THE ENGLISH WIFE by Doreen Roberts
August 12, 2006
THE ENGLISH WIFE was yet another enjoyable book from the NEXT series published by Harlequin. A widow, Marjorie Maitland, thinks that her husband had led a double life. In his will, he has left a cottage located in England. This in itself was a shock, and after searching for answers from his lawyer, and looking through her deceased husband's paperwork, she learns that Brandon had known this woman for as long as Marjorie and Brandon had been married. But she is not quite convinced that Brandon was having an affair all these years.
Marjorie, who was never really happy in her marriage to Brandon, knew there were no answers for her in Seattle. She goes to England to find this cottage where that "other" woman is supposedly living rent-free. What Marjorie learns at first confuses her, as it is not what she had expected. But she eventually realizes she now has a family in England, and it changes her life. Marjorie had no intentions of staying in England, but she falls in love with the quaint little village of Miles End, and as she grows to know and love the people who live there, she begins to form attachments.
Marjorie also meets an Englishman who becomes friendly with her, and he unexpectedly invites her out for drinks. Marjorie is afraid to make any serious commitments to anyone so she keeps her distance, confusing Dan as she sends him mixed signals. She doesn't realize it, but she is falling in love with him. But she does not think he feels the same way, knowing he is still mourning a wife he had loved deeply.
The longer Marjorie stays in Miles End, the more confused she becomes about everything, and she keeps postponing her trip back home to Seattle. She feels that Seattle is where her real home is, despite the fact that she has a new family, new friends, and no reason to return to the states.
THE ENGLISH WIFE is a wonderful story about a woman who learns to live again after the death of a husband who showed little love for her during their marriage. It is also about a widow who has no strong ties to her current life, but who finds a new life in a foreign country. The reader will enjoy seeing England through her eyes and experiencing her fear as she moves to a new country. They will feel her courage as she slowly learns to take chances. She is afraid to be hurt again, as she was hurt by Brandon, and it takes a lot to change Marjorie's mind about falling in love again. She has a very difficult time trusting her instincts and letting people inside her heart. Marjorie refuses to be fall for a man who she believes still loves the wife he lost a number of years ago.
The author, who is a native of England, paints the English countryside with picturesque words that detail the simple beauty of a small English village. One will want to venture out and explore this quaint village of Miles End, and will love how it feels to be out in the English rain, or how exciting it could be exploring ancient ruins just as Marjorie and Dan did.
The supporting characters are just as interesting as Marjorie is, and are more than one-dimensional characters. Gillian, the illegitimate daughter of Brandon and Eileen, starts off as a very unhappy and austere woman, whose only goal in her life is to take care of her three young children. But Marjorie changes all that, and with her help, Gillian learns there is more to look forward to than watching her children grow up. And Dan, the Englishman that shows an interest in Marjorie, is a sweetheart who helps Marjorie fall in love with the little village of Miles End, and teaches her that there is life after the death of a spouse.
Marjorie was a frustrating character, because one will feel that surely she couldn't be so afraid of love that she'd make any excuse to run away from it. At times she seemed to be one foolish woman. But despite her faults, the story was entertaining, the writing was highly descriptive, and the subplot involving the sad story of lost love between Brandon and Eileen definitely kept this reader interested. Marjorie's questions are finally answered at the end of the story, allowing her closure and understanding of a man who she felt deep in her heart never truly loved her. THE ENGLISH WIFE is highly recommended. - Courtesy of LoveromancesandMore