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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Another Woman's Husband by Gill Paul

Title: Another Woman’s Husband
Author: Gill Paul
Publisher: 29 August 2017 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 464 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction, romance
My Rating: 4 crowns

Two women, divided by time, bound by a secret...
1911. Aged just fifteen, Mary Kirk and Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, continents, and the demands of the English crown, until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal...
1997. Kendall's romantic break in Paris with her fiance is interrupted when the taxi in front crashes suddenly. The news soon follows: Princess Diana is dead. Trying to forget what she has witnessed, Kendall returns home, where the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, will lead her to the truth of a scandal which shook the world...
My Thoughts

‘Another Woman's Husband’  is an intriguing tale of relationships, secrets, betrayals and forgiveness. It is a fabulous work of historical fiction - involved and well thought out, bringing characters and stories we all ‘know’ about  to life. Supported by factual information concerning Princess Diana and Wallis Simpson (as well as other historical figures of the time) you will be running to consult Google. Gill Paul does pretty much a flawless job at combining timelines, viewpoints and non/fiction.

Told from two perspectives, that of fictional character Rachel in 1997 and Mary Kirk (who you will be ‘Googling’!) from 1912 onwards. Mary Kirk was the close friend of Wallis Simpson, meeting as teenagers and remaining friends for many years to come. Most of us have heard of Wallis Simpson and her role in British history but this unique perspective is a real eye opener. Told through Mary Kirk’s eyes it’s just fascinating to read from the time they were teenagers through to the abdication and her marriage to a king. Being able to read the story, watching the drama unfold as if you were there, is mind blowing. Being predominantly a work of fiction, it’s difficult to differentiate between the non/fictional viewpoints, however, the author includes which parts were facts  at the end of the book.

This leads onto the skilled storytelling of Gill Paul. With a book focused on two such famous people from recent history - Diana and Wallis - it could easily become sensationalised. However, Paul deals with it in the most respectful and sensible fashion, shedding light on not one, but two scandals with good depth and honesty, thus providing real insight into what it may have been like at that time in history. You will find yourself transported to such a fascinating time and place with vivid descriptions of everything from fashion (lots of fascinating details), to cocktail parties - inclusive of extracts and paraphrased from letters shared between Wallis and Mary. Reading actual accounts at the end makes you appreciate not only Paul’s efforts at research but also how she bought possible events to life.

Obviously Wallis and Mary’s story is the more engaging one and I found some issues with the Diana link, particularly the relationship between Rachel and Alex. You do wonder how the threads of the two stories will be drawn together, and towards the end, the connections becomes clear and satisfying. I found this a most engaging read and loved immersing myself in the story of Wallis to appreciate the type of person who almost brought down a monarchy.  

‘She always had the air of a person who was searching for something more and would not be satisfied with an ordinary life.’

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

1 comment:

Mystica said...

Intriguing review.