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Book Review | The Editor’s Wife by Clare Chambers

We’re delighted to be sharing Laura’s thoughts about The Editor’s Wife by Clare Chambers.

Arrow have re-issued Clare Chambers with stylish new covers – they’re gorgeous!

Reissued stylish covers for Clare Chambers novels published by Arrow

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Book cover for The Editor's Wife by Clare Chambers.  Reissued with a new cover, purple background.  Lemons both whole and sliced in half.  Book title and author in white text
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Arrow (7 Feb. 2008)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0099469324
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0099469322

When aspiring novelist Christopher Flinders drops out of university to write his masterpiece (in between shifts as a fish delivery man and builder’s mate), his family is sceptical.

But when he is taken up by the London editor Owen Goddard and his charming wife Diana it seems success is just around the corner. Christopher’s life has so far been rather short of charm – growing up in an unlovely suburb, with unambitious parents and a semi-vagrant brother – and he is captivated by his generous and cultured mentors.

However, on the brink of realising his dream, Christopher makes a desperate misjudgement which results in disaster for all involved. Shattered, he withdraws from London and buries himself in rural Yorkshire, embracing a career and a private life marked by mediocrity.

Twenty years on, a young academic researching into Owen Goddard seeks him out, and Christopher is forced to exhume his past, setting him on a path to a life-changing discovery.

Book Review

A witty, charming read.

I found The Editor’s Wife well written so it was very easy and a pleasure to read.

I became captivated by Christopher and the characters in his life. His eccentric older brother Gerald, ex-wife Carol, The Goddards and Alex Canning. They are well written and believable in their own way.

The story is told in three parts and I thoroughly enjoyed part 2 which is set in the past.

Christopher left uni to write his masterpiece and fell in love with both Owen and Diana Goddard. He was determined to write his novel for editor Owen, and felt great respect for him. Unfortunately he became attached to his wife Diana.

After a tragic accident Christopher spent the next two decades thinking of Diana but not accomplishing his dreams of becoming a writer.

Even trying to hide away in a small farmhouse in Yorkshire, Christopher is called on by three people, all needing his support, all on one night.

A special event takes place which brings Christopher closer to his lost love.

A great read.

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Clare Chambers was born in south east London in 1966. She studied English at Oxford and spent the year after graduating in New Zealand, where she wrote her first novel, Uncertain Terms, published when she was 25. She has since written eight further novels, including Learning to Swim (Century 1998) which won the Romantic Novelists’ Association best novel award and was adapted as a Radio 4 play, and In a Good Light (Century 2004) which was longlisted for the Whitbread best novel prize.

Clare began her career as a secretary at the publisher André Deutsch, when Diana Athill was still at the helm. They not only published her first novel, but made her type her own contract. In due course she went on to become a fiction and non-fiction editor there herself, until leaving to raise a family and concentrate on her own writing. Some of the experiences of working for an eccentric, independent publisher in the pre-digital era found their way into her novel The Editor’s Wife (Century, 2007). When her three children were teenagers, inspired by their reading habits, she produced two YA novels, Bright Girls (HarperCollins 2009) and Burning Secrets (HarperCollins 2011).

Her most recent novel is Small Pleasures (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2020).

She takes up a post as Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Kent in September 2020.

She lives with her husband in south east London and generally has her nose in a book.

Twitter @ClareDChambers

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