Sunday, July 17, 2022

My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry

 

There's a Little Free Library near me that always has good mysteries in it and the last two I read were both four star reads. This is one of them. I'm actually surprised that MY HUSBAND'S WIFE has such low ratings, but on the other hand, I'm also not, as the little girl character in this book is an unlikable little shit, the likes of which I haven't really seen since fucking Briony in ATONEMENT. Both of them never really "atone," and we're supposed to feel sorry for them in the end because their mistakes lead them to tragedy. Which I do, because I'm an emotional patsy. But also, I still didn't like them as people.

It's difficult to summarize this book without giving anything away. It's dual POV and dual timeline (part one takes place in the aughts, part two takes place ten years in the future). Lily is a criminal defense lawyer married to a painter, Ed. Ed's career is shaky and he's also an alcoholic. Lily makes much more money and she's in the middle of a case that could make her potentially famous if she succeeds. The two of them also have an autistic son named Tom who lives away from them, going to a boarding school that can accommodate his needs.

Carla, on the other hand, lives next door to Lily and Ed. Her mother is a beautiful woman and an immigrant from Italy. The two of them have come to England because her mother is estranged from her family, for reasons that also have to do with the man who comes over weekends to have sex with her mother (but no, he's not The Reason). Carla has a lot of emotional issues. She's a liar, a thief, and possibly sociopathic. What she wants most is what other people have, perhaps because her own life exists on such a shaky foundation. When she crosses paths with Lily, she sets the two of them on a collision course that will come full circle ten years in the future.

I really liked this book a lot. It's not really a thriller-thriller; the focus is the book is more on the complex relationships between all the characters, and ALL of them have done terrible things. Which I think is why maybe people don't like this book. It's hard to read something and not have someone to root for. On the other hand, I always have a healthy amount of respect for authors who can write about unlikable people and still make them interesting, realistic, and complex. The ending was pretty satisfying, albeit bittersweet, although I wouldn't say it was particularly happy, either.

If you enjoy reading books that show people at their worst, and what they do when they get backed into a corner and desperate, this will be a great book for you. I'm definitely interested in reading more of this author's work. This would make a great TV mini-series, imo.

3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't mind if it was just adults being crap, but a kid being crap the whole book with them would just piss me off way too much. I have no idea what it is about me and kids, but they really piss me off both in and out of books. I mean I like them sometimes, babies can be pretty cute, but most of the time it's a nope.

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