Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, Pamela Dorman Books!)
Summary: When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe. A convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to. For whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything.
But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants.
When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep sixteen years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller
After a whirlwind romance that included a proposal on the second date, Lily and Ed are learning that married life isn’t quite as easy as they had hoped. Lily is trying to make her way in the world of law while Ed has dreams of becoming a famous artist. It’s Lily’s first murder case that introduces her to Joe Thomas, a man that reminds her all too keenly of her past, but she can’t seem to back away. As she gets closer to Joe, a little girl and her mother move into the apartment next door…and Carla will change Lily’s life forever.
First thing’s first: there’s a lot going on in My Husband’s Wife, but it was this excess of elements that had me flipping the pages at a rapid-fire pace. Lily and Ed’s already rocky marriage, the reason why Ed decided to propose so early, Carla’s difficult time in school (bullied on end for having a single – and Italian – mother), Joe’s case and the aftermath, Lily’s connection with Joe, the married man Carla’s mother is seeing, an Asperger’s diagnosis…every single plot point had a purpose and as the pieces fell into place I was hooked.
The book begins in September of 2000 before making a jump to fifteen years later. What bridges the gap is a painting of Carla that Ed had created, titling it The Italian Girl. Because Carla lived across the hall from Lily and Ed, she was constantly at their apartment (mainly on the weekends while Carla’s mother worked – spent time with Larry) and it was during one of her stays that Ed decided to start sketching. Carla, all of nine years old and painfully lonely, was absolutely thrilled by the attention and eventually Ed turned those sketches into a painting.
Fifteen years later Carla and her mother have moved back to Italy (things didn’t work out with Larry.) Following in Lily’s footsteps, Carla went to school for law and she’s headed back to the UK for further studies – and perhaps reinsert herself into Lily and Ed’s life. That painting Ed did of Carla all those years ago? It was the break he was looking for. An anonymous buyer purchased it for an exorbitant price, instantly turning Ed into a household name overnight. Since then, he’s been trying to replicate the success of The Italian Girl and when Carla appears in the UK again, he couldn’t be more excited. Lily, on the other hand, isn’t quite as pleased. It was because of Carla that Ed was able to achieve his dreams – should they have given her money? Why is she suddenly back? Is Carla really interested in furthering her education or is there more to the story?
My Husband’s Wife is the kind of book that causes me to be purposefully vague. While I’m happily chatting away at what goes on in the novel, I’m hesitant to reveal how everything ties together. There’s a reason why this debut (!!) is getting such high praise and I’ll leave it at that!
My first read of 2017 was the fantastic The Girl Before by JP Delaney and now having read My Husband’s Wife, it’s clear that thrillers are killing it this year. Also, one rather dark reveal (and that’s saying a lot for My Husband’s Wife) reminded me of Black Rabbit Hall, my very FAVORITE book of 2016!
It’s so difficult trying to review a book you don’t want to spoil. Chapters alternate between Lily’s and Carla’s perspectives and Jane Corry doesn’t miss a beat. Her characters were so wonderfully drawn that, even though I didn’t particularly care for them (I don’t think you’re meant to – they’re all kind of horrible) I came to know them and needed to see their story through to the end. As lives spiral wildly out of control, Corry never loses her grip as I’ve seen lesser authors do when presented with such am ambitious story and numerous threads. That this is a debut is even more impressive and I’ll be watching to see what Jane Corry does next! Fans of psychological thrillers (and the newly coined subgenre, domestic thrillers) are sure to enjoy this one and I expect it will wind up on MANY thrillers of 2017 you need to read and, a few months from now, the best 2017 beach reads lists.