EXCERPT: I approach the open coffin, balanced on trestles at the centre of the silent room. Heavy velvet drapes are drawn discreetly over the window, and in the corner a lamp is lit, next to an arrangement of silk flowers on a tall stand.
As I draw closer, I glimpse the tip of his nose against the pleated white satin of the coffin lining. The sight is so odd and other-worldly, it makes my head swim and the carpeted floor feel unsteady under my feet. My heart is pounding as I get close enough to see him; all of him.
I have no idea who gave the undertaker the suit and tie he’s wearing; I only know it wasn’t me. I take in the curve of his mouth, the sweep of his hair from his forehead, the angles of his profile. On his left hand is a wedding ring. I remove my own wedding ring and drop it into the coffin.
The only thought in my mind is that this is like one of those riddles you find inside a Christmas cracker. Because the man lying inside my husband’s coffin is not my husband. He’s a total stranger.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Since Alice’s fiancé walked out on her, she never thought she’d meet ‘The One’. But all that changes when she meets Dominic. Handsome, charming and kind, Alice can’t believe her luck when he proposes a few months later and moves into her West London home.
Three years on, Alice’s catering business is thriving and she is married to a man she adores. So when she sees that little blue line, it should be the happiest moment of her life: they’re going to have a baby. But then the police knock on her door and Alice’s whole world is turned upside down… Dominic is dead.
Distraught, Alice goes to identify the body. There’s no doubt that it’s her husband. Yet when his estranged brother comes to view the coffin, he insists the man lying there is not Dominic. Alice refuses to believe it at first, but when confronted with irrefutable proof, she finally has to face the truth:
The man she married is not the person he said he was. And if he lied about that, what else was he hiding from her?
MY THOUGHTS: The Man She Married by Alison James is the second book I have read and enjoyed by this author. It is told from two perspectives – that of Alice, and that of Dominic – over two timelines, now and then. This works well and is not at all confusing. It is interesting to see how the perspectives of the same events differ.
James has portrayed her characters well. Alice is a successful businesswoman whose personal life is a disaster. She is an orphan, has been jilted almost at the altar, and just wants to be loved. Dominic is charming – good looking and charming. He is polished and plausible. He is dangerous. Very dangerous. And Alice is his perfect cover.
This is one of those books that just sneaks up on you….I was reading along, thinking ‘Yeah, this is okay.’ when suddenly I realized that I was totally immersed in the story, and I read the second half in one sitting.
THE AUTHOR: Alison James. I was born in the Cotswolds but spent most of my formative years abroad. I studied languages at Oxford, then became a journalist and author, returning to university after my two children to take a law degree.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Man She Married by Alison James for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3085459102