It’s a historical fiction thriller, a genre Pamela Hartshorne is familiar with – and very good at - since she has already dealt with it in some of her previous novels, which I have reviewed here at FLY HIGH!
What’s the historical setting of the novel?
The story takes place in Elizabethan London between 1562 and 1590.
Can you briefly sum up the plot without giving away too much?
Well, this is what you find in the book blurb. I hope it is enough to tickle your curiosity: Mary is content with her life as wife to Gabriel Thorne, a wealthy merchant in Elizabethan London.
She loves her husband and her family, is a kind mistress to the household and is well-respected in the neighbourhood. She does her best to forget that as a small girl she was cursed for causing the death of a vagrant child, a curse that predicts that she will hang. She tells herself that she is safe.
But Mary's whole life is based on a lie. She is not the woman her husband believes her to be, and when one rainy day she ventures to Cheapside, the past catches up with her and sets her on a path that leads her to the gibbet and the fulfilment of the curse.
What’s the moral of the book?
Lies are unforgivable but betrayal is a curse.
Could you define the book with 3 adjectives?
Atmospheric, fast-paced, addictive. As for the third adjective, I’d like to explain why: once I started I couldn’t stop reading, I finished it in a few hours!
Any favourite quote?
I won’t tell you whose words are these, nor which part of the book they are from but I underlined them in my copy:
“No matter what I do, she will always be there, an unwelcome conscience, to remind me of my mother, to remind me of what I did and who I am.”
The opening of the book. Pamela Hartshorne really knows how to capture the reader’s interest from page 1. The beginning is more than “in medias res”, you find yourself right into the epilogue of the story wondering who those two women are. One of them is dead, the other one is alive. From that moment on you won’t be able to stop and will wish to understand what has happened, what their relationship is, and so on. Great device!
How/Where did you get your copy?
The story of where or how I get a book always gives it a special added value in my opinion. This one was sent to me by a very good friend of mine who met Pamela Hartshorne in York at the presentation of this novel. She bought a copy for me and had it signed by the author. (see image on the right)
How would you recommend it on twitter?
Very simply for what it is: "Perfect summer read for histfic lovers! Fast-paced, atmospheric, powerful thriller set in Elizabethan London: The Cursed Wife by Pamela Hartshorne. Discover more in my Q/A review".