My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry was another of my holiday reads and it feels as though I read it forever ago.
It took me just under three days to read. Any spare moment I had I was reading it – as soon as we sat on the sun loungers, as soon as we got back to the room I was on our terrace reading it. I even wanted to get back to our room early after a couple of drinks in the evening to read it. I don’t think I have been that hooked on a book since The Girl on the Train.
Young lawyer Lily marries wannabe artist Ed after a whirlwind romance. Both unsure of themselves and each other, Lily is highly focused on her career while Ed struggles to get his paintings recognised.
Lily’s first big case involves a man accused of murdering his girlfriend. The man in question, Joe Thomas, unearths Lily’s darkest desires, she feels things she’s never felt for Ed. The pair sleep together and Lily soon becomes pregnant although we never know who the father is. Throughout the rest of Lily’s life Joe plays a very important character.
Running alongside Ed and Lily’s story is Carla’s and her mother’s. Struggling for money as a single mother, Carla’s mother has an affair with what turns out to be Lily’s boss who provides them with the money they need. The pair live down the hall from Ed and Lily and the newlyweds end up babysitting Carla. Carla, an Italian, feels completely different at school compared to everyone else and is ostracised. Ed takes a shine to Carla and decides to paint her. The painting allows Ed to hit the big time and the image becomes iconic.
Fast forward 10-15 years and Carla has studied law in Italy and is now back in the UK to finish her final year. She seeks Ed and Lily out and manipulates the pair into giving her money for what she’s owed for the painting.
The spark is reignited with Ed and Carla and they begin an affair. Lily soon finds out and wants revenge. But the sweetest revenge for her is out of her hands as Carla soon finds that life with Ed is not what she thought it would be. Now married to each other and with a child, Ed turns to alcohol as a way to cope with his failing art career (he is never able to emulate the success her had with his ‘Italian Girl’ painting).
In a fit of rage when Ed thinks Carla is now having an affair Carla stabs Ed and flees as she thinks she’s killed him. And here is where Joe enters again. Lily gave Joe a key to the house to check up on the pair and Joe seeing Ed with a knife in his chest takes the knife out which is the nail in the coffin for Ed.
Carla is then accused of murder, as no one knows about Joe entering the house and asks Lily to be her lawyer. Lily accepts but Carla is convicted of murder.
There were an awful lot of back stories involved which did add to the overall tension. The only downside for me was the rather creepy story of Lily and her half-brother, Daniel’s relationship. The latter fancying the former and kills himself when he realises Lily is seeing someone else. The event happens when they were teenagers and is the reason Lily is attracted to Joe because he reminds her of Daniel.
It’s definitely a book you have to read quickly due to all the constant change in direction of the narrative. It’s a novel I kept thinking about for weeks afterwards.