Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Take it from me darling, you don't want a heart: MY HUSBAND'S WIFE.

My Husband's WifeMy Husband's Wife by Jane Corry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lily marries her husband, Ed, only six months after they meet. Lily's adolescence has been marked by family tragedy, and she's determined to move on. But as soon as she and Ed return from their Italian honeymoon, Lily is thrown into her first murder case as a solicitor. She meets her strange client, Joe, accused of murdering his girlfriend. Lily feels an odd affinity for Joe. Soon she is consumed by his case--and Joe himself. Meanwhile, Lily's neighbor, Carla is struggling to find her footing at school. Only nine, she feels like an outsider there, where the kids tease her for being different and fatherless. Lily and Ed become involved in Carla's life--watching her occasionally for her mother--but they have no idea how entwined their lives will become.

This novel is not exactly suspenseful (we're not truly solving a crime, but instead looking into the complex lives of our characters--which albeit may lead to some sort of crimes at times), but I still found it compulsively readable, consuming it in about 2 days. Lily is a unreliable narrator and as such, bits and pieces of her story unfold throughout the book, making us question exactly how much she's told us--and its veracity. There are certainly some "wow" moments as particular plot points are revealed; I appreciated Corry's ability to surprise me early on. (Even if some of these "wow" moments didn't really seem to come up again, or be completely developed into the overall thread of the narrative.)

The novel is definitely a rumination on marriage, faithfulness, and family. The alternating chapters between Lily and Carla help add some heightened tension to the plot, as does an eventual fast forward in time. None of our main characters are particularly sympathetic, but they get into your head quite effectively. The story is far more character-driven and emotional than I expected, yet there are still those "wow" moments I mentioned before. Some of the pieces fit together quite well; others not so much. There's a lot to weave in: Lily's first murder case and her pushy client, Joe; Lily's past; Lily and Ed's son; Carla and her mother; and more. Collectively, these characters bring a great deal of secrets and baggage.

I didn't find the ending completely surprising, as the novel sort of builds up to it, but it's still interesting and intriguing. I enjoyed how all the characters were interrelated and that the novel seemed focused on looking into what made them "tick." I won't lie, though, it did seem like something was missing at times: a piece of plot somewhere or something more to propel the story along. It's hard to describe, but it's almost as if the book just sort of happened, and you're like oh yeah, of course, yes, I see. By the end, nothing was really shocking, per se.

Still, I found the book incredibly readable and oddly fascinating. 3 stars.

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