The First Wife, By Emily Barr


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The Independent Culture

Emily Barr is the author of a series of readable bestsellers and this bouncy psychodrama delivers toothsome twists.

After the death of her free-spirited grandparents - naturists with a taste for mint tea - Lily Button is left to fend for herself in a remote part of Cornwall.

She takes a job working as a cleaner for Harry and Sarah Summers, a glamorous middle-aged couple. Yet appearances deceive and, while holidaying in Barcelona, Sarah slips away and throws herself into the sea.

Perhaps used to the ways of older folk, Lily finds herself drawn to the grieving Harry - though as their romance heats up, she realises that her predecessor's death might not be all that it seems.

A Daphne du Maurier vibe haunts the hinterlands of this unconventional page-turner.