‘Another Woman’s Husband’ is the latest book by Gill Paul.
At the age of fifteen, carefree Mary Kirk and indomitable Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. Their friendship will survive heartbreaks, separation and the demands of the British Crown until it is shattered by one unforgivable betrayal.
Rachel’s romantic break in Paris with her fiancé ends in tragedy when the car ahead crashes. Inside was Princess Diana. Back in Brighton, Rachel is haunted by the accident, and intrigued to learn the princess had visited the last home of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, only hours before the crash. Soon, the discovery of a long-forgotten link to Wallis Simpson leads Rachel to the truth behind a scandal that shook the world.
I’m not the biggest fan of historical books, I sometimes struggle with that particular genre but when settled into Gill Paul’s first book with Headline Books, it seemed impossible to put the book down.
The story is spilt into two parts, taking place in 1911 when Mary Kirk met her soon to be best friend Wallis Wakefield and in 1997 when Rachel and her fiancée are in Paris right at the very moment that Princess Diana was involved in that tragic car crash.
The book then flows in alternating chapters as both Mary and Rachel are at important points in their lives.
Mary loves her best friend Wallis, a social butterfly who moves from party to party traveling all over the world with a path of broken hearts left behind. Mary loves listening to Wallis’ tales of adventures and love, she injects some excitement into Mary’s life, whilst Mary is content with her French husband, Jacques but are they are unable to have a baby which is driving the couple apart and Jacques to drink. Meanwhile Wallis is staying with the couple regaling them with tales of her adventures and catches the eyes of Mary’s friend Ernest and pursues him eventually becoming his wife, much to Mary’s dismay and leave for London, leaving Mary to deal with her drunk husband and sick mother. But when Mary falls for Ernest, their friendship falls apart but that is the least of Wallis’ problems as she has become the object of affection of Prince Edward, The Duke of Windsor who’s wiling to give up his crown for Wallis’ hand in marriage. Meanwhile after her surprise proposal, Rachel is excited to plan her wedding but Alex is consumed with wanting to know about Diana and the circumstances surrounding her death and begins to work on a television programme, taking up all his time and driving the couple apart and Rachel begins to wonder does she really know her partner at all.
This book is a gripping story that moves so fluidly and seamlessly through the years. The historic chapters featuring interactions between Mary and Wallis make for thrilling reading as the two characters bounce off each other. Mary is a warmhearted woman with a huge heart, which Wallis seems to regularly take advantage off, only coming to Mary in her hour of needs. Wallis is quite vain, self absorbed and is at her happiest when she is the centre of attention, particularly a man’s attention. I loved the parts of the story featuring Wallis and Mary, they are beautifully written, descriptive of vibrant parties, the flamboyant costumes and the terror of the impending war. Meanwhile Rachel, is also an interesting character, she’s driven after her antiques clothes shop is broken into and she has to find the money to keep the business going. She’s also fascinated by the era of Mary and Wallis and is familiar with the clothes that the fashionable ladies wore.
This book was a treat to read from the very beginning. Beautifully researched with lovely narratives and exquisite descriptions that set the scenery of the book throughout. It was also fascinating to read about Princess Diana and her last moments, I was a child when she died and remember all the press coverage but reading about it in more detail was interesting. It’s a turbulent and romantic story that travels through the years about two women that changed the monarchy, ‘Another Woman’s Husband’ is a stunning and glamorous story that tugs at the heartstrings.
You can buy Another Woman’s Husband from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.