The English Wife
By: Lauren Willig
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 1/9/2018
My Rating: 4 Stars From New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous novel set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and murder. Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor house in England, they had a fairytale 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 named 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 try 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?
From the New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig brings the glitz, glamour, and scandal of the Gilded Age to life in her latest THE ENGLISH WIFE – Rich in history, a mix of gothic mystery, and romantic suspense. A portrayal of culture and class at the turn of the twentieth century mingled with dark secrets and numerous twists and turns. Headlines New York, 1899. "Knickerbocker murders wife and kills himself. Murder and suicide on the Hudson." Janie Van Duyvil and brother Bayard, and cousin Anne were best friends. Bay takes a trip to London and comes home with a new wife Annabelle. Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York. The perfect couple. Then Janie and Anne find Bay at the glamorous Twelfth Night dinner party with a knife stuck in his chest. Annabelle, the wife, is nowhere to be found. A final dying word "George." Annabelle has gone missing. Could it be a stranger or someone else? What secrets were they hiding? Janie (an outsider in this prominent family) becomes obsessed with finding the truth about her brother and the mysterious death. Who was this strange and mysterious woman? Was she an imposter? Her past. Who murdered her brother? With the help of a reporter, Burke — Janie begins to investigate and dig for clues. However, not sure who she can trust. Is there something between them? What about the secrets of her own family? From London to New York, with dual timelines and a multitude of characters, Willig creates a compelling, dark, scandalous and atmospheric tale of mystery and intrigue— with hidden secrets, keeping readers guessing to the end. Multi-layered, compelling, and skillfully written, THE ENGLISH WIFE is highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, romantic suspense, and mystery with a Gothic twist. A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. JDCMustReadBooks
Jan Top Reads
"A dark and scintillating tale." -Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale
"A gorgeous gem of a novel." -Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Night the Lights Went Out
"The pages fly fast and furious in this thoroughly engaging, suspenseful yarn." ―Booklist
"Willig has a knack for creating sympathetic characters and fully fleshed settings, adding some juicy plot twists to this atmospheric period piece." ― Kirkus Reviews
"A dark, romantic mystery full of twists and turns." ― Library Journal
"Lauren Willig's historical novels are so immersive, so note-perfect in their mastery of setting and voice, that I'm tempted to wonder if she has a time machine at her disposal. The English Wife, with its deliciously evocative portrait of the splendours, sorrows and intrigues of Gilded Age high society, is her best book yet." ― Jennifer Robson, USA Today and #1 Toronto Globe & Mail bestselling author of Goodnight from London.
"Full of intrigue and suspense, Willig weaves an intricate tapestry of romance and betrayal. Rich in period detail and a plot that keeps you guessing, The English Wife, is a wonderful read."-- Alyson Richman, Internationally bestselling author of The Velvet Hours and The Lost Wife
"Lauren Willig absolutely delivers in this deliciously-paced, intriguing tale that is part mystery, part love story, and part family drama of the most emotionally-riveting kind. Brimming with evocative historical details and hauntingly good." ― Susan Meissner, Award-winning author of A Bridge Across the Ocean
“The English Wife is an atmospheric, instantly absorbing page-turner. Lauren Willig delivers a richly detailed, expertly plotted novel that will instantly transport you back in time. This novel has it all―an intriguing mystery, a love affair for the ages and secrets worth dying for.” ―Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not A Sound
"An elegant page turner that kept me guessing. A masterful story that transported me back in time. A great, great Gothic." -M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow
“Full of Gilded Age glamour and Gothic suspense, The English Wife will haunt readers long after the story ends. Willig draws us in immediately – not just with an opulent setting and sensational gossip – but with a crime so visually stunning, I was left gasping for air by the end of chapter one. From London to old New York, readers will be mesmerized. Willig’s writing is so smart and her pacing so masterful that readers will be guessing until the very last page. The English Wife combines the all insight of Edith Wharton with the tension and intrigue of Daphne du Maurier. It is Willig at her very best and most compelling.” -Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House
"The English Wife brings to life old world New York City and London with all the splendor of two of my favorite novels, The Age of Innocence and The Crimson Petal and the White. Mystery, murder, mistaken identity, romance―Lauren Willig weaves each strand into a page-turning tapestry." -Sally Koslow, author of The Widow Waltz and Another Side of Paradise
About the Author
Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Pink Carnation series and several stand alone works of historical fiction, including The Ashford Affair, That Summer, The Other Daughter, and the collaborative novel, The Forgotten Room. Her books have been translated into over 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 embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time. Read More