Sunday 2 August 2020

Book ~ "The English Wife" (2020) Adrienne Chinn

From Goodreads ~ VE Day 1945 - As 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 2001 - Sophie 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.

During World War II, 18-year-old Ellie is living with her family in England.  She has been comfortably dating George for years and they are planning on getting married once the war is over.  Thomas is a soldier from Newfoundland who is based in England.  Ellie and Thomas meet at a dance, and though she tries to fight it, they fall in love and get married before Thomas is shipped off to Italy.  She doesn't hear from him for a long time and when she does, she discovers he has been shipped home to Newfoundland with an injury.  She joins him there with their son, Emmett, and discovers that life in rural Newfoundland is a lot different than England ... they have no electricity or indoor plumbing, the men fish and drink, and she's living with her in-laws (her mother-in-law hates her because she's English and Catholic ... it didn't seem like Thomas stuck up for Ellie to his mother and let her take the abuse).

On September 9, 2001, Sophie is flying from London to New York for a job interview.  Her plane gets grounded in Gander, Newfoundland.  Remembering her Aunt Ellie lives in Newfoundland, Sophie gets a ride and arrives at Ellie's house rather than staying with the rest of the "plane people" scattered around Gander.  Aunt Ellie is very pleased to welcome her long-long niece into her home and Sophie gets to know Ellie's son, Emmett, son-in-law, Sam, granddaughter, Becca (her mother, Ellie's daughter, had passed away) and Florie, Ellie's friend.

I'm not a fan of period books but I liked this one.  I liked the writing style and most of the characters (Dottie, Ellie's sister, was annoying).  It's written in third person perspective with the focus on wherever the action was.  I liked that it was set so much in Newfoundland and I found the author captured the flavour of their accents.  The book bounces around between three different timelines.  I don't usually mind this style but I found it took a while for me to catch the rhythm.  I found it odd that during the 9/11 week Sophie spent in Newfoundland, no one there was overly concerned there about the terrorist attacks.

The editing could have been better ... there was missing punctuation and typos (it's Port aux Basques not Portes aux Basques ... the author should know this since she's originally from Newfoundland).

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