Sunday 27 March 2016

My Husband's Wife - Jane Corry

It's the perfect love story.
Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She's a lawyer, he's an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.
But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too...
The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.
'Till death us do part...'
What did I think?

With a title of 'My Husband's Wife' I knew from the outset that there would be no happily ever after for Lily and Ed Macdonald.  Jane Corry doesn't waste a single minute by grabbing your attention from the prologue announcing the murder of one of them.  We are then transported to 15 years earlier where we meet newly-weds Ed and Lily.

Lily is a lawyer and has just been transferred to criminal law.  Her first task is to defend Joe Thomas in an appeal against his conviction for murdering his girlfriend.  There is something about Joe that reminds Lily of her late brother, Daniel, and she feels irresistibly drawn to him.  As the case progresses, it becomes clear that Joe has also formed an attachment to Lily and I wondered whether he was manipulating her or whether he does really love her.

Ed is an artist without a muse, until Lily befriends a little Italian girl, Carla, in their apartment block.  When Lily agrees to look after Carla whilst her mother is at work, Ed finds that he can't stop drawing pictures of Carla and several years later gets his big break when an anonymous collector buys Ed's painting of 'The Italian Girl'.

Carla is struggling to fit in at school because, being Italian, she is different.  Her mother can't buy her the latest clothes, toys or pencil cases as they are not well off but Carla finds a way to obtain them herself.  When Carla spots her mother's boyfriend, Larry, with another woman we are treated to an early glimpse of her devious nature as Carla gets anything she wants from Larry in exchange for her silence.  

The story alternates between chapters written from Lily's perspective and chapters written from Carla's perspective; like curls of smoke destined to intertwine along the way.  As time goes on, Lily and Ed have a son, Tom.  Tom has Asperger's which puts a strain on their already crumbling marriage.  With Lily's attraction to Joe Thomas and Ed's constant contact with his ex, Davina, I was surprised that they remained married for so long!  Sparks really do begin to fly when the other Mrs Macdonald comes on the scene.

I had guessed Lily's secret before the end, but it didn't stop me enjoying this book immensely.  There are lots of twists and turns to keep you entertained throughout and I loved the way that each character has such flaws that ensured I was kept guessing right up to the very end.

My Husband's Wife is a gripping psychological family saga, reminding me of the 'who shot JR episode of Dallas'.  Written at a steady pace, it is difficult to put down with the many twists and turns and untangling of threads that the reader is tasked with.  It's an incredibly dark and twisty debut from Jane Corry and I'm sure it will climb the charts in 2016.

I received this book from the publisher, Penguin, in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

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