A Perfect Wife

Cristina Odone, Author, Christina Odone, Author
Cristina Odone, Author, Christina Odone, Author Orion Books $27 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7528-1219-9
Hardcover - 217 pages - 978-0-7538-0472-8
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The Shrine, Odone's praised first novel, described the inevitable changes that time brings to the inhabitants of a rural Italian village. Here, in an intricately plotted narrative of adultery and power, she takes on another small community, a group of London-based writers, editors and publishers and those who try to influence them. Magazine columnist Nina Lewis (n e del Monte) and her husband, Michael, a deputy editor on the rise at a daily newspaper, both pursue their ambitions, his to supersede his boss and become editor of the Sunday Herald and hers to keep her marriage. A good deal of suspense arises from the question of just how dearly they will have to pay for their wishes to be granted. Will Michael Lewis relinquish his values to gain his position, only to lose the gamble? Will Nina keep her husband at the price of her soul? Accelerating the tension are the Reverend Alexander Connaught, charismatic leader of the evangelical Renewal Movement, and his political counterpart, Tom Sutton, an MP with higher aspirations. Both Nina, with her rigid values, and her husband, with his slippery morals, strike deals with this devilish movement. Indeed, one intriguing aspect of this book is the attention Odone, former editor of the Catholic Herald, pays to religion and its intersection with politics. Although the characters' thoughts and feelings are meticulously described, they themselves remain flat and vaguely unsympathetic. Yet readers may find that, despite their reservations, they can't resist reading Odone's sophisticated prose in order to discover the end of the story. (July)
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