Another Woman’s Husband – Gill Paul

Royalty has always fascinated me and more so historical royalty, whether in the recent past or further back. I can recall asking my grandmother what it was like in 1936 when the King abdicated – she recalls it being an awful time and that it was just all so wrong and that Wallis woman had a lot to answer for.

The same as I can recall sitting with my grandmother and mother when we watched the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.

Fast forward to 1997 and the horrific accident which changed the world, royalty and perhaps history forever.

In this we mix the real with the fiction and it blends so well.

In 1997, Paris, a tunnel, a couple, Alex and Rachel, recently engaged seem to be stuck in traffic. An accident is up ahead. The events of that night put Alex and Rachel’s relationship through a test as Alex is obsessed about the theories of the death of Princess Diana and starts to push away Rachel.

Rachel is facing a test of her own, as her own business suffers a setback. But it seems the aftermath of the death is around everyone and Rachel is drawn back to the past.

Mary and Wallis beamce friends in Summer Camp in 1911 and their friendship stood the test of time until the end. Wallis was the more confident of the two, who used this to disguise her background and her real problems. Mary went along in her shadow, relinquishing friendships, loves and even the closeness of her family due to the friendship with this woman called Wallis.

This book taught me a lot about Wallis, about her first marriage was and the reasoning behind her second marriage and the almost game that was played with her “Peter Pan” – it was very much all a fantasy for Wallis and as soon as her obsession was over, the next toy needed to be played with. It seems to me though, that in the end her actions were her undoing, she was left with only one toy to play with.

It makes you stop and think about what if? What if in both storylines? The Wallis Simpson one for me was much stronger and well researched, I wanted to get to the end to then find out how much was true (the vast majority, even in some cases down to what was spoken) to how much was conjecture – a lot in terms of conversations where there was no evidence available.

The more modern plotline did jar me slightly I think because it was so recent and the perhaps setting of the characters who were in such close proximity to the final moments made it a bit more macabre. That aside it did have some interesting elements, especially as it tied back to the Mary and Wallis story and that perhaps we did not need the reminder of the death. For me I would like to have seen a different way of handling the events.

However this was really a fascinating book and littered with names in history who fascinate me and was brought together with a compelling storyline. Just how I like my historical fiction.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Another Woman’s Husband is out now.