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My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry. Book Review

August 14, 2016

My Husband's wife

Lily and Ed marry after a whirlwind romance and enjoy a blissful honeymoon. They are both up-and-coming in their own fields, Lily in law and Ed as an artist. Everything seems set for a great future. Or does it?

The end point of My Husband’s Wife is evident from the beginning, but don’t let that put you off, because how this is reached is only one of the many points of interest about this wonderfully unsettling book.

The first page of the main narrative is the real taster of the standard of the writing to come, and the incredible way in which Jane Corry crafts a story to get you strung out before you’ve even managed to turn over.

It is a perfectly ordinary day. Or so it seems. Breakfast with Lily’s favourite cereal, the comfort food of her childhood, served just the way she likes it. But Lily finds herself too nervous to eat anything. The answer would appear to be her new status as a solicitor. A good job you would think? And yet despite being married, she finds herself in a less than desirable home and the main bread winner. Not a comfortable situation for a newlywed who has just enjoyed the hospitality of her husband’s family in a very romantic location.

Everything is new, the century, her marriage and her job. Lily has just come back from her honeymoon and yet she appears to class this day as the first day of married life. Only her lipsticks are described in a way that suggests any form of relaxed expression of affection or closeness. But that is only because they are squeezed up next to the teaspoons in the cutlery drawer. Neither the bathroom nor bedroom has anywhere to accommodate them. These deft touches of description continue right the way through the book, barely noticeable within the engaging and fluid plot and yet continuing to register on a subliminal level, which creates a delicious sense of discomfort in the reader, as well as a continual sense of doom.

The plot and characters are complex, so that although we already know the final outcome, we are never sure of the direction of the journey to get there and who will do what. Some characters are just bad, while life just makes others that way in the sense that they fall into traps laid for them, and find themselves ruthlessly manipulated. Or they just respond to the situation around them in a type of survival response.

There is plenty to keep the reader occupied in My Husband’s Wife, so be prepared to keep reading once you’ve started.

My Husband’s Wife was courtesy of Penguin Books

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