I do love an unreliable narrator! And that’s exactly what Elizabeth Huxley is. Living in the lap of luxury, it looks like she has everything her heart desires: a gorgeous, attentive husband, Lucas, two adorable, perfect children, a magnificent home, with enough help to ensure that she barely needs to lift a finger to do anything. But Elizabeth’s life is everything but the perfect picture that it appears to be. Behind the facade, she lives a life of endless tension and stress, forever trying to prove herself to her husband and attempting to stay one step ahead of the black dog of mental illness that is constantly snapping at her heels.
But then there’s our other narrator, Heather Shaw, who grew up in the shadow of the Huxley’s beautiful house. Of course, back then there was no Elizabeth and Lucas was a lot younger and living with his parents. Heather’s own parents have always been employed by the Huxleys, working in their gardens, seeing to the landscaping and reminding Heather at every opportunity they had, that they were just serfs to the landowners and should always know their place.
But now Heather is back, and things are very different. She and Lucas are much older, and she certainly has a much better understanding of the ways of the world, although her father is still intent on reminding her that they are purely servants in the world of people like the Huxleys. It’s immediately obvious that there’s history between Heather and Lucus. Just what that is, we’re not quite sure but as the story unfolds it becomes clearer. The tension makes for an uneasy undercurrent as Elizabeth is tested to her limits with arranging the party of parties for Lucas’s new business partner that will launch him into yet another stratosphere of wealth and position. Can she do it? She thinks she can … she’d like to … but there’s that gnawing, niggling doubt. And now that Heather has appeared, it’s really put a spoke in the wheels.
How well do we know those who are closest to us … those who are meant to keep us safe and protected? And when we judge a situation … do we always trust ourselves to get it completely right? What if we’re entirely wrong? And what if it leads to calamitous results?
In The Perfect Wife, Clare Boyd brings all these questions to the fore. It’s a 4-star read and an intelligent and masterful look at social justice and family responsibility that will possibly make you re-consider the way you consider the situations you’re faced within your own life. Ask yourself if you’ve chosen to surround yourself with the most appropriate people to suit your lifestyle and your sense of morality. You may be surprised!
Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.
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Thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to tour with them once again!