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The English Wife: A Novel

The English Wife: A Novel

Scritto da Lauren Willig

Narrato da Barrie Kreinik


The English Wife: A Novel

Scritto da Lauren Willig

Narrato da Barrie Kreinik

valutazioni:
3.5/5 (24 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
14 ore
Pubblicato:
Jan 9, 2018
ISBN:
9781427293428
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig comes a scandalous audiobook set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and murder. The English Wife is high-drama and sure to impress listeners everywhere.

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?

Pubblicato:
Jan 9, 2018
ISBN:
9781427293428
Formato:
Audiolibro

Disponibile anche come...

Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Summer Country, The Ashford Affair, and The English Wife, as well as the RITA Award–winning Pink Carnation series. An alumna of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in history from Harvard and a JD from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband, kindergartner, toddler, and vast quantities of coffee.


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3.7
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    I had a challenge in determining how I felt about this book. It was interesting and enlightening but it also seemed at times a bit too romanticized for me. I will admit that it had more than it share of twists and turns and as the book progressed I became more and more absorbed in the story. On balance, I gave it the higher rating.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this book set in late 19 century New York - the Gilded Age. This book is about family secrets, greed, lust, pride, deception, and even murder. I found the characters to be believable and realistic. To all outside appearances Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvell seem to be a golden couple. They have beautiful three year old twin children, Viola and Sebastian. They have a gorgeous mansion that Bayard has just built for his wife. The world doesn't see the secrets and deceptions that they each hide from the world as well as each other. And then one night, during their housewarming 12th night ball, the family is ripped apart. Annabelle disappears and Bayard is found with a dagger in his chest lying on the floor of their folly. Bayard's sister Janie wants to find out the truth and asks for help from an earnest young reporter. Together they piece together the shocking events of January 6, and the fallout ripples throughout the whole of society. I really enjoyed the book. It moved quickly and the tension remained throughout. I felt like I really got to know Janie Van Duyvell, and rooted for her throughout.
  • (3/5)
    3.5 starsTHE ENGLISH WIFE has a lot going for it. Ms. Willig adeptly captures the era and its societal mores and strictures well.The characters are relatable enough that readers can easily become vested in them and their situations. An engaging story with plenty of twists that flows seamlessly into the mystery, who killed Bay and where is Annabelle? Is she dead too? Now, I'm not sure if this was intentional but there's a pervasive sadness, from beginning to end. This sadness can also be used to describe the characters lives. It's as much a character as Amanda, Bay, Anne, Mr. Van Duyvil, or Janie. I've thought about it and the book wouldn't be the same, nor as good, without this sadness. For me, the sadness makes the book.THE ENGLISH WIFE is a good solid read all around. Reviewed for Miss Ivy's Book Nook
  • (4/5)
    A murder in an aristocratic household? Unheard of and especially during a ball with hundreds of guests in attendance.Bay, Annabelle's husband and Janie's brother, could not have killed his wife and then killed himself. Janie was determined to find out who the real killer was.We follow the family as the book goes back and forth in time making the connections for us about who was who and what the circumstances were. And what marvelous connections and secrets this family has.The biggest bomb shell came right after Bay and Annabelle were killed.A family member of Annabelle arrived at the house to give his condolences, but also gave some unsettling information about Annabelle.THE ENGLISH WIFE was very proper, and the characters were portrayed as very proper as was expected in the 1800's, but were some who they said they were?THE ENGLISH WIFE was difficult to connect with at first, but then the book became difficult to put down.The ending revelations will be "burning" in your thoughts and have you wanting to talk about the book with everyone.If you enjoy the 1800's, drama of privileged families, mystery, and secrets, THE ENGLISH WIFE will be a late-into-the-night read. 4/5This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
  • (3/5)
    With 'The English Wife', Lauren Willig does a superb job of capturing the era and setting. The characters' plights and their interactions feel real. I especially loved the dialogue, which I could almost hear being spoken. So, yes, there are some great things about this book, but I didn't love it. I'll explain:The story is told in alternating timelines, giving us distinctly different side-by-side stories rather than one as a whole. We have the "present" timeline, taking place in 1899, with Janie as the standout main character. In the second timeline, we go back to 1894, with Bay and Georgie as the main characters. Within these two separate stories, we have several subplots and a lot of characters moving in and out. All the activity and shifting timelines takes away from the main focus of the story. To me, it all felt scattered.While there are a lot of separate issues taking place, the pace is actually quite slow. The two stories converge about 3/4 of the way through the book, and this is when the pace picks up. I found the last quarter of the book much more enjoyable, as the focus narrowed and we stayed within the present timeline. If you're looking for a historical family drama, and you don't mind alternating timelines, then give this one a try. My complaints are specific to me, and it truly is well written.*I received an advance ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.*
  • (5/5)
    THE ENGLISH WIFE was an amazing story. It begins at a party. Annabelle and Bay Van Duyvil are debuting their new home, designed to duplicate the home where Annabelle grew up in England, for the upper class society of New York. Things immediately go wrong when Janie Van Duyvil discovers the body of her brother who was stabbed with the knife that was part of his costume. His wife is missing and presumed dead. Janie needs to know what happened to the brother that she admired but didn't know very well.The story has flashbacks to five years earlier when Annabelle and Bay met in London and fell in love which gives us information about the two of them that Janie doesn't have. Janie has always existed under the thumb of her overbearing and autocratic mother. Nothing she does seems to satisfy her. Janie also shares the house with her cousin Anne who is back home because her husband is threatening to divorce her. Anne is the opposite of Janie. She is flamboyant and willing to defy her Aunt. Nonetheless, she is under her aunt's thumb as much as Janie is. Anne and Bay were closer in age growing up and they always seemed to form a team that left Janie out. Because she feels that all of them - herself, her mother, her cousin - are being kept out of the investigation, she goes to a newspaper reporter who she had met when he visited her family kitchen saying he was visiting a cousin for some help. She asks James Burke to help her find out the truth about what happened to Bay and Annabelle. As they investigate, they fall in love but their vastly different social classes is only one of the impediments to a relationship. This story brimmed over with the social mores of the most upper of upper classes in 1899 New York. It also brimmed over with family secrets, affairs, hidden identities, and murder. It was such an engaging story that I couldn't put it down and read late into the night and when I should have been doing other things. Fans of historical mysteries won't want to miss this wonderful story.
  • (3/5)
    On the night of her brother and sister-in-law's Twelfth Night party, Janie van Duyvil finds her brother on the lawn with a dagger in his chest. Her sister-in-law, Annabelle, is missing, but Janie is certain that she saw Annabelle in the river just before she found her brother's body. Janie is determined to find the truth about her brother's murder no matter where it leads, but her socialite mother is more interested in maintaining appearances. Janie enlists the aid of journalist James Burke to discover the circumstances of her brother's death. The more she learns, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her family.After the initial discovery of the murder, the story alternates between Bay and Annabelle's history and Janie's search for the truth about their life and death. The parallel stories barely intersect. Although Bay and Janie are siblings, they were not close, and Janie has no role in their side of the story. From time to time there are hints of danger in Janie's part of the story, but Willig drops threads before the suspense has a chance to build. The female characters are strong and they all tend to overshadow the male characters they're paired with, even down to the 3-year-old fraternal twins. The book starts with a bang but it fizzles out by the end.This review is based on an electronic advance reading copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
  • (3/5)
    I really liked how the story started, but midway through I started to feel bogged down in the story and I struggled to finish it. I did enjoy the characters, especially Georgie and her nemesis of a mother-in-law. The dialogue between the characters was also excellent, often displaying the quirks of British and upper-class American life. However, overall the story felt repetitive and not quite fast-paced enough to hold my interest.
  • (4/5)
    There are two romances in this, but it's not a romance novel. There is a murder, and an investigation of sorts, and a reveal of the killer, but it's not a mystery novel. It's set in Gilded Age high society, but it's not a society novel.
  • (5/5)
    Janie Van Duyvil is at a costume ball celebrating the opening of her brother's new home on the Hudson River when she finds her brother Bay with a jeweled dagger through his heart and his wife Annabelle missing with her shoe on the bank of the river. She wants to find the truth of what happened to Bay and Annabelle, the mysterious English woman he brought back from his Grand Tour of Europe. The story is told back and forth from Janie's point-of-view, then Annabelle, or Georgie as she is also known. Janie enlists the help of a newspaperman, James Burke, to find how what happened despite being a scion of New York Gilded Age society. Her mother is a grande dame of society who keeps Janie on a tight leash. There is Anne, Janie's cousin and Bay's confidant, defiant but also under the control of the older Mrs. Van Duyvil. Viola and Sebastian are Bay and Annabelle's twins, named for twins in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and the heirs to the Van Duyvil fortune. Georgie's story is about how she met Bay at a theater in London and their subsequent life together. They both have secrets which gradually come out as the story progresses.The mystery of the murder(s) is the core of the story here, and it's very well told. First, the murderer seems to be one person, then another, with all sorts of different motives abounding as Janie and Burke try to solve Bay's killing. There are many Shakespearean references, especially to Twelfth Night which I enjoyed. I've read all Ms. Willig's Pink Carnation series and most of her historical fiction books. I think she just gets better and better. She captures the Gilded Age and New York society well here. The descriptions are excellent, and the pacing of the story makes you want to keep reading. I very much enjoyed The English Wife.
  • (5/5)
    This stunning novel opens up in 1899 with a murder. Janie Van Duyvil and her cousin Anne Newton have just discovered Janie's brother Bay with a knife sticking out of his chest inside the folly at his house during the Twelfth Night party he and his wife Annabelle were having. Janie sees Annabelle in the river. When help is brought back, Annabelle has disappeared into the river and the police doubt that Janie saw her to begin with.The book travels back in time to when Annabelle and Bay met in London in 1894 when Annabelle was Georgina Evans, an actress at a cheap theater. Sir Hugo, a notorious rakehell, invites Kitty and Annabelle to dinner with his friend Bay, Georgina balks and Bay takes her outside and puts her in a cab. He later comes back to the theater to apologize and thus begins a friendship that turns into something more.Janie is the quiet daughter of a formidable towering matron of society, whose mother is obsessed with the family name and its place in society. Anne "stole" the man she was to marry, not that Janie minded all that much. She works at the Girls Club doing charity work helping young women to her mother's consternation. The papers are saying that Bay killed Annabelle and then himself because she was carrying on with the architect of the house they had just had built.Janie becomes determined to find out the truth and when a reporter, James Burke, finds his way into the house and she has words with him, she decides to go to him and make a bargain with Burke for them to be honest with each other and share information and he could print anything he found as long as it was the truth. Of course, the two of them are attracted to each other.The characters are interesting such as Anne who deals in triple entendre and does daily battle with Mrs. Van Duyvil, her aunt who took her in and never let her forget it and Georgina who is scrappy and takes nothing from no one. This book has more twists and turns than a mountain road and it opens up on an exciting note that catches you right away and never lets you go. The pages fly so fast your fingers will have scorch marks.
  • (4/5)
    "The English Wife" is a stand alone historical novel. Bravo to author, Lauren Willig, as this kept me intrigued and turning the pages. I was not disappointed. ** One again, my thanks to St. Martin's Press for this ARC I won in a GOODREADS giveaways! I always feel so devilishly evil to get to read them before they hit the market.
  • (5/5)
    It is most fitting that much of the action of Lauren Willig's new novel, The English Wife, takes place on a cold, snowy winter evening in February 1899 at a home along the Hudson River. It's been so cold here in the Northeast, this just fits right in.There are two settings for this crackling good mystery- 1895 England and 1899 Cold Springs, New York. The book opens at the Twelfth Night Ball that American heir Bay Van Duyvil and his English wife Annabelle are hosting at their new home on the Hudson River, a replica of her English home.Amid gossip that Annabelle was having an affair with the architect of the home, Bay is found stabbed and Annabelle is missing. Bay's sister Janie swears she saw Annabelle's body floating in the Hudson River, but no body is ever found.The action moves back to 1895 England, where Bay meets and falls in love with Georgie, a dance hall performer. They marry and Georgie assumes the name of her cousin Annabelle, a wealthy heiress herself who is nowhere to be found.Bay's sister Janie teams up with Burke, a reporter from a New York paper, to discover what happened to her brother and sister-in-law. Janie feels she owes it to Bay and Annabelle's toddler twins, now orphaned.Janie's mother Alva was not thrilled with Bay's choice of wife, and she is the very epitome of an overbearing mother-in-law. Alva rules her household with an iron fist, and believes it her duty to keep the name Van Duyvil untarnished.Anne is Janie and Bay's cousin, they all grew up together, but Bay and Anne were especially close, even after Anne stole Janie's fiance and married him herself. Anne's marriage has collapsed, much to the disgust of Aunt Alva.The scenes between Alva and Anne, and then Alva, Anne and Janie crackled with tension and fantastic passive/aggressive dialogue. If Andy Cohen were around in 1895, he would have signed these ladies up as the original Housewives of New York.The timelines of 1895 and 1899 eventually dovetail, and we find out more information about Georgie, and her cousin Annabelle (does she even exist?), what is really going on in Bay and Annabelle's marriage, and what happened the night of the Twelfth Ball.The characters are fascinating, especially Georgie, and I liked watching Janie blossom from a mousy young lady into a force to be reckoned with. Burke the reporter was an intriguing character with his own secrets as well.There are a lot of secrets in The English Wife, some you can guess and others that took me completely by surprise, which I love in a good story. I also enjoyed the attention to period detail, it is clear that Willig did a great deal of research to get everything just right.I highly recommend The English Wife, for anyone who loves a good historical mystery, mixed with a little romance. (And the book cover is just stunning!)
  • (3/5)
    It was OK, a bit difficult to follow with an audio book. But the twists and turns were enjoyable.
  • (1/5)
    "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 manor in England, they had a whirlwind 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 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 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?"I may be the only one who thinks this, but I could not get through this book. I found it to be a total snooze fest. The story was very uninteresting and the author's writing style was very difficult to follow the story line. I try to finish every book I pick up but this one I just couldn't finish. I bailed ?
  • (4/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    The English Wife is a dark tale of betrayal and secrets. It's Gothic suspense at it's best. This family drama has a twisty plot and intriguing characters that keep the pages turning until the final twist. It's rich in historical detail of high society in New York in 1899. This was my first book by Lauren Willig but I definitely will be reading more of her books in the future. I would highly recommend this book to those who love suspenseful historical novels.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    The English Wife is an intriguing story from the beginning until the end. It switches back and forth from year to year but it is not difficult to follow. One can easily visualize the entire locations both England and the United States easily. There is a definite beginning, middle and end. The book ending is proper it actually comes to a conclusion. I highly recommend The English Wife, hence the five star rating that I attach here.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (4/5)
    This historical story opens with the deaths of Bayard and Annabelle Van Duyvil. The following chapters then switch between past and “present,” revealing both the events that lead to that night and Bay’s sister’s search to uncover the truth after the fact. It’s an intriguing mystery, full of secrets, scandal, and romance, and I really enjoyed it.
  • (4/5)
    In case you haven't noticed, I love a good murder mystery. I don't even mind if I figure out the murderer as long as the journey had some nice twists and turns. This one, was hands-down the easiest Book of the Month pick for me. Something about the cover, the description, and the few reviews it had made me want it more than any of the other selections for December 2017.

    I hadn't even planned to read it. I had a few other books that I wanted to read next, but when I went to my shelf, like usual, I just picked up whatever grabbed my attention, which was this one.

    I LOVED IT.

    There were a lot of layers to this story. It bounced back and forth from the past to the present and there were a couple of times I got confused because I skimmed over the date at the beginning of the chapter, but everything fell wonderfully into place as the story evolved.

    I think my favorite part of this, aside from the believable characters, was the historical element. It felt real and even though I have never lived in 1800s, nothing about the historical details felt fake or forced. Everything from the description of the homes to the characters' attire was perfect for this Gilded Age and brought everything to life for me.

    There was also particular attention given to how society was in this time and it sort of read like a soap opera, with things that happen behind closed doors being far more scandalous than the rumors that plague parties, and I was hooked. It was a guilty pleasure in a way to be reading something dripping with so much gossip, but I couldn't look away.

    I also really liked the back and forth in the timeline. I noticed other readers found this aspect confusing, but I felt that the chapters that took place in the past were placed in just the right moments. Some of them worked as a push to keep reading because at the end of one chapter there would be a bit of a cliffhanger, then it would bounce to the past. It forced me to keep reading (not that it takes much force) because I had to go back to where the previous chapter had left off.

    I also loved the characters. There was more than meets the eye to all of them. Even those that seemed really cut and dry had more layers than onions (yes, Shrek reference). In the end, it was this feature that had me a blindsided by the murderer. I really thought I had it figured out, but then motives would change and along with it, my suspect. I really did not imagine the murderer being who it was and that is always a big plus in my book when I'm caught off guard in a murder mystery.

    I was definitely not disappointed in this Book of the Month pick, but so far they have yet to let me down with their selections.

     
  • (2/5)
    The English Wife is a new novel by Lauren Willig that takes us back in time to 1899. Annabelle Van Duyuil and her husband, Bayard (Bay) are holding a Twelfth Night Ball at their newly finished home Illyria. Later that evening, Bay is found stabbed to death in the folly and his sister, Janie catches a glimpse of Annabelle in the river. It is believed that Bay pushed Annabelle into the river and then killed himself. Annabelle’s body, though, is not found. There had been rumors swirling around society that Annabelle had been having an affair with the architect of Illyria. Janie does not believe the rumors and wants to discover what really happened that night at the ball. She knows that her mother would never hire a detective, so Janie seeks out assistance from reporter, James Burke. The pair delve into Annabelle and Bay’s lives seeking answers. The more Janie learns, the more she realizes how little she knew about her brother and his wife. Did one of their secrets get them killed? And why did Bay die with saying the name George?The English Wife sounded like such a great book. A Gilded Age story with scandals, secrets and murder. The final product, though, was like being stuck in rush hour traffic. You move forward very, very slowly. The pace was slow, and the dialogue was awkward. There were a couple of good sections, but they were few (and did not make up for the rest of the book). There are numerous characters (with very similar names) and background stories on each of them. The book is written with one chapter in present time and the next chapter takes you back when Bay met Georgie. There are detailed descriptions of homes (inside and out), clothing, art, and plays (many discussions on Shakespeare plays). The author did capture the lifestyle of the rich living in 1899. The only likeable character is the reporter, James Burke. I quickly tired of Janie (whiny) and her overbearing, dominating mother. The author should have given Janie a strong backbone and a curious nature. Instead, she retreats into the wallpaper (very much the wallflower). There is a lot of repetition in the book. The mystery plays out slowly over the course of the novel and the reveal is anticlimactic. The identity of the killer was no surprise. The ending was disappointing with many threads left dangling. The author was attempting to capture the era with the writing style, but it comes across as contrived. The connections to the play Twelfth Night are apparent (for those who have read or seen Shakespeare’s play). The English Wife had potential, but it was not achieved. I found it a tedious book to read and I want the hours I spent reading it back.
  • (4/5)
    This historical fiction novel takes place between 1894 in London and 1899 in New York, moving back and forth in time as the secrets harbored by the characters unfold.It begins in 1899 in New York. Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil have just completed an estate they named "Illyria" on the banks of the Hudson, and are throwing a "Twelfth Night Ball" to celebrate. But at the ball, 26-year-old Janie Van Duyvil, Bay's sister, while searching for her brother outside, finds him dead with a knife in his chest. Annabelle is missing, presumed drowned, evinced by one of her dress slippers found by the waterfront. Rumors had been swirling about an affair between Annabelle and Illyria’s architect, David Pruyn, and the immediate assumption is that this was a crime of passion and jealousy.Janie doesn’t believe it, and wants to try to find out what really happened, but she has to work around her aristocratic and cruel mother, who is dedicated to avoiding scandal at all costs. Janie secretly enlists the help of a reporter, James Burke. They are from very different worlds, but both want the facts, and they make a pact to tell each other the truth, no matter where it leads.Complicating the search for truth, a mysterious relative of Annabelle's shows up and claims Annabelle wasn't who she said she was. But he seems venal and is very interested in Annabelle's estate. Meanwhile, Janie's cousin Anne, always close to Bay, implies there is also more to know about Bay. And how did the architect fit into the story?Back in 1894 London we learn how Annabelle, then called Georgie, got together with Bay. In addition we get insight into the gender politics of the time, both in London and in New York.We also learn, along with Janie, that the lives of the rest of the Van Duyvil family were part of a carefully constructed web of lies. A great deal of suspense leads to a very unexpected denouement.Evaluation: This is a good page-turner, and the different aspects of romance drawn by the author were quite well done.
  • (5/5)
    I received a free advance e-copy of this book and have chosen to write an honest and unbiased review. I have no personal affiliation with the author. Wow! What a story, a little slow at the beginning, but once it got going I couldn’t put it down. The action never quits. Action packed and full of twists and turns, rumors, and gossip. There is murder, scandal, false ID’s, bodies that were never found, and oh so many secrets just waiting to reveal themselves. This is a well-written piece of historical fiction with a great plot and good character development. This was an exciting book that is well worth the read. I look forward to reading more from Lauren Willig in the future.
  • (3/5)
    Bayard is from a knickerbocker family but this doesn't stop him from marrying an actress with a past. These two live a charmed life until Bayard is murdered and Annabelle's past reveals itself.
I enjoyed the time setting of the rich and powerful during the Knickerbocker years. A perfect setting for this murder mystery. I also liked Annabelle. She is no nonsense and could care less about what most people think. She does not fall into the norm of the rich and powerful. Her spunk leads her to be an endearing character. Then there is Bayard. Bayard has a large secret as well. You need to read the book to find this out! "What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." This is the quote which comes to mind when thinking about Bayard.
The story is drawn out and way too long. That being said, I still enjoyed it, for the most part. I kept trying to figure out "who dunnit". I really like being stumped and the author did a fabulous job keeping me stumped till the very end.
With mansions, secrets and family drama, I felt very much like I was reading a gothic mystery. A nice change from plain historical fiction.
I received this novel from the publisher via Netgalley.
  • (5/5)
    My Review of “The English Wife” by Lauren WilligIt is just so amazing that Lauren Willig , Author of “The English Wife” is able to weave a tale with different genres and a colorful cast of characters. The genres of “The “English Wife” are Historical Fiction, Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery and Suspense.There are some surprising twists and turns. This is a captivating and intriguing novel.Lauren Willig describes her characters as complex and complicated. There are secrets, lies and betrayals. There are strange identities. Is everybody who they say they are? What is the truth? Does it take a murder or disappearance to set the truth free? There is a divide among the haves and have nots, and the rich and poor. There also is a division of American Royalty and British Royalty. What a combination. There are rumors of infidelity and adultery. There is a replica of a house in America that is also in London.The press is known for fabricating tales, but is also sometimes regarded as the gospel of truth. Why is it that people love to gossip and look into the flaws of other people?Can knowing the truth be better than living with a lie? Kudos to Lauren Willig for masterminding this story with so much detail. I would highly recommend this mysterious and suspenseful novel for those readers that appreciate all the above genres. I received An Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.
  • (5/5)
    The story starts right in the middle of the action: On frigid Twelfth Night, 1899, in the middle of a Shakespeare themed ball, Janie Van Duyvil and her cousin Anne find Janie’s brother Bay dying of a stab wound and his wife, Annabelle, missing, presumably fallen into the river below the folly. As part of high society, the couple’s murder is front page material. The press descends in droves, speculating on the deaths. Did Annabelle kill her husband, then flee? Was it a love triangle, as there were rumors that Annabelle was having an affair with the architect of their new house? Did Bay kill Annabelle and then himself? From there out, the story alternates time lines: the 1899 present, as Janie seeks to find the truth behind the murders, and the past, when Bay and Annabelle first met and courted. Janie finds herself pairing up with James Burke, a newsman working for a paper with a bad rep who wants to write real news. Annabelle and Bay have secrets, lots of them. To tell here would ruin the book for readers; suffice it to say that neither is who they appear on the surface. But it’s not just their story. It is also the story of Janie. At the start, Janie is the person who melts away into the background. Her mother is a verbally abusive control freak, and Janie is her favorite target. She’s spent a life time learning to disappear. Her cousin Ann even stole her fiancé. Her growth and flowering through the story is wonderful to watch. There is a lot of description of all the trappings of wealth; the clothing, the jewels, the house décor. And while it might seem a bit excessive, it really belongs there: the wealth, the society it embodies, is, if not a character, is certainly a force in the story that exerts itself mightily on the characters. I enjoyed this book a lot, especially the characters of Janie and Annabelle. The identity of the killer actually took me by surprise. Five stars.
  • (3/5)
    The English Wife is a tantalizing historical mystery set on Fifth Avenue in New York City during the tempestuous Gilded Age. Bay Van Duyvil is found dead. Did his adulterous wife, Annabelle, her dead body found floating under the icy river, murder him? We read the scandal, shiver in the bitter cold, see the fashions, and smell tobacco smoke in the first two pages of Lauren Willig’s book.Headlines shout “Double Murder” and “Suicide” as vivid descriptions promise a thrilling read. Investigative reporters who follow her famous brother’s death plague Janie. When the book jumps to the back-story, it meanders. Characters flow in and out without sufficient presence. The initial premise of the story becomes lost in sub plots. Although an effective portrayal of the Gilded Age’s extravagances and culture, the book lost momentum for this reader.I thank NetGalley for the pre-publication copy for my unbiased review.
  • (4/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    Bayard van Duyvill, part of the American elite is on a European tour when he meets Georgie. Their marriage is one of love and tenderness shrouded by secrets and societal pressures that ultimately threaten their very existence. Told in different chronologies, Willig slowly develops the characters and their secrets to create a slow tension to the final scenes.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (1/5)
    "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 manor in England, they had a whirlwind 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 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 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?"I may be the only one who thinks this, but I could not get through this book. I found it to be a total snooze fest. The story was very uninteresting and the author's writing style was very difficult to follow the story line. I try to finish every book I pick up but this one I just couldn't finish. I bailed ?