Tony, Charis, and Roz are three unlikely friends that are only friends because of another woman. Zenia has touched each of their lives in a horrible way and brought them together as a team. She has stolen a man from each of them, and made them realize they don’t really need those men.

The story is written from three perspectives. It unfolds through Tony’s, Charis’, and Roz’s voices. Their past lives, how Zenia ruined them, and the present. We never truly find out exactly who Zenia is. She invents life stories that are different each time. She even has a fake funeral for herself to make the three friends think she is dead. But she comes back.

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood book cover

The Voice in The Robber Bride

The author does an amazing job of keeping the three voices authentically separate. The characters feel like three very different people. Tony is the quiet, intelligent one who has a whole world to herself in her head. Charis is the somewhat strange hippie who gets lost in a dream land that is too perfect. Roz is strong on the outside but needs more comfort than any of them. Each distinct voice is so believable that it’s not like you’re reading Charis’s account; it’s like you are Charis and you believe everything she is.

The Characters Margaret Atwood Creates

For the first one hundred pages Zenia didn’t feel like a villain at all. She was flat, just the instrument to show the depth of the other three. It seemed to go on just a little too long, and then suddenly when the book was getting old, the real story began. Zenia is finally showing her true colors, and the reader learn swhat it is she did to these women.

Each of the women has a background that feeds the current story. They all had traumatic childhoods and had their ways of dealing with that. Tony has a twin of herself that she reverts to in times of trouble. It’s the same with Charis, only it’s not a twin it’s an old self: Karen, who she was before she became Charis. Roz was part of a poor immigrant family, but came into money and bases her identity on that. Zenia has a background that matches each woman when needed. She is a master at reading people and giving them exactly what they need.

A Well Written Book by Margaret Atwood

Overall the book has strong undertones and a very obvious moral, but the story is rich with life and fresh ideas. There is a spectrum from love to hate felt for the characters. It is truly a thought-provoking novel.
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