Published by St. Martin's Press on January 9th 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery, Fiction
Buy on Amazon
From the New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous 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?
The English Wife is set during a time when your wealth and stature is everything. When the son of a prominent family returns from a trip with a wife that nobody knows and comes from nothing, it kinda raises a few eyebrows. Rumors of affairs start about Annabelle, and then Bayard is found dead and she goes missing and their children are left parentless. But why, is the biggest question and where is Annabelle?
The cast of characters was wonderful and there quite a few too, and they were complex but fleshed out. The main ones, Annabelle and Bayard each had their own flaws and secrets. But with each other, they could share them with the other. Bayard was the one I questioned at first, even though he knew Annabelle’s secret, he still married her and took her home. So many times I kept trying to figure out why too. Annabelle was a mystery all which ways around, but the more I read, the more I understood her and really did enjoy her character. Such a strong girl for a young woman. Now of course there is Bayard’s mother, who is a piece of work. But, she is his mother, and is overprotective of her boy, so I tried to give her a little slack. Janie, his sister, was quite, reserved, does everything her mother tells her and stays pretty much in the shadow. That is until, the death of her brother’s death and the horrible things that were being said about him. This is one determined young woman, and she is set on finding out the truth of what really happened that awful night.
The reporter that is on the case was quite the pain in the ass at first and I did really want to slap him a few times, but he was a reporter and they try and get the story however they can. Janie and his interactions together was tension filled and it so obvious what was going on, just not to them. I found it all kinda sweet and the romance did take a back seat to the murder mystery. None the less, I enjoyed every little bit I could get of them.
The story is given in two time lines. The past is about Annabelle and Bayard’s meeting and how they end up marrying and moving back to his home with family. Then, there is the present, that is filled with scandalous rumors about them, and his death and her disappearance and being presumed to be dead. Over the course of the story the two time times converge and the pieces to start to fall into place, revealing secrets and leading up to the big twist at the end that was just amazing!
This book has so many things going for it, it was hard to put down. The setting was vividly described and it felt you were right there with them. But the family secrets, and the murder to the slow burning and unexpected romance, kept me turning the pages. This was a fantastic historical murder mystery, and I would certainly recommend it for fans of historical fiction.
If family secrets, murder, and a slow burning romance sound great, pick up The English Wife by Lauren Willig @StMartinsPress #Adult #Historical #Mystery #Fiction #Review Click To Tweet