It’s no surprise that I love Lauren Willig. Especially her Pink Carnation series, but her standalones as well. I love how readable her books are, while still being full of historical information and literary references. Kind of like reading “chick lit” but with much more substance. When I saw Willig was coming out with a new standalone novel, I knew I had to try and get it off Netgalley, and I was lucky! I downloaded The English Wife a month or so ago, but didn’t start it until last week.
The English Wife opens with the death of Bayard Van Duyvil, the heir of an old Knickerbocker family in New York City in 1899. The rest of the story follows his sister Janie trying to discover the truth behind the murder, and also jumps back in time to when Bay meets his English Wife.
It took me a while to get into the book, but once I got through the introduction I was hooked. Willig does a wonderful job weaving together the two storylines and maintaining the mystery and making (almost) every character sympathetic (or at least understandable). Usually, when a book has two different storylines I like one better than the other, but not here. The mystery kept me on my toes, and remained true to the era and the story. I also love the amount of detail Willig puts in her novels, from the copious amount of research to the inclusion of other pieces of literature (in this case Shakespeare).