FICTION

Wife After Wife

Berkley. Jan. 2020. 464p. ISBN 9780593101834. pap. $16. F
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The basic premise of this new telling of an old story by Hayfield (children’s author and editor Sue Copsey) reimagines Henry VIII morphed into a Rupert Murdoch–type figure, without having learned a thing in the past 472 years. Harry Rose is a British business tycoon whose media empire puts him near the top of every list of billionaires worldwide. This fast-paced, fun, engrossing read follows his marital trail of tears. Being married to one woman doesn’t work for Harry; he has one affair after another, and some of the mistresses even become wives. There are children, divorces, and death, but it is the burgeoning #metoo movement that forces a comeuppance for Harry, retribution for at least several of his wives, opportunities for his daughters, and a fitting end to this ultimately feminist tale.
VERDICT This story will resonate with readers, even those less familiar with British royal history. For fans of updated Jane Austen books, such as Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible, and those who are ready to branch out.

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