by Jane Corry
Expected publication: June 29th, 2017 by Penguin
My Husband’s Wife was the debut novel by Jane Cory and I read it earlier this year. For a debut, it was not bad even though it didn’t leave me itching to turn the pages so fast. When I saw that she has a new book coming up I got excited and even more excited when I received an ARC, which I am thankful for.
The narrative surrounds an accident that happened years ago. An accident that left one girl dead, another bound to a wheelchair and one who has no physical scar but she has mental scars.
Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.
Within an hour, one of them is dead.
Kitty and Alison never got along when they were younger and the accident only drives them further apart. On top of being bound to a wheelchair, Kitty’s speech was also affected by the accident. She is then taken to a center that caters to people with special needs by her mother due to the difficulty in taking care of a special needs child.
Kitty is also left with no memory of what happened which means Alison is the only reliable witness. Alison, on the other hand, is trying her hardest to keep everything from that day in the past. She is burdened with so much guilt that she cannot bring herself to visit Kitty in the home she’s in.
But what really happened that day?
Who was responsible for the accident?
Why does Alison carry so much guilt?
Jane Cory explores disability without the story being all about the disability of Kitty. You get inside her head and get to experience, in some sense, the thoughts of a person who can barely express what they need to. This was an interesting side of the story as she writes in the POV of Kitty. In terms of unique POVs, this almost felt like Room by Emma Donoghue.
I enjoyed this much more than I did her debut novel, My Husband’s Wife, but I will definitely be picking up her future books. So why did it receive a lower rating?
The storyline with Alison was a too much for me. I think the secrecy on her part was a little off that when the truth was eventually revealed I was not moved. It was just meh…
Also, the beginning felt off. It didn’t capture my attention and I could have easily put it down and moved on without ever picking it up again. But it got a bit better as I went on.
I also found myself invested in the narration from the past more than that from the future. It had nothing to do with wanting to find out what had happened but more to do with the presentation of the narration from the present. She did a better job with the story in the past or maybe the present was just not that convincing.
And totally unrelated to what I did not like, what’s the author’s connection to prisons?
I just checked; she has worked as a writer-in-residence at a high-security prison for men. This explains a lot! Her first novel centered around a lawyer and a prisoner she was defending. In this one, Alison works part-time in a prison as an art teacher.