"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

24 February 2018

2017 Book Review #8: The English Wife

I discovered another new-to-me author and I really liked her writing style!

The first thing that caught my eye at the town library was the cover art.  I just love it.

And then I read what the book is about, and was hooked.


Annabelle (also known as Georgie) and Bayard (Bay) Van Duyvil seem to live a charmed and privileged life on the banks and woods of the Hudson River just north of New York City.  Their palatial home is known as "Illyria" from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.  They have a set of twins aged 3:  Viola and Sebastian.  Bay is a descendant from  a very proper Knickerbocker family and Annabelle grew up in a Tudor style home in England.   They met in London and had a fairy-tale, whirlwind romance.

The year is 1899 and there are rumors that Annabelle is having an affair with David Pruyn their architect.  However, only Annabelle, David and Bay know the real truth.  But rumors will be rumors and there are always gossips in the circle of friends that Bay's stalwart and ever so proper mother associates with.

Bay has one spinster sister named Janie.  And his cousin is Anne who is married to Janie's ex-boyfriend Teddy Newland.  But Janie really didn't want to be married to Teddy and it appears that Anne really does't want to be either.

On January 6th, "Twelfth Night", Bay and Annabelle host a large ball to welcome people to their newly constructed home, Illyria.  There are about 400 guests.

Around midnight, Mrs Van Duyvil sends Anne and Janie out to look for Bay and Annabelle who seemed to have disappeared.  Bay is found dead, with a dagger in his chest, down by the river and Janie thinks she saw Annabelle floating in the river!  They never find her body!

Who killed Bay and Annabelle?  and how are they going to solve the many twists and turns this couple brought to the lives of so many people?

What is truth....and what is imagination?

Who is Annabelle really?  why was she known in London as Georgianna Evans?  And who is Georgie Smith?? 

 And why was Annabelle protecting Bay??

The news reports all say Bay killed his wife and then killed himself.  But his sister Janie knows that can't possibly be true.  She decides to enable the help of one journalist, Mr Burke, to solve this crime.  Because she is convinced a crime was committed but not at the hands of her beloved brother.

As she begins to delve into the clues, and into Bay's life, the things she thought she knew about her brother and his wife all begin to unravel.

Where will this lead??


Excellent character development and setting. I was immediately hooked because of the plot but also because of the description of the setting and the very real places that are only about an hour south of my home.

This book is a bit of romance, drama and mystery.  It's about family saga, the marriage relationship, familial relationships, and friendships.  It is about how sometimes a person is something vastly different than what they portray themselves to be.  This book also touches on the topic of homosexuality.  But it is done discreetly and the language is never improper.  

One chapter is the present, 1899, and then another chapter will be the backstory, in 1894.

The plot is very interesting and took a turn in the middle that I was NOT expecting but it was brilliant!  I don't want to give details because I don't want to ruin it for anyone who might want to read the novel.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.

I'm going to check out some of her other novels at some point!

1 comment:

Susanne said...

The cover certainly is beautiful and would have caught my eye too.