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Wednesday 5 October 2016

‘My Husband’s Wife’ by Jane Corry

Published by Penguin.
25 August 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-241-25648-0 (PB)

Families, relationships and the legal system all come under the spotlight in this tense psychological thriller, with glimpses into the art world and the heartaches and practical issues around coping with an emotionally unstable child thrown in for good measure.

Lily MacDonald is destined for success, but can’t quite believe it: a brilliant up-and-coming lawyer with a glamorous husband, but with a secret in her past which casts a shadow over the present. Carla is the small daughter of their beautiful Italian neighbour, an engaging child, but not without a few secrets of her own. Their lives become intertwined against a background of Lily’s involvement   in a knotty case which will both set her on the road to the top of her profession and cast yet more shadows over the next two decades.

Over those decades the secrets emerge and the web becomes more and more tangled, resulting in a complex plot which examines the nature of right and wrong, the difference between law and justice and the rich minefield of family dynamics. There’s even a healthy dose of sex and violence, though fans of the gorier kind of crime fiction will have to wait until the later stages of the narrative.

Freelance journalist Jane Corry has created a cast of characters who the reader may find it hard to sympathize with; I spotted only one really likeable person in the entire 500+ pages, and he wasn’t exactly key to the plot. But dislike them though we may, they’re very well drawn, and not completely without redeeming features.

The various legal procedures and attitudes which serve as a backcloth to the twists and turns of the eternal triangle feel right enough to convince a reader completely ignorant of that world, and have clearly been researched in detail, but that detail doesn’t overwhelm the storytelling: a common pitfall among debut authors, and one that Corry has avoided.

Perhaps in future novels she might try to introduce a bit more pace; this one was thought-provoking and offered some interesting insights, but  it wasn’t until the final quarter of My Husband’s Wife that the story really began to move along. But that too is a first-time novelist’s issue, and one which experience will mend. I look forward to Jane Corry’s next foray into fiction.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Jane Corry is a writer, journalist, and creative writing teacher. After spending three years working as the writer-in-residence at a high-security male prison she was inspired to write her first thriller. This turned into the summer 2016 hit My Husband's Wife.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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