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Two women, a world apart. A secret waiting to be discovered...'An emotive and engaging read' Rosanna Ley'Rich, evocative and utterly immersive, this beautifully written book swept me away' Jenny Ashcroft'Evocative, sensual and authentic' Jane JohnsonVE Day 1945As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess' happiness is overshadowed by grief.
Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action.
Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do.
But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home...September 11th 2001Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city's history.
While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie's flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.
Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever...
As many of you know by now, I am partial to historical fiction. It is probably my favourite genre, because it can be so varied. There are historical fantasies, historical dramas, historical romances… the list goes on. Although it is my favourite genre, I’ve found that I haven’t actually been reading many historical fiction novels lately; instead I have been choosing books that perhaps could be considered a bit more escapist. I have been in a historical fiction reading slump, if you will.
Little did I know, all I needed was a really good historical fiction novel to bring me out of this reading slump. I mean this seems obvious looking back, but what can I say. I continued to add historical fiction novels to my TBR list, but none of the gave me a spark of excitement until I read the synopsis of The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn.
I am beyond glad that I read this book, because it is wonderful. The English Wife is a sweeping story of one very complex family with a lot of secrets. If you think your family is secretive or complex, just wait until you read about this one.
The narrative covers multiple time periods and locations – World War II in England, England in the 1960s, Newfoundland in the 1960s, Newfoundland in September 2001, and September 2011 in Newfoundland. Often when a novel includes so many different time periods it can be confusing; I did not find that to be the case at all in The English Wife. The first few chapters introduce the various time periods, and then the first part of the book alternates between two time periods. The events of the other timelines are revealed in the second part of the book, as well as a secret that I did not see coming at all.
During the World War II era, we are introduced to Ellie, Ellie’s family, Ellie’s fiancé George, and Thomas, the man with whom Ellie eventually falls in love. I was completely swept up by the romance between Ellie and Thomas during this period – it was just so sweet and lovely. I couldn’t get enough of these two. However, I also felt bad for Ellie’s sister and George, as they are cast to the wayside while Ellie is swept up in her new love and life. After the war, Ellie moves to Newfoundland with her new husband. Everything in her new home is completely different to Ellie, and she struggles to cope with her new life in a new country with a husband who is scarred by the war and in-laws who are not overly find of their only son’s new wife.
On September 11, 2001, Sophie, Ellie’s niece, is flying from London to New York. Sophie’s flight, along with dozens of others, is grounded in Gander, Newfoundland, after the terrorist attack in New York. Sophie has no idea when she will be able to get to New York, and finds herself meeting her aunt Ellie for the first time. Sophie was raised as a single child by her unhappily married parents. She has never known any other family, and she is suddenly introduced to an aunt and cousins. Watching Sophie grow and change as she adapts to life in this remote part of the world made for a wonderful reading experience. Her blossoming with Sam was lovely as well.
In September 2011, Sophie is flying back to Newfoundland for the first time in ten years. She has not seen her family in that many years, having been caught up by work in New York. She has been sent to the island by her work to try to convince the residents of a new hotel project, but things do not go according to plan. Sophie gradually starts to remember the person that she became during her week on this island ten years previously, and becomes reacquainted with her family and the secrets they keep.
This book is honestly just so wonderful. The plot is gripping, the romances were sweet, and the descriptions of Newfoundland made me want to get on a plane. I highly recommend this novel for any historical fiction fans, or anyone who loves to read about complicated families.
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