The Young Wives Club Review
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Young love isn’t always easy. After all, in our teens and early twenties, we’re still trying to figure out our own lives—so adding another person to the mix can add drama right along with the romance. And four young women struggle to balance their lives and loves in author Julie Pennell’s The Young Wives Club.

The story travels to the small town of Toulouse, Louisiana, where people rarely wait to get settled into their lives before settling down. Four [very] young women believe they’ve all found The One, but each one faces challenges. Claire is starting a family with popular but increasingly distant preacher Gavin. Laura dropped out of school to follow husband Brian’s pro football dreams—dreams that may not come true. Gabby has found the perfect guy—one who doesn’t know the real her. And Madison hopes her relationship with a lonely—and rich—older man will help her win the man she loves.

The Young Wives Club weaves these four stories together to offer readers a look at the challenges of young love. These four characters deal with the same kind of issues that many of us have faced at some point in our lives. They’ve worked and sacrificed and, in some cases, made bad choices in the name of love—and they all find themselves dealing with some of the consequences at the same time.

For the most part, though, it’s all a little too easy, the outcomes all too obvious for everyone but the characters themselves. It won’t take long for readers to know how all of the stories will turn out—yet the four main characters will continue to flounder and fumble. They pine for the man who’s clearly no good. They blame themselves for things that aren’t their fault. And they put in 190% of the work and commitment to make up for the man who barely gives 10%. And while some of that is understandable—after all we’ve all dealt with our share of insecurities in relationships—the four interwoven stories about lies and anxiety and enabling can be frustrating.

At times, the stories seem to melt together—and you might struggle to remember which character goes with which story. And while each character has her ups and downs, the only one who stays generally likable is Laura. She may be the youngest, but she’s also the quickest to stand up for herself. And though the other characters all have their moment of clarity at some point in the novel, Laura’s early awakening will help readers wade through the other marital messes.

The Young Wives Club isn’t exactly a light, fluffy novel. It’s challenging—and the characters are often frustrating. If you’re looking for romance and comedy, you’ll be disappointed—but you may learn some lessons about the give and take of relationships along the way.

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