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Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Wife's Tale by Christine Wells

Title: The Wife's Tale
Author: Christine Wells
Publisher: 2 May 2016 by Penguin Books Australia
Pages: 421 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: womens fiction, historical fiction
My Rating: 4.5 crowns


An unforgettable novel that transports the reader from modern-day Australia to the windswept Isle of Wight and the courtrooms of London in the 1780s.

With her marriage on the rocks, workaholic lawyer Liz Jones agrees to visit Seagrove, a stately home on the Isle of Wight, while she quietly investigates its provenance on behalf of a client. When she discovers Seagrove is linked to a notorious eighteenth-century court case, Liz becomes fascinated – not only by the house and its history, but also by its current owners.

In the winter of 1789, the infamous Delany Nash scandalised London when details of her alleged affair with her husband's brother were aired in a public courtroom. Yet her journals reveal an extraordinary woman's tale of passion, betrayal and heartbreak.

Captivated by Delany's story, Liz delves into her research but the more she uncovers, the more she risks jeopardising the future of everyone at Seagrove. For there are dark secrets that surround the house, and when the truth emerges the repercussions will echo down through the centuries.
The Wife's Tale is a mesmerising story of love, loyalty and sacrifice.

My Thoughts

‘The Wife’s Tale’ is the perfect blend of historical and contemporary fiction, with a sprinkling of  mystery and romance, you have a great read. I loved how Well's slowly revealed and unravelled the suspense for both timelines - for this is a dual timeline narrative and one done well, which I will expand on shortly. Well's cleverly builds up the plot and characters and the movement between the two eras really is quite seamless. 

Most of the story revolves around 'Seagrove', a grand old house on the Isle of Wight. In the past we have Lady Delany Nash a fabulous heroine and you feel for her and the 18th century restrictions society placed and branded her with. In a time when women had very little influence/power, she demonstrated such strength. In the modern timeline, there is Australian lawyer Liz, who becomes fascinated with Delany’s story and digs deeper through reading her journals.

 "To feel as if you belonged to the house even more than it belonged to you."

I love dual timeline stories, yet they can be difficult to write. Fear not! Christine Wells has pulled it off brilliantly. Both stories captivated me from beginning to end - what a treat! Two for the price of one. It was testimony to great writing, that I was so invested in both storylines and both leading ladies - the characters feel so real. I wanted to know what happened to both Delany and Liz, wishing them both a happily ever after. 

Well's has done her research and intertwines fact and fiction seamlessly. The mystery is well done and the touches of humour add just enough not to confuse genres:

"This bedroom belonged to Lady Mary on Downton Abbey, not to her."

I highly recommend this book as it presents the story of two strong women. I loved the setting, the characters, the story, the mystery, the romance - everything! It's one of those books that you find the time to read, as it calls to you. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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