Published by Headline Review
ebook & Hardcover : 17 August 2017 | Paperback: 2 November 2017
About the book:
From the #1 bestselling author of The Secret Wife comes a gripping novel that commences with the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and journeys back to the fascinating world of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor.
Two women who challenged the Crown.
Divided by time. Bound by a secret…
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…
Richly imagined and beautifully written, ANOTHER WOMAN’S HUSBAND is a gripping, moving novel about two women thrust into the spotlight, followed by scandal, touched by loss.
What I thought…
It was a pleasure to take part in the recent blog tour for this fabulous book…(I think you can guess where this review is going!). I love Gill Paul’s writing, having reviewed on the blog her two previous historical novels, No Time for A Lady (Crimea War) and The Secret Wife (the Romanovs), my excitement levels were sky high when I first heard that the next release would be another historical, this time featuring Wallis Simpson.
The story is set over two timelines and focuses on two historic events. The tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales in Paris in August 1997 and decades before, the life and marriage of Wallis Simpson. Wallis Simpson as many people will know was the cause of the then King’s abdication which rocked the monarchy in the 1930s. At the time, the intended marriage to a (twice) divorcee was considered a scandal and caused a constitutional crisis. This story which is comprised of fact and fiction, gave me a really good insight into those times and of the personality of the woman who was the cause of all the trouble.
Wallis’ story is told from the perspective of Mary Kirk, a friend from childhood and who was a constant in Wallis’ often turbulent life. Diana famously said that there were 3 people in her marriage (referring of course to Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles) however the same could easily be said of Wallis and her marriage to Ernest Simpson. Ernest Simpson, although he wasn’t perfect by any means, seemed to me to have the patience of a saint during Wallis’ obvious and very public shenanigans with the then Prince of Wales, later to become King
When I first started reading, I wasn’t quite sure if the story of Rachel and her fiance Alex would be a strong enough hook for me in comparison to Wallis’ and Mary’s story which fascinated me, although I was delighted to be proved wrong! TV producer Alex’s obsession with conspiracy theories around the Princess’ death was in danger of derailing his relationship with Rachel; I have to admit, I have never believed in the conspiracy theories and at times I lost patience with him, he was so fixated. Rachel however grew as a character throughout the story when endeavouring to overcome her own troubles by herself and the way her narrative connected to Diana and thus to Wallis, was really well done, without I felt, any totally unbelievable coincidences. I was particularly fascinated by the references and descriptions of the vintage clothing – which in its own way is fundamental to the story.
Wallis’ character is absolutely bought to life and although not knowing much about her I had a pre-conceived dislike of her. I have to say that by the time I had finished the book, I did feel some sympathy for her. She didn’t have an easy life and although this doesn’t excuse her betrayals and lack of sensitivity, I got the sense of a woman who was underneath, quite vulnerable, despite her brash exterior. She was certainly an intriguing character and this book has made me interested to find out more about her.
I adored Another Woman’s Husband and Gill Paul has yet again cemented her place in my list of favourite authors of historical fiction. As with previous books, the way in which her vivid descriptions and flawless storytelling bring historical figures to life with a blend of fact and fiction is superb. I can’t recommend this book highly enough and I think it is one which will appeal to a wide range of reader – whether or not they are familiar with with the story of Wallis Simpson and also those younger readers who may only be vaguely aware of Princess Diana. Diana would have been only very slightly older than me had she lived and the ‘Diana years’ are a part of history that I will never forget.
My thanks to Phoebe at Headline for the advanced reading copy.
At the time of this post, Another Woman’s Husband can be downloaded from Amazon UK for just 99p. An absolute steal!!
Related Posts: My Love of Vintage by Gill Paul – a guest post written for the publisher blog tour of Another Woman’s Husband.
About the author:
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.
Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.
Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.