It’s my turn on the BlogTour The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn.
Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. When not up a ladder or at the computer, she can usually be found rummaging through flea markets or haggling in the Marrakech souk.
Her second novel, The English Wife — a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland — is published in June 2020. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. She is currently writing her third novel, The Photographer’s Daughters, the first of a 3-book series, to be published in 2021.
About the book
Two women, a world apart. A secret waiting to be discovered…
VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action. Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.
Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…
September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.
Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…
Ellie finds herself torn between two men, which is probably an emotional situation enhanced by the turmoil of living through war and in a city being bombed every night. Fear and anxiety are not the right bedmates for sensible decisions, but rather of emotional surges and bonds made during difficult times.
The relationship she has with her sister is one that becomes brittle over the years as Ellie follows her heart. Something she is forced to delve into again when her niece Sophie is forced to seek her out during an emergency.
It’s historical fiction – a family saga that carries destructive secrets through multiple generations.
Chinn accurately captures what happens when sisterhood and sibling rivalry doesn’t adhere to the rules of normal dysfunction and instead wanders into hatred and betrayal.
This was the part of the story that resonated with me the most – the relationship between the sisters. It isn’t always a tale of support, love and protection. Sometimes being the people we are supersedes any genetic or blood connection, which also means the reality can be painful or simply mean the term sisterhood is obsolete because the relationship is non-existent.
It may seem like prime-time drama and fiction, but I found that aspect in particular had an air of authenticity.
Chinn also navigates the waters of family and blood connections quite well, and the essence of feeling at home or as if you belong somewhere. In regards to Ellie’s path as the stranger and ‘foreigner’ who comes to comprehend that home isn’t necessarily where you were raised.