Oh William! (Amgash #3) by Elizabeth Strout

Publication date: 21/10/2021

‘Oh William, I thought. Oh William!’

I am intrigued. After reading ‘Oh William!’ I realised that I should have started at the beginning, by reading ‘My name is Lucy Barton’ and then ‘Anything is Possible’. I feel like I know Lucy Barton, after reading ‘Oh William!” but I want to know her better: all those references to her earlier story have me intrigued. Oh yes, it is possible to read ‘Oh William!’ as a standalone: it is a story about family and about secrets, largely self-contained. But I have a feeling that my appreciation of this novel will be deepened once I have had an opportunity to read the earlier novels in the series.

Lucy Barton is now 63 years old, and recently widowed. David Abramson, her late husband, is a man with whom she felt comfortable. They understood each other, they supported each other. The William of the title is Lucy’s first husband, the father of their now adult daughters, Chrissy and Becka. William has married three times and has not been faithful to any of his wives. And now his third wife has left him. William is now 71, and despite their marriage breakdown and subsequent marriages, Lucy and William have remained friends. And so, it is to Lucy William turns when he wants help with unravelling a family secret.

Lucy and William embark on a journey, into a past that William was unaware of and into a shared past which has Lucy sharing her insights and reflections. I enjoyed this novel, although I wanted to shake William more than once along the way.


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

Jennifer Cameron-Smith