Title: The English Wife
Author: Lauren Willig
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 2017
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Share-a-Tea; What's in a Name - Nationality
Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: he's the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he's recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she's having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay's sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?
This was my first Book of the Month selection from December 2017. I didn't get the book until I returned to California, but was super excited to read it. I loved Willig's Pink Carnation series and hoped this volume would also keep my attention. And keep my attention it did! I immediately dove into this historical murder mystery. Who killed Bay? What happened to Annabelle? I loved the premise and then really fell for the characters. Janie was my favorite character. I loved her growth throughout the book. I loved the family intrigue and secrets. Overall I really enjoyed Willig's story and writing. There were passages that reminded me of her Pink Carnation series even though this book was a lot more serious and straight forward. Definite recommendation!
I'm counting this book for part of the Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge. This was the perfect book to read while enjoying a nice cup of tea. For this particular book, I was enjoyed Zhena's Gypsy Tea's Raspberry Earl. Loved the hints of sweetness overlaying a classic black tea. Yummy!
Next up on the TBR pile: