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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Willig comes a scandalous audiobook set in the Gilded Age, full of family secrets, affairs, and murder. The English Wife is high drama and sure to impress listeners everywhere.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: He's the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor house in England, they had a fairy-tale romance in London, they have three-year-old twins on whom they dote, and he's recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and named it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she's having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors, and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball; Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned; and the papers go mad.

Bay's sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to try to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

©2017 Lauren Willig (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"A dark, romantic mystery full of twists and turns." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Willig's audiobook, set in Gilded Age New York and London, is a mix of romance, mystery, and murder. Narrator Barrie Kreinik is a perfect fit for the mix of British and American characters...Kreinik's reading is slow-paced, allowing the tension to build as the story unfolds." (AudioFile Magazine)

"The English Wife is atmospheric, romantic and heart-breaking.... The enthralling story, coupled with Barrie Kreinik's outstanding narration, makes it an audiobook I'd definitely recommend to anyone looking to enjoy an intricate, well-constructed and character-driven mystery." (AudioGals)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • A.
  • Merritt Island, FL, United States
  • 01-30-18

I'm recommending this book to my friends

Great mystery. I got it all wrong when trying to figure out who the culprit was.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not sure what to call this… Turn of the century mystery romance?

I had high hopes of this when I started listening and it bore up fairly well most of the way, but a mediocre turn by the narrator and some pretty cliché-ridden writing/dialogue ultimately sunk the experience for me. Considering it at the end, I realize the writer is better with the mystery than she is with the romance. The thing is, when you are reading a story with somewhat heightened drama and romantic suspense, you expect the writer to tie things up fairly neatly at the end, which doesn’t happen here. Virtue triumphs, etc. (I expect no such thing from grittier tomes, but this was not one of those.) Spoiler alert: a rather nasty rapist goes unexposed and relatively unpunished, and the title character is whereabouts unknown at the end. Perhaps the author is imagining a sequel? I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading it. Oh, and the narrator? Too much acting in the narration portions. Decent accents, but some words mispronounced. Do these things get directed anymore?

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting

Couldn't stop listening. So drama packed! This book is a must read for snow days.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Loose ends

I was entertained by the story and characters but it is never explained why the chimney blew up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too much like a formulaic romance novel

Sappy, predictable lines and characters, nothing remotely unique to offer. I was embarrassed people might hear me listening to it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Left with some missing pieces

Although I enjoyed the time period and the colorful scenes, I have reservations about some of the characters. Clearly the author is well acquainted with Shakespeare and the classics, but her portrayal of the mother was far from subtle and seemed flat. She was never allowed to be anything other than a gorgon, and very unsympathetic. With so many ends left loose, the high drama of fire and young romance seems a bit trite. Why did Lacy leave so quickly when he still needed funds? Obviously the mother had to be removed from the scene for the young and ignored daughter to find herself. A bit trite and predictable but still well written enough to be entertaining.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very intense

The start of this story is a bit slow but if you stay with it you will find yourself stunned at the twists and turns it takes. Has lots of levels of development and interesting characters. Really enjoyed this story. The reader was great and easy to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Period Piece

19th century New York--gotta love it! I've listened to most of Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series--most were great, some not as good as others. The English Wife was something of a change of pace--though it still contains plenty of mystery, intrigue, and excitement, it also contained more serious themes such as homosexuality and divorce (in the 19th century) than her other novels. I also thought some of the characters were developed more thoroughly--for the most part almost all of the characters were neither all good nor all evil--the "evil" characters contained some redeeming qualities, while the "good" characters had sometimes major "true to life" flaws. However; if you like a complete resolution at the end and no cliffhangers this might not be the book for you. I'm not giving anything away by saying that the ending left several characters and issues unresolved.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another hit from Lauren Willig

I love everything Lauren Willig has written (I am in the midst of my annual re-listening to the entire Pink Carnation series), and this is no exception. I thought I had it figured out several times, but the ending still surprised me!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Who can you trust?

This listen kept me fully engaged from start to finish! There are odd relationships, hints of betrayal, murder and possible abduction, family dysfunction and a strong protagonist trying to sort it all out. Definitely, you can count on needing to use your powers of deduction to keep ahead of the storyline on this one!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • S. Jones
  • 01-27-18

Edith Whartonesque Tale with plenty of intrigue

Very enjoyable listen - great story and also well narrated. Modern day version of Edith Wharton