The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells

A perfect novel for a rainy day!

The Wife’s Tale by Christine Wells

‘Strange the way life can change in an instant.’

Liz Jones, a corporate lawyer, is about to take a much needed one-month holiday with her husband Tony, followed by a two month break to renovate their home.  They are due to leave in a few hours when Liz’s boss, Nick ‘phones her.  He wants to meet her to discuss some urgent business.  Liz should have ignored the call, but she thought she had enough time to meet with Nick before travelling to the airport.  Nick has a job for Liz, which involves travel to the Isle of Wight.  Nick wants to buy a property there.  And, after she misses the plane and can’t contact Tony, Liz decides to accept Nick’s job.

Liz travels to the Isle of Wight, to the Seagrove estate, where she is to stay as a guest in a cottage while delving into the past on Nick’s behalf.  Seagrove, Liz finds, is linked to a notorious eighteenth century court case.  While Liz tries to find out more about the infamous Lady Delany Nash, she comes to know the present owner, Lord Theo Nash, his sister Gemma, his daughter Maddie and his fiancée Valerie.

Two separate stories unfold in this novel.  First there is Liz’s story in the present which involves the current inhabitants of Seagrove, and the eighteenth century story of Lady Delany Nash which largely comes to light through her journals. And what is the truth?  Did Lady Delany Nash have an affair with her husband’s brother?

Ms Wells writes an absorbing story. While the present-day ending is largely predictable (and no less enjoyable for that), it was Lady Delany Nash’s story which particularly held my attention. Moving between the two stories kept me turning the pages, wanting to know what would happen next.  Would Lady Delany Nash be vindicated?  Would Theo stay with Valerie?  Could the present-day Nash family save Seaforth?  Would Nick achieve his objective? And what about Liz?

‘The Wife’s Tale’ is a blend of historical and contemporary fiction, with elements of mystery and romance.  A perfect rainy day read.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

#AWW2016

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