The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss Lake Union Publishing August 14th 2018
Do you really want to know the truth?
Amanda Bonham moved halfway around the world to be with the man she loves. Although expat life in Singapore can be difficult, Edward Bonham is a dream husband and a doting father to his teenage daughter, Josie.
But when their maid dies in an apparent suicide—and Amanda discovers the woman was pregnant and hiding a stash of drugs prescribed to Edward—she can’t help but wonder if her perfect husband has a fatal flaw. And if he can’t resist temptation under their own roof, what does he get up to when he travels?
Camille Kemble also has questions for Edward. Recently returned to Singapore, Camille is determined to resolve a family mystery. Amid a jumble of faded childhood memories, she keeps seeing Edward’s handsome face. And she wants to know why.
For one woman, the search for answers threatens everything she has. For another, it’s the key to all she lost. Both will follow his trail of secrets into the darkness to find the truth.
My first question when I started this novel was, what is a trailing spouse? As I soon discovered, a trailing spouse is a wife or partner who follows their significant other to anywhere in the world where they may may be working. What is most extraordinary in our modern society is that the trailing spouse has no rights. If their partner dies etc then they are given thirty days to leave the country, pretty harsh, I thought.
The trailing spouse in this instance is Amanda Bonham. Younger than her husband Edward, she is reduced to living a life of leisure and luxury, with her only responsibility to look after Edwards teenage daughter. I am sure we would all love such a lifestyle but Amanda’s life changes forever when her maid commits suicide and that’s when this book got very interesting.
Furniss used Amanda’s lack of genuine friends to highlight how many expats can feel totally isolated and what was particularly brilliant was the amount of free time it gave Amanda to mull things over, to build events into epic proportions, not least her suspicions concerning her husband. Throw in an errant and strange stepdaughter and Amanda definitely had issues.
What I liked was the way in which Furniss broadened the storyline, bringing in another expat, Camilla, and her search for the truth about the disappearance of her parents many years ago. I loved Camilla’s tenacious and determined nature to discover the truth and as her and Amanda’s stories developed I began to wonder if they had some kind of connection.
Furniss drip fed little clues and hints, intertwining Amanda and Camilla’s stories until I thought I had it all worked out and then she threw in a huge twist that took me completely by surprise. the ending was certainly very dramatic and not what I was expecting which I always like in a good domestic thriller.
Yet, The Trailing Spouse is more than a domestic thriller. The characters have depth, are believable, and in Amanda and Camilla’s case, extremely likeable. I loved reading about expat life in Singapore and indeed about Singapore itself and, coupled with the humid, warm climate, provided the perfect setting for the novel.
It is a novel that I found both addictive and immersive, and could quite easily have read in one sitting.
I would like to thank Lake Union Publishing for a copy of The Trailing Spouse to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the UK, she lived in Switzerland and Cameroon, and currently resides with her family in Singapore.
As a journalist, Jo has worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle, The Economist, Business Traveller, Expat Living (Singapore) and Swiss News. Jo has also edited books for a Nobel Laureate and the Palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University. In 2015 she founded http://www.SWAGlit.com—an online literary magazine for writers in Singapore.
All the Little Children is Jo’s debut novel and she is working on a second domestic thriller to be released in 2018.
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