From 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 3-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 never would 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?
Lush with detail, full of intrigue and rife with mystery, Lauren Willig’s The English Wife is a treat for fans of historical fiction.
I throughly enjoyed the 1899 storyline featuring Janie and James.
Watching Janie stretch out from the stifling confinements her mother and society had placed on her was a pleasure.
I also really loved the way Willig captured the feel of a turn-of-the-century newsroom — I work in the news industry and absolutely love books that feature anything to do with newspapers.
Janie’s and James’ investigation into Bay’s death was my favorite part of the novel.
While I found the dual storyline about Bay and Georgie interesting, I did not enjoy it as much as the one featuring Janie.
Willig has recreated the lush world of the Gilded Age and peopled it with a well-rounded cast of characters.
Janie’s mother was a interesting, extremely complex character — one of those you just love to root against.
However, at times, I felt like certain characters were acting in manners that didn’t always make sense to me.
Willig also is the author of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, The Other Daughter and The Ashford Affair.
The English Wife is the perfect read for fans of Renee Rosen, Karen White and Beatriz Williams.
It was released by St. Martin’s Press on Jan. 9.
Lauren Willig is the New York Times-bestselling author of 16 works of historical fiction.
Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages; awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards; and chosen for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre fiction.
After graduating from Yale University, she pursued a doctorate in English history at Harvard University before leaving academia to acquire a law degree at Harvard Law while authoring her Pink Carnation series of Napoleonic-era novels.
She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.