A debut novel from Mary Paulson-Ellis, The Other Mrs Walker starts at the beginning of the cold New Year with a death. The book depicts the life of a family that has a complicated relationship.
We go along with Margaret looking for clues and trying to understand what happened with Mrs Walker. As she uncovers the past, we re-live it in the flashback chapters and see the bigger picture Margaret doesn’t.
Affected by a cold relationship, in a cold Edinburgh, Margaret tries to escape her own history. But of course, she ends up deep in that history. Without knowing it, that is.
It’s a book that takes us back before the War, during the bombing of London and decades after that as well. We visit a house filled with secrets and uncover them to find sad stories of forgotten mothers, absent fathers, and new beginnings.
Good riddance to bad rubbish
The pace is sometimes very slow-paced and we might get entangled in so many details. But the end, of course, explains it all. Or does it? What can we expect from a detective who’s not a detective after all?
We get the feeling we know what happened throughout the flashback chapters even if we don’t fully understand all the pieces of the puzzle.
The story, of course, revolves around death and funerals. It’s a full circle. After we connect the dots we look at a twisted life story of a family that suffered from generation to generation. We can only hope that some good luck will finally rub off the lucky penny. Margaret Penny is our detective of course.
It’s a story of war-torn London and how they wanted to escape to the Promise Land. Some of them did manage to set sail for America. We experience the effect of that on the ones who hadn’t left. The ones left behind. On purpose or due to the circumstances. Circumstances that seem, at times, to keep repeating themselves.
An interesting book I would say. It took me while to get used to the pace and the way the story unwinds. But the discoveries made along the way made it worthwhile. Maybe I would’ve expected a more fulfilling end, but based on the lives of Mrs Walker and her family, that’s all you get.
I believe it’s a nice debut book that is worth a read if you’re looking for a twisted history that unravels slowly as you turn the pages.