A husband. A wife. A lover. Each has a secret they’d kill to protect . . .
From the author of Little Deaths, shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction, comes the sensational Other Women. Mesmerising, haunting and utterly remarkable, Other Women is inspired by a murder that took place almost a hundred years ago. A devastating story of fantasy, obsession, and ultimately the lengths we will go to in order to save the ones we love.
Six years after the end of the Great War, the country is still in mourning. Thousands of husbands, fathers, sons and sweethearts were lost forever, and the sea of women they left behind must carry on without them.
But Beatrice Cade is not a wife, not a widow, not a mother. There are thousands of other women like her: nameless and invisible. Determined to carve out a richer and more fulfilling life for herself, Bea takes a job in the City and a room in a Bloomsbury ladies’ club. Then a fleeting encounter changes everything. Her emerging independence is destroyed when she falls in love for the first time.
Kate Ryan is a wife, a mother, and an accomplished liar. She has managed to build an enviable life with her husband and young daughter. To anyone looking in from the outside, they seem like a normal, happy family.
On the south coast of England, an anguished moment between lovers becomes a horrific murder. And two women who should never have met are connected forever.
What a beautifully written, riveting historical novel Other Women is – based on a true case, which makes it all the more interesting!
Other Women follows two women in London in the 1920s, both linked to one man: the enigmatic, charming Thomas Ryan, a salesman at the company Bea works at, and husband to Kate, who has a daughter with him. We move between the two characters’ perspectives, back and forwards in time as we slowly unpick what happened to lead to the terrible incident that we are aware of from very early on – which Thomas is ‘helping the police with’.
As we read more, it soon becomes clear what has happened, but there are two different stories coming out as we see the trial unfold. We learn about societal expectations of the time as we follow Bea’s story – as an unmarried, older woman she feels judged at every turn, and I really felt for her. Similarly, I had a lot of empathy with Kate and was glad the book ended the way it did (when I was reading the novel, I didn’t at that point realise this was based on a true story. When I found this out, it only added more to my interest!)
The way Emma Flint crafts these characters is just brilliant. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just finish by saying that I was completely absorbed in them, the story, and did not want to put this book down. Combine this with the brilliant writing, and you have a wonderful historical crime novel. Highly recommended!
MY RATING: 5/5