The English Wife
By: Lauren Willig
One reason I picked this up now is because it just screamed winter read (or fall) so I wanted to read it while the mood felt right. Turns out I was right about that. Though I was oh, so wrong about the mystery.
Either way, it was a win.
Bay and Annabelle seem like the perfect rich happy couple. What more could you want? Until one night Bay is found dead and Annabelle has gone missing- thought the murderess- though Bay’s sister is sure she saw her body in the River. What happened to Annabelle? Who killed Bay?
How many secrets can people keep before they just explode?
The novel is told in present day the story of Janie, Bay’s sister, completely under the thumb of their bitchy mother. She steps out in order to team up with one of the many journalists working on her brother’s case. The other side of the story is flashbacks to Annabelle and Bay from the first time they meet until the night of the murder.
While the flashbacks span years and seasons the present day is solely in Winter and actually works very well. Curl up with a blanket and hide from the latest storm. There’s a bit of heat even from Burke and Janie and some pretty good sass from Janie’s cousin Anne.
The mystery is a good one as well. I really thought I had called it near the beginning turns out I was way wrong. But it all worked. I could totally buy it happening. Janie and Annabelle are both two really good female characters. Women in harsh worlds just trying to survive. They have a lot in common despite the fact they don’t seem to and sadly, they never get to know each other well. But I did appreciate both their spirited natures. It certainly made for a good read.
(Probably because my head’s there right now I kept putting The Alienist cast in those roles. Dakota Fanning as Janie. Daniel Bruhl for Bay and Luke Evans as Burke. Thought maybe that’s just because I really like Luke Evans.)
On the downside the book does take a little while to really get going. For me I think Annabelle and Bay’s courtship could have been quicker. It really picks up speed once they’re actually married and I must admit I got so impatient near the end I skipped ahead to peak at who did it.
Recommend: Yes. It’s a nice mystery to end the winter season with- the only note of caution besides the murder would be a trigger warning for rape. Though it’s quick and mostly described in snatches.