A husband. A wife. A lover. Each has a secret they’d kill to protect…
Emma Flint ~ Other Women
Six years after the end of the Great War, the country is still in mourning. Thousands of husbands, fathers, sons and sweethearts were lost forever, and the sea of women they left behind must carry on without them.
But Beatrice Cade is not a wife, not a widow, not a mother. There are thousands of other women like her: nameless and invisible. Determined to carve out a richer and more fulfilling life for herself, Bea takes a job in the City and a room in a Bloomsbury ladies’ club. Then a fleeting encounter changes everything. Her emerging independence is destroyed when she falls in love for the first time.
Kate Ryan is a wife, a mother, and an accomplished liar. She has managed to build an enviable life with her husband and young daughter. To anyone looking in from the outside, they seem like a normal, happy family.
On the south coast of England, an anguished moment between lovers becomes a horrific murder. And two women who should never have met are connected forever.
The world may not be perfect, but it’s sometimes a good idea to look back on the past 100 years and see how far we’ve come.
Other Women is set shortly after the First World War, a time when women had stepped up into male roles and kept things moving while they were away fighting. Now the war is over, things can go back to normal. But what is normal?
Based on true events, this story is instantly gripping. We have two sides of the story, Bea’s and Kate’s, with limited information being revealed in each chapter. Although we initially see Bea as naïve and annoying, Kate seems secretive and suspicious. We immediately jump to conclusions about these two very different women, putting them on trial in our head.
As we read more, our opinions change. The women remain how we see them, but we begin to sympathise more with each of their situations. And then, we get angry. Not just angry at the likelihood of injustice, but for the snide comments in the court, the smug arrogance of the man who believes he can get away with a crime, because he’s a respectable family man.
Flint looks at themes of love, lust and betrayal. But at its core, there is also the sad reality of so many women who struggled to find their place in a changing world, and of the women who had no voice to shout about what they wanted. Despite women having the vote, few women were able to sit on a jury in the 1920s, something important in such a case as this one.
And yet, despite the anger, there is also the push for the women in this story to take control and fight for what they deserve. It’s said that ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ and in this case, we can see the truth of it from how Kate reacts and how much she is willing to sacrifice for love.
A powerful, well-written tale that will raise your heart rate and thank your lucky stars for how much better life is for women in the 2020s.
Thanks to Picador and Book Break for my copy. Opinions my own.