FIRST COMES LOVE. THEN COMES MARRIAGE. THEN COMES MURDER…
When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind.
But then she meets Joe. A convicted murderer who reminds Lily of someone she once knew, and who she becomes obsessed with freeing.
But is he really innocent?
And who is she to judge?
Lily is a lawyer, and Ed Macdonald is an advertising executive who dreams of giving it all up to concentrate on his art. When they meet at a party, Lily, who does not suffer from high self esteem, is swept off her feet and when Ed proposes shortly afterwards, she just can’t say yes quickly enough to being Mrs Macdonald.
But both Lily and Ed are keeping secrets; secrets that might start small but have a habit of growing with time.
Carla is a lovely young girl living at home with her single mother. Her mother has a ‘friend’ and in order to get some alone time, Carla’s mother persuades Lily to look after Carla while she is at ‘work’, an arrangement that develops into a regular weekend event.
Somewhat captivated by Carla’s Italian looks, Ed is inspired and paints Carla – and that painting is what makes finally leads him to his first success.
My Husband’s Wife is told in alternate chapters by Lily and Carla, though how truthful they are as narrators is an open question. As soon as they return from honeymoon, Lily is moved to the criminal division of her firm and is sent straight off to a secure prison where she nervously meets her first ever criminal client, Joe Thomas. Joe is appealing against his murder conviction – a sentence he received for killing his girlfriend Sarah.
Lily is jealous of Ed’s previous girlfriend. Ed is jealous of Lily’s consuming job. Things are soon quite fraught between the couple, as they begin to realise that hiding who they are and what they want from each other will take its toll on their already fragile marriage.
Lily is carrying a lot of baggage from her childhood and her frail ego leads her to invest too much in her client’s innocence. Over a period of 15 years we watch the characters develop . Lily and Ed’s marriage falls apart and their son Tom, born with Aspergers syndrome, is all that is left between them.
When Carla, now a young woman, comes back into their lives, the stage is set for a shocking and surpising denouement.
There are no immediately loveable people here, though I was inevitably drawn to the damaged Lily and felt sorry for Carla’s lonely childhood. Each character has flaws and seriously dubious moral integrity. But Jane Corry draws them very well and she imbues her characters with strength at the same time as she makes them lie and that gives the reader a book of substance to grapple with. These are complex people leading spotted, messy lives and trying to get through life any way they can, even when that involves lies, threats, blackmail and murder.
Well plotted, it is, surprisingly, a debut novel. I was not surprised to learn that Jane Corry spent three years working as writer in residence at a high security men’s prison – she uses that experience very well in her novel. I would definitely read Jane Corry again.
My Husband’s Wife was published by Penguin on 26 May 2016
This post is part of a blogtour for the novel. Other reviews can be found here :