The English Wife by Lauren Willig
Expected publication: January 9th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press
Goodreads Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous New York Gilded Age novel full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.
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 was really looking forward to reading this historical fiction set in New York’s Gilded Age when I first found out about it. I had put off reading it for awhile during my reading slump and I’m so glad I waited until I was out of it. The book starts off rather slowly and jumps around the timeline a bit so it was a little confusing until I got the characters in order and the timeline. Janie at first seems really mousy and timid, but she gradually comes out of her shell and becomes a really interesting character. I found myself rooting for her to be successful in uncovering the truth about Bay and Annabelle with Mr. Burke, the reporter. As with any mystery novel, I had my own suspicions about what the truth was but the twists were revealed to be quite different than my original ideas. I really enjoyed that because it adds more to the mystery when the reveal leaves you shocked. And there were many twists in this story! What I really loved was that each little twist ended up being woven into what the BIG reveal was about what had happened to Bay and Annabelle. This whole story ended up being an intricately woven piece of tapestry and the final image was fantastic and shocking. While I struggled a bit with the book in the beginning, it was well worth the read. I will be looking at reading more from this author.
I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.