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A Lost Wife's Tale
A Lost Wife's Tale by Marion McGilvary
by Marion McGilvary

A woman creates a false identity, leaving her past behind.  Once Agnes, she becomes the widow Edith Lutz.  Edith takes a job as a housekeeper for Adam Davenport, a wealthy divorced publisher.  Adam knows nothing of her past and yet he finds himself attracted to Edith.  Without even trying, Edith insinuates herself into Adam's life and yet, the closer they become, the more her past threatens to catch up with her.  And what about Adam's past?  At first, his divorce seems a distant reality but the status stated in the job interview changes.  Will the stories Edith makes up about her identity catch up with her?  Will Adam find out the truth about her?  What about the husband Frank whom she claims died?  With so many lies behind her, what are Edith's intentions?  When the world outside Edith and Adam's isolated domestic bliss comes crashing into their lives, Edith's past comes back in a way she never could have imagined.

Marion McGilvary's debut novel A LOST WIFE'S TALE is page-turning suspense with an emotional, psychological richness that builds alongside the action.  Gradually revealing the psychology hiding behind Edith's cover identity, Marion McGilvray uses the literary form of the narrative to give additional insights into Edith.  From the beginning, the reader knows Edith's identity is false.  Her motives are suspect, her actions odd and her character untrustworthy and even unlikable.  Narratives of her past break into the present first person narrative, creating even more mystery.  As Edith's romance with Adam grows, however, the reader's perspective changes.  One hopes with her that somehow against all odds the happy domestic scene will become permanent yet in the back of one's mind, a reader waits for past to catch up with Edith and the odd, almost fairy tale romance to come to an end.  Even knowing a twist awaits, several surprises await the reader as the past comes into focus with shocking truth upon dark truth.  Layer by layer, the narrative moves from the surface of Edith's cover identity to an inner vision of the character.  As Edith tells her story, the reader moves from outsider to insider.  The story itself changes Edith.

A LOST WIFE'S TALE works on multiple levels.  As pure story, the suspense mesmerizes.  The more I read, the more I wanted to read.  The more I thought I knew, the less I knew.  Yet by the end, the reader's vision becomes fuller than plot alone.  How exciting for a fiction and suspense lover! I expected a kind of dark twist on FATAL ATTRACTION and/or RABECCA, but what I got was different and much richer for that, not only in terms of the story but how the author uses the form of the narrative to move the reader, changing one's expectations alongside the narrator's.  A LOST WIFE'S TALE is an exceptional mixture of women's fiction, suspense, and literary fiction all in one.  Brilliant! 

Publisher: Harper (March 16, 2010)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
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