All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul

on October 25, 2017

Another Woman’s Husband
Gill Paul
Headline Review
2017, 439p
Copy courtesy Hachette AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

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. Rachel’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, Rachel 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…

I still remember where I was and what I was doing when the news broke that Princess Diana had died in a car accident in France. I was 15, it was a Sunday morning and I was having breakfast at my grandparent’s place. We used to go there every Sunday morning while my brother played a round of golf at the course that was 5m away from their place. My grandmother would cook bacon and eggs and inevitably there’d be some news/sports show on and I remember they did the “breaking news” thing. That’s 20 years ago now but I still remember it pretty vividly. I also remember that what came after it was just….mind boggling. Perhaps being so far removed from it over here in Australia and also not at all a monarchist, I was baffled by the outpouring of hysteria that seemed to come from millions and millions of people.

I’m a big fan of a historical and contemporary blend and this book fits that situation perfectly. Half the story follows Mary Kirk from the point in her life meeting Wallis Warfield (who would later become Wallis Simpson) at a summer camp. Mary is from a well-to-do east coast USA family and although Wallis is compelling, her family situation isn’t the greatest and they don’t possess a lot of wealth. Mary is Wallis’ gateway into society and the two form a very strong friendship even though Mary’s family aren’t entirely approving of the connection.

I know who Wallis Simpson is – someone abdicated for her, that’s something that most people would know I would imagine. But after reading this book, I didn’t realise how much more there was to her life story and I found that element of the book fascinating. I was definitely really invested in the historical aspect of the story and Mary and Wallis’ intense friendship that was rife with betrayal later on and ended very acrimoniously. I discovered that Wallis Simpson has a memoir and there are also many other accounts of her life written by others and I’ve added a few to my wishlist because I found this account of her life so interesting that I’d love to read more. This is told from Mary’s point of view so it’d be really keen to read something more focused on Wallis because it seems like her life was incredibly fascinating and there was so much more to it than I knew. I liked Mary as well, was astounded at her patience sometimes with Wallis and really wanted her to get what she wanted out of life.

I had less interest in the modern day story. I thought Rachel was great and loved the job she had. Rachel ran a vintage clothing store but really classic, often designer pieces that she picked up at estate sales or dispersals that she often fixed to restore to mint condition herself. She was really into her fashion and it was interesting reading about that. But her fiance was a complete twat and I spent most of the book wishing she’d come to her senses regarding his selfish behaviour and find someone who appreciated her more. And because a lot of that modern story revolved around Princess Diana, I found my attention wandering sometimes during it. I just don’t find Princess Diana all that interesting. I’m actually nearly the same age as the Princess when she was killed in the car accident and although I do see it as a tragedy that two boys lost their mother so soon, that she isn’t around to see them grow up, experience her grandchildren etc, that’s kind of the extent of my feelings about her life. I was never really into the Queen of Hearts ideal or the way that she was portrayed a lot of the time, nor am I a conspiracy theorist. The insertion of the characters into the scene of the accident did make me feel a bit uncomfortable though.

Despite that, I did really enjoy this book overall. As I mentioned, the historical component was fantastic – really enjoyed that and it’s made me determined to learn more about Wallis Simpson and her life and the circumstances that led to a King abdicating the throne just so he could marry her. I also liked the way it all tied together and Rachel’s determination to find some answers for her friend, and her loyalty to her fiance even after the way he’d behaved. A very enjoyable story and I will also look for other books by Gill Paul to read at some stage.

7/10

Book #174 of 2017

 

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