This novel is the second in a trilogy, but thankfully it is written as a standalone as I haven’t read the first novel but found this was no problem picking up the story.
The Hidden Wife centres on the character of Anna Darton, who has renamed herself Vita Casey, and she has fled from London to Paris. She has established a new life for herself with her friend Nancy. Nancy is a dancer at Les Folies Bergère, and she revels in a lifestyle of parties, drugs and jazz music. Vita works at the cabaret hall as a dresser, not dance, and would prefer a more low-key life. She has dreams of opening her own lingerie business, but for now has to look after her friend Nancy, who is spiralling into a life of drug addiction.
But then an opportunity comes for Vita to work for the famous designer Jenny Sacerdote, so Vita makes the most of this opportunity, leaving Nancy to pretty much fend for herself. Vita works hard to follow her dreams, and along the way, an unlikely romance begins to blossom. But just when things seem to be working out for Vita, it all looks to come crashing down, with an enemy back in London determined to exact the most terrible revenge…
The Hidden Wife is sweeping historical fiction at it’s most fun. It’s set in Paris in 1928 and the reader can enjoy the Parisian jazz scene, wild parties, fashion and famous people, as we follow Vita’s story. She’s a character to cheer for her, while there are a number of characters that are clearly created for us to dislike immensely. But I found the ending a surprise – and I am now keen to read the third in the trilogy to see what happens to Vita next.
Reviewer: Karen McMillan
Macmillan Publishers, RRP $34.99