Published by Macmillan on March 8th 2018
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller
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A gripping historical thriller by the author of Time's Echo, Pamela Hartshorne.The Cursed Wife is a page-turning, psychological thriller set in Elizabethan London, by the author of Time's Echo, Pamela Hartshorne.Mary is content with her life as wife to Gabriel Thorne, a wealthy merchant in Elizabethan London. She loves her husband and her family, is a kind mistress to the household and is well-respected in the neighbourhood. She does her best to forget that as a small girl she was cursed for causing the death of a vagrant child, a curse that predicts that she will hang. She tells herself that she is safe.But Mary's whole life is based on a lie. She is not the woman her husband believes her to be, and when one rainy day she ventures to Cheapside, the past catches up with her and sets her on a path that leads her to the gibbet and the fulfilment of the curse.
The Cursed Wife is a fantastic read! The contrasting personalities of the two female protagonists gave such an interesting perspective and twist on the traditional historical fictions I normally read. Each woman was strong and interesting and I went back and forth over which one I preferred. In the end, I realized I loved them both for their own reasons.
Both Mary and Cat were strong, smart women in very different ways and they made their way in the world the best way they knew how. Mary was the more reserved, introspective, and delicate or the two, while Cat was boisterous, determined and became slightly unhinged. The role reversal was so interesting and was pivotal to the plot. I found that all of the various relationships in the book were very complex. Romantic, familial and friendships.
No detail was lost and I often felt that I could see and smell the captivating streets of Elizabethan London. I enjoyed the descriptive nature of Hartshorne’s writing and it added so much to the colour and ambiance of the story. The city streets were almost a character in themselves. From the house interiors to the storefronts and even the clothing each woman wore, I could easily picture the scene.
The supernatural was a subtle, but present, force throughout the book with the lingering curse and Peg the creepy doll. It gave just enough interest and mystery to the story without making it feel like an outlandish fantasy novel.
The ending was an exciting surprise! I certainly didn’t see it coming but it didn’t feel rushed or out of place. It fit within the pace of the story and wrapped things up while still leaving enough room for you to add more with your own imagination.
If you enjoy a good Elizabethan historical thriller, The Cursed Wife is definitely in your wheelhouse! It’s interesting, quick, engaging and surprising all in one and I had a hard time putting it down!