Sunday 4 February 2018

Another Woman's Husband - Gill Paul

Two women who challenged the Crown.

Divided by time. Bound by a secret...

At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal...

Rachel's romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world...

What did I think?

You can't help but get goosebumps seeing that fateful location and date on Chapter 1: Paris, 31 August 1997.  Even typing it now gives me chills.  The events of that night are handled so sensitively by Gill Paul, paying the highest respect to Diana, Dodi and Henri Paul.  This isn't a story about Diana, Princess of Wales but rather the story of another thorn in the royal family's side: Wallis Simpson.

31 August 1997 is a night that Rachel and Alex will never forget.  They got engaged in Paris and came upon the wreckage of a car crash in the Alma Tunnel.  Alex gets out of their car to see what is happening and finds Princess Diana in the wreckage.  As more help arrives, Alex leaves the scene but not before he picks up a platinum heart charm with the initial 'J' and 'XVII' on it.  What does this mean to Diana?  It's a little piece of a puzzle that Alex is determined to solve as he decides to film a documentary into Diana's last known movements.  Movements that included a visit to Villa Windsor, the home of Wallis Simpson.

Roll back to 1911 where Mary Kirk befriends Bessie Wallis Warfield at summer camp.  The pair strike up a friendship that lasts decades, broken only by both women's love for the same man.  Not Edward, Prince of Wales, but quiet and unassuming Ernest Simpson.  As we see Wallis grow up, a pattern emerges of her always getting what or who she wants, even if that man appears unavailable like another woman's husband or a king.

With such a compelling story woven around the bare bones of historical facts, this is a story that captivated me from start to finish.  Although she doesn't feature heavily in it, I felt as if the essence of Diana was sprinkled throughout the pages.  The story that Gill Paul created felt so very like what I imagine Diana would have done.  The link between Diana and Wallis, through Rachel, was so clever, imaginative and simply breathtaking.  

I adored Another Woman's Husband and will definitely be recommending it to everyone I know.  It is my first Gill Paul book and I won't hesitate to pick up more of her books.  Very highly recommended.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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