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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Gilded Age Intregue

    The English Wife is an historical fiction with mystery novel set in high society New York & London and opens with the murder of Bay Van Duyvil, son of wealthy New York family and the death or disappearance of his British wife Annabelle. From there the story splits into two parts: the tale of his sister Jane in the aftermath of the shocking murder and the story of Bay's trip to Europe, five years earlier. This story captivated me from the shocking opening and kept me reading to find out what happened, through several twists and turns. The story is a sad one (opening with a murder), but also a bit hopeful at the same time. Lauren Willig does a good job of creating a world of opulence and restriction that these characters both inhabit and battle against. It was also interesting to see her portrayal of a 19th century court inquisition (I do love a good court case). This story had all the things I really like: a dual timeline, mystery, and a little romance. I did get this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, and my recommendation is to read it if you enjoy historical fiction and mysteries. In fact, I enjoyed this story so much, that I plan to go back and read an earlier book of Willig's that had gone on my DNF pile, The Other Daughter. I am looking forward to her next novel, for sure.
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    A Gilded Age mystery...

    Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil seem to lead a charmed life in the Gilded Age. They met in London and fell in love, returning to a privileged life on the banks of the Hudson River where his socially elite family holds sway. They seem to have a fairytale existence – her Tudor English home recreated in New York, wealth, twin three-year-olds they adore and a loving marriage. But is all as it seems? There are rumors Annabelle is having an affair with the architect who designed their home, Illyria. When Bayard is found stabbed and dying during a party at their home and Annabelle disappears, presumed drowned in the Hudson, the press jumps on the story. Bayard’s sister Janie works with a reporter to discover the truth, no matter what it might be. Did Annabelle kill Bayard and run away? Did he push her into the river as she was stabbing him? Why did he whisper “George” as he died? As Janie investigates, more and more questions arise about Annabelle and Bayard and what their lives truly were. There are twists, turns, alliances and heartbreak as the story of Annabelle and Bayard unfolds.
5

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