Ooops, surely no one who blogs is as scatterbrained as I, but as a reminder it is always a good thing to hit “publish” before leaving the blog. Yep. I really am that
I wanted so badly to read Jo Furniss’ first book but never could get my library to get it for me so I was really thrilled to receive a copy of The Trailing Spouse, her second book which you can now find at “most” libraries and at Amazon
The Trailing Spouse follows the story of three characters, each of whom have a relationship with a man, Edward Bonham. Amanda, his wife, who traveled around the world to Singapore to be with Edward. She is “the trailing” spouse, a phrase used to describe the spouse who follows the person with a job wherever that job takes them. Here, Amanda has left Great Britain to move to Singapore, a city built on illusion, beautiful yet filled with horrors. This imagery is present throughout the marvelously crafted story. Camille Kimball has returned to Singapore to find answers from her childhood, her missing parents, and closure to her past. And, there is Josie, Edward’s daughter who still is recovering from her mother’s apparent suicide. Her relationship with Edward is a strange one, to say the least. As the story progresses, the web around these characters grows and becomes more intricately tangled until the climactic conclusion.
Furniss has woven a story that is both beautiful and frightenly realistic. Amanda is, at first, described as the very typical “trailing spouse” who is interested only in being in a glamorous place and with the money that most often goes with the move. These spouses have no rights, very little ability to work independently, in many countries – such as Singapore – they cannot have a bank account in their name or conduct financial transactions on their own. They are, therefore, totally reliant upon their spouses for all of their needs. After her maid, the helper, is found dead, Amanda’s precarious life begins to unravel. As we watch her life come undone, we are left to ask ourselves “who is sane, who is not and how can we know who is telling the truth.” The answers will shock you!
I will admit that I was fascinated with the story and its setting. I had heard from those who had traveled to Singapore about its beauty but, more often, about the illusion upon which this city is built. It has more millionaires and billionaires than any other country; it is, quite literally, one of the richest places on earth. And yet, its people have limited freedom and its immigrants, often used for servitude and menial jobs, are often abused and exploited. Furniss does an excellent job recreating this side of Singapore’s tale. Her writing is skilled, filled with picturesque imagery and it was this craftsmanship that elevated the book for me. However, there are parts that drag as a result of too much detail. There were times that I really did not want to read another word about Amanda’s embryos calling out to her or dancing in the freezer. While this storyline added depth to Amanda’s character, it wasn’t entirely necessary to the actual plot so, for me, it dragged on too long and too often. It does not take away from the overall suspense of the book, but it does keep it from being a non-stop, page turning thriller. Despite this, I loved the book and absolutely recommend it for all who enjoy suspenseful tales. You won’t be disappointed.
I owe much appreciation to #JoFurniss, #Netgalley, and #LakeUnionPublishing for my copy of this terrific book!