Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Book Review: The English Wife

Author: Lauren Willig
Title: The English Wife
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Publish Date: Jan 9, 2018
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

Review: I have been a fan of Lauren Willig for long time. I love the Pink Carnation series. So when I saw The English Wife at my library I did the happy dance.

This book didn't quite meet my expectations and its not because of the writing, Lauren really does a fabulous job of storytelling. Its more the way the story was told. We know going in that Bay is the victim and his wife has vanished.

Its told in alternating perspectives, from Bay's sister Janie and then from Georgie's point of view, which is set a few years in the past. Its the story from the past that brings you to the conclusion of the mystery, and in doing so you see all the foibles of the Van Duyvil family. OK, this family has more then foibles, they are pretty unlikable excuses for humanity. The mother is a witch, only with a B instead of a w at the beginning. Anne, who is a cousin from the mother's side is so full of hatred that its impossible to care for her at all.

I know they needed a character going forward from the murders to help with resolution, but Janie was just so wishy washy and the romantic entanglement that isn't really one, seemed like an afterthought. It truly wasn't necessary to the story at all especially since there wasn't any chemistry between the two until the end.

With all that, you would think that this would be a did not finish kind of book. But no, its not. Its the story of the two victims that keep you going. In fact, they are the characters that you like and both of them are so very messed up, especially poor Bay. I loved him and wanted to slap him so many times especially for his entanglements. Oh and I wish someone would explain his relationship with Anne to me, because it just didn't quite make any sense to me, especially as more and more is learned about his life.

Georgie is really the one that the reader can feel the most for. She's got her secrets and for a very long time you don't know what to make of her. By the end of the book, you wish something good would have come out of her life.

The ending? Its an OMG I didn't see that coming sort of thing, even though it was definitely believable.

This was a satisfying read, even though it didn't really live up to some of Ms. Willig's other books.

Rating: 4 flowers


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