Review: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Title: The Divorce Papers

Author: Susan Reiger

Published: Crown Publishing March 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from March 13 to 14, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/Edelwiess}

My Thoughts:

Utilising emails, letters, notes, memo’s and reports, the story of Divorce Papers nominally documents the legal dissolution of the eighteen year marriage between wealthy East Coast couple Daniel and Mia Durkheim by Mia’s lawyer, Sophie Diehl, but it is also a portrait of marriage breakdown, of family bonds and professional crisis.

Mia Durkheim (nee Meiklejohn) is stunned by her husband’s sudden demand for a divorce but by the time she seeks legal representation, Mia’s distress has given way to anger at her soon to be ex-husband’s behaviour. While she is most concerned with protecting their eleven year old daughter, Jane, Mia refuses to submit to the bullying tactics adopted by both him and his cut throat lawyer and is determined to ensure she gets what she is owed.

Sophie is the young criminal lawyer in a small but prestigious legal firm roped into representing Mia in the divorce despite her lack of experience, or even interest. As Sophie does her best to meet the needs of her client, with guidance from her boss and mentor, David Greaves, her emails to her best friend reveals not only her professional insecurities but also the personal issues provoked by the case.

It was the epistolary format of this novel that appealed to me but I recognise it won’t work for everyone. I admit to skimming over some of the contractual legalese and repetitive financial statements but overall I liked the unique format and found myself enjoying the mix of professional and personal correspondence. There are some flashes of wit, a few sharply observed scenes and surprises hidden amongst even the seemingly driest of documents though it was Mia’s notes that most often made me smile.

Though not without its flaws, I thought The Divorce Papers was an engaging read, approaching familiar themes in an original way. The epistolary format tends to divide readers, but if it’s a style you like then I recommend Reiger’s debut.

The Divorce Papers is available to purchase from

Random House I AmazonUS I BookDepository

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelrainsnow
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 02:33:18

    I have been wanting to read this one…and the epistolary format sometimes works for me, although that fact does give me pause. Thanks for sharing.



  2. cleopatralovesbooks
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 19:14:28

    I’d been wondering if I wanted to read this book as I enjoy epistolary novels and having read your review I’m putting it on the TBR. Thank you!



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  4. stacybuckeye
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 12:17:22

    I’ve been curious about this one and that was before I knew that it was epistolary style. I think I’d like it even more now 🙂



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