Title: The English Wife
Author: Lauren Willig
When first beginning this novel, I immediately thought of Downton Abbey. Anne reminded me of Rose, Bay of Matthew, early Georgiana of Sybil, latter Georgiana of Edith, Janie of Anna (who always has been my favorite), etc.
Who are the Van Duyvils and who is the new English wife?
An aspect of the novel I really enjoyed was that not everything in the plot was resolved at the end of the story. You may be thinking, “What?! This girl is crazy!”. But, we weren’t totally left at odds. A little bit of mystery or imagination is always a good thing and that is exactly what we get when it comes to Georgiana (a.k.a. Annabelle…I’m sticking with Georgiana throughout the rest of this review).
Let me just vent here a minute… I thought I was actually going to like a female protagonist for once. At first, I enjoyed reading about Georgiana and dreaded reading about Janie (I found her to be quite boring). Georgiana seemed like a woman who knew her worth and was very independent. However, this changes as the novels proceeds. I was thoroughly disappointed in her mannerisms at the end of her story. She was no longer this fierce woman I came to admire, but rather, someone who couldn’t see her own value. Towards the end of the novel, I started to really adore Janie. We saw her transform from this quiet, reserved girl to this strong, confident woman and I loved that! I thought it was interesting that the roles were reversed and now I was enjoying a character who I before loathed.
This was the word spoken right before Bay’s death. What does it mean? George, his law school friend, or short for “Georgie”?
Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty…the topic conveniently avoided…cheating. Am I crazy to think that all of the characters just brush this aside?! How? I don’t care if it was for love or whatever…that’s just rude! Really, it just made me angry that people were more judgmental of Georgiana for wanting a divorce than Bay cheating on her. Yes, I understand that in that time period, it was normal for a man to have mistresses. I felt bad for Georgiana, because not only did she have to go through all of that (and the other person living in her house…by her choice!), but she was ridiculed for the exact allegations that her husband was guilty of. I give her props because I couldn’t do it. I would blurt out the truth! haha
Aside from my two rants, I did enjoy this book. As you can see, some emotion rose out of me while reading this. The author did a fantastic job of really describing the attributes of the characters, both good and bad, so that the reader was able to feel the raw emotions of each character individually. While we may have some suspicions of who the murderer was, Lauren Willig does a nice job of not revealing this until the end of the novel. For those of you who love a little drama, relate to this time period, or want a little mystery in your life, then this is the book for you.
DECEMBER 2017 BOTM