Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars53
4.0 out of 5 stars
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 5 September 2011
The First Wife is an interesting novel. Like Barr's previous novels, there's an edge of suspense to it. An edge that it isn't all as it seems and there's a certain aura to the novel where you wonder when the bottom is going to drop out and it's all going to go bonkers, it's all going to implode. I thought the initial plot was excellent. I was entranced by Lily Button, entranced that this young girl didn't know life, that her life revolved around her grandparents until they died and she was suddenly thrust into the world. I found Lily's naivete charming, rather than annoying, and I liked seeing how Lily became somewhat smitten with Harry Summers and how their relationship evolved once his wife, Sarah, killed herself in Barcelona.

I admit, I did find the suspense lacking a bit. Don't get me wrong, it was there, and like I said, I was waiting for it all to drop, but it was miles more sedate than The Sisterhood. The synopsis makes a big mention of a `shocking discovery' about Harry's wife Sarah but the action of the novel is relegated to those final 50/75 pages. Up until then, it's a fairly pedestrian novel. Very readable, but not what I expect from an Emily Barr novel. I still enjoyed it, mind, because Lily's story and how she goes from a practical hermit to being out in the world and making her own money is indeed very interesting. I liked the house where she lodged, I thought the family was lovely, and I liked her friendship with Al, and her burgeoning relationship with the Summer's. I also liked the story about Jack, a New Zealander fed up with his life and wanting to break free and visit Europe. It was all done very well, it just didn't make my heart race as much as The Perfect Lie did.

I must admit, I did find the latter stages of the book to be beyond the realms of believability. Lily takes off to Barcelona and I just felt that from what we knew of her thus far, it wouldn't be in her make-up to do that. I found it hard to believe that Lily would survive the bustle of an airport and the flight to Barcelona and the enormity of being in a city where people speak a different language. It might have been necessary to the plot, but it was entirely out of characters for me and it sort of spoiled it a little bit. You don't give us a character who in all of her 21 years has only ever left Cornwall a couple of times and then have her, on a whim (suspicious, or no) head to Barcelona. Nevertheless, the ending was very fast-paced and frantic and everything all sort of spilled out in one long shocking confession. I'd rather guessed most of it, I will admit, about Sarah, about Harry so it was rather anti-climatic in a sense, but still dramatic in others. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The First Wife. I don't personally believe it was as good as The Sisterhood, but it was good enough and I struggled to put it down!
0Comment9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Lily Button, abandoned by her parents and brought up by her grandparents who have recently died, finds that not only does she have nobody in the world, she also has no money as the cottage where they lived is heavily mortgaged and debts have to be paid. She is friendless as she has spent the last few years being their main carer and is frightened by the world in which she now finds herself. Almost suicidal she is rescued by Al from jumping off the harbour bridge and he tells her his story and how he had grown up in foster care, ran away, lived in hostels and on the streets and was helped by an old school teacher who took him in and looked after him. He finds Lily a place to stay and she gets a cleaning job at the house of a local celebrity couple, glamorous and exciting. Harry and Sarah Summers appear to have the perfect life and yet, when on holiday in Barcelona, Sarah slips away from her sleeping husband and throws herself into the sea.

After Sarah's death Lily finds herself drawn to Harry as he turns the full force of his charm her way. For the first time in her life she is adored and loved and secure but as their wedding date draws nearer and she realises that things are not what they seem, Lily decides to take a trip to Barcelona to find out what really happened on that ill fated trip. She is in for a nasty shock.

The First Wife is a real page turner and I could not put it down and the ending gripping and full of tension. All the characters are well drawn and believable and there is a second thread running alongside the story of Lily, that of Jack Baker in New Zealand who decides to forge a new life for himself after he finds his wife is cheating on him. He and Lily meet up in difficult circumstances and are both together when the final twist of the book is revealed which had been hinted at, but was still a surprise when revealed.

A really good exciting read and I am now going to hunt out Emily Barr's other books as I enjoyed this one so much.
0Comment19 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 May 2012
I'll start off by saying that I love a couple of Emily Barr's books, namely Plan B and Cuban Heels, each of which I've read quite a few times. It started out quite well, and I like the way she writes, but I just found the main character a bit unbelievable, and some of the plot twists frankly daft - I had to go back to see if I'd missed a bit, but I hadn't, it really was contrived. So not bad at all, and I liked some of the characters, but I kind of lost interest towards the end.
0Comment7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 October 2011
I first read a review about this book in the Daily Mail,and the title did not attract me at all, upon reading the review, I realised, that there were twists and turns in it, which prompted me to buy it. It is a " CANNOT PUT IT DOWN BOOK," without any doubt. I reccomend this to any one who loves a twist in the tale.
0Comment6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 September 2011
This book tells the story of 20-year-old Lily Button who, after her grandparents pass away, realises she has very little in the world, so, she leaps at the chance to work for celebrity couple the Summers. However, she soon discovers that all is not what it seems between the couple when wife Sarah Summers unexpectedly throws herself into the sea.

Unfortunately there seems to have been a bit of an influx of stories centering around this type of storyline recently, which did somewhat tamper my enjoyment of this book. Don't get me wrong, the story is good and is told wonderfully - I can't fault Emily Barr's writing. Lily is written as a loveable and appealing character, despite being flawed in her naiveity. I think had I have read this book before reading Dorothy Koomson's The Woman He Loved Before and Louise Douglas's The Secrets Between Us, I would have probably have enjoyed this book even more. It's just that I felt that I had already read the story before and felt I knew where it was going.

This isn't completely the same as the other two books that I have mentioned though. There is an additional character in this in the form of Jack, who is seemingly unconnected to everything else that's going on in the story, and yet he comes into his own later on in the book and it's then that it's clear to see why he was introduced.

All in all this is a good read. It's much more than you're average chick-lit book as it focuses more on a psychological angle of storytelling, and it leaves you guessing from the very first page.
0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 September 2011
Started reading 'The First Wife' on Tuesday night and just finished it over my work lunch. A great page turner book...
0Comment6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 15 October 2011
This is one of three novels around at the moment with a similar theme ie a missing first wife as in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. So while the plot is not necessarily totally original, this is a cracking read. I read it in 2 days as I could not put it down.
It centres around a very naive young girls called Lily who until recently led a very sheltered life with her now deceased grandparents. She starts working for a local golden couple, but then the wife throws herself in the sea and drowns.
As time passes Lily falls in love with the widower Harry, yet there is a certain niggle in her mind that perhaps all is not quite as it seems. What follows is tense and exciting.
I loved it!
0Comment3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 April 2012
Another brilliant, mesmirisg novel from Emily Barr. This one tells the stoy of Lily Button, 20 years old and all alone after the deaths of her grandparents whom she has looked after for years. Lily has no family and no friends and no idea how to get on in the world. Acting on the advise of the CAB she finds a room, her first ever friends and work as a cleaner. Amongst her clients are Harry and Sarah Summer, a glamorous couple that she meets briefly before the shocking death of Sarah. Lily continues to clean for Harry and months later he and Lily become more friendly and soon Lily is set to become the Second Mrs Summers and then she uncovers something that could mean all is not as it should be...Lily is sweet and innocent with not much experience of the real world but from somewhere she pulls together the confidence to try to unscramble the mystery...but will she put herself in danger?
A very believable story that grips you from the very first page and keeps its hooks in you right to the end. Not as dark as some of her previous novels, this nethertheless keeps up the momentum and has our hearts racing because despite a certain inevitability towards the end, you are only given a hint or two in passing about what could be amiss; the reader is taken in as much as Lily and lulled into a certain sense of security before having it ripped away with an exciting if not totally unexpected climax.
With the beautiful and very true descriptions of Cornwall interlaced with the subtle ensnaring of Lily and the engaging tale of her finding her way in life, this novel has it all, you won't want to put it down.
Emily Barr never fails with the suspense she builds up in her novels and I'm always excited when she has a new book out, she's never failed to entertain and grip me with her novels. Keep 'em coming!
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 October 2011
I found the story very realistic and sad: the young woman protagonist of the novel soon finds herself alone when her grandparents, with whom she had always lived, die. She struggles to find her place in the world and she seems to succeed, gaining her 'host family''s affection and finding a job as a cleaner for a couple of rich and famous. The whole process of finding herself and a way to live after she's been secluded for years in her grandparents' house is very realistic and makes the reader connect with her... then, when she becomes the love interest of her employer, the reader already knows that's too good to sound true...
0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 September 2014
Lily Button is 20, and has lived a very sheltered life, raised by her grandparents. When they die she finds work as a cleaner and is employed by local celebrity couple, Harry and Sarah Summer. After the death of Mrs Summer, Lily grows closer to Harry, but gradually she starts to have suspicions that Harry is not being entirely truthful with her about events in his marriage.

This is a strange book to get into. It feels reminiscent of Victoria Holt's novels (even the Cornish setting) about innocent young women straying into the path of widowers with secrets. It could equally be a Hitchcock film, with Cary Grant as the handsome Harry and perhaps a young Katherine Ross as Lily. It doesn't feel like a book written in 2011, even though it is indisputably set in the present day. Lily's innocence and naivety is also hard to believe in - although really, there isn't a character in the book that feels like a real person.

So I spent the first half of the book being vaguely irritated by it and really, just continuing because I was curious to see what was going to happen. In the second half things start to come together and the final hundred pages are genuinely "can't put down" reading. So an intriguing plot, but a less than compelling narrative.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.