I was sent this book a while ago to review in advance of its release on the 26th of May on Ebook and on the 25th of August on paperback. So this is a proper head's up for you to put this one in your diary…or, if you're a normal person (not me), pre-order it, I guess!
Anyway, this is a big read, all 520 pages of it and a debut novel from Jane Corry.
Lily is a twenty-something year old lawyer, who we meet on her first day of married life to Ed, a graphic designer who secretly wants to pack it all in to be a freelance artist. It's a pretty recognisable scene; husband and wife, hurriedly downing bowls of cereal as they get ready for their respective days ahead. This first page actually really pulled me in, straight away; as Lily narrates her fears for their burgeoning marriage, looking back on their honeymoon and also worrying about the work day ahead, she describes their tiny Clapham apartment where she has to keep her one tube of rimmel foundation in the kitchen drawer due to lack of space.
It sounds frivolous but I knew I was on board with her from there on in.
While it starts as a normal enough morning, Lily is on her way to a prsion to meet her first criminal law client who wants to appeal his sentence for murdering his girlfriend. That one day changes both Lily's life and all of those she comes into contact with.
We're brought on a completely different path in the next chapter where we meet Lily and Ed's next door neighbour, an Italian child called Carla and her mother, Francesca. Carla becomes a second narrator, taking us with her on her extremely grim schooldays and her home life where her mother is making ends meet by seeing a married man. I thought the double narration was effective and it meant that the characters were well developed so that I felt like I knew them and could understand (if not always appreciate) their motives.
The book cleverly discusses elements of fate, revenge, and how inter-connected we all really are.
It's worth noting that I had literally no idea where the story was going- I was happy to go along with it but every so often did that book-sleuth thing in my head where I tried to figure out what could possibly happen, to no avail!
I thought My Husband's Wife was very clever, all-consuming and gripping from the start. I'd definitely recommend this for a holiday read this year!