens, and by using the first-person narrative, it shows the chain of thought that could get someone there. It is powerful and hard to read, but it is well done.

Summing it all up

The Echo Wife is a quick and creepy ride of a book. It balances current moral dilemmas with past trauma and protective ethics. This book uses a science fiction element to highlight real-life trauma and abuse to create one wonderful story.

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Book Aesthetic

I didn’t make an aesthetic board for this book, but I really wanted to share Sarah’s flatlay here. I’m literally obsessed with it. It looks so cool and is so perfect for this book, I need everyone to enjoy it as well. Sarah blogs at Girl on Books, be sure to check out her blog!!!

Book Club Questions:
The Echo Wife

  • Once finished, discuss the cyclical nature of the plot. What pieces came full circle for Evelyn? How does her relationship with Martine parallel her relationship with her parents?
  • What do you feel the novel was trying to say about the lasting effects (imprints) that people have on each other?
  • How did the decision to use clones to discuss trauma and the imprints people have on each other work for this story? Was it the best option? Did it enhance the message & story?
  • How do you feel about suspending certain beliefs in order to enjoy science fiction affect your enjoyment of reading sci-fi? What beliefs did you need to suspend in order to fully appreciate this novel?

About the Author

used from Sarah Gailey’s press kit ©Allan Amato 2019

Hugo Award Winner and Bestselling author Sarah Gailey is an internationally published writer of fiction and nonfiction. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and the Boston Globe. Their short fiction credits include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 Hugo and Nebula award finalist. Their bestselling adult novel debut, Magic For Liars, was published in 2019. Their most recent novel, The Echo Wife, is available now. You can find links to their work at and on social media at @gaileyfrey.

Let’s chat!

Have you read any other books about clones?
What is your favorite sci-fi thriller book?
Have you read any of Sarah Gailey’s other books?

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Want More Diverse Book Recommendations?

Check out the rest of my blog! I’m dedicated to sharing books with you that include diversity, so feel comfortable that any books on Bookish Brews will include some diversity.

If you liked this review or thought you might like this book, check out some of my other reviews for books with similar science fiction / fantasy thrillers:

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Omg this is the perfect summer thriller I’ve been looking for!!!

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