I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Last Wife by Karen Hamilton on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part. As part of the blog tour I’m sharing an extract from the book. First, let’s take a look at what the book is about.
Two women. A dying wish. And a web of lies that will bring their world crashing down.
Nina and Marie were best friends-until Nina was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Before she died, Nina asked Marie to fulfill her final wishes.
But her mistake was in thinking Marie was someone she could trust.
What Nina didn’t know was that Marie always wanted her beautiful life, and that Marie has an agenda of her own. She’ll do anything to get what she wants.
Marie thinks she can keep her promise to her friend’s family on her own terms. But what she doesn’t know is that Nina was hiding explosive secrets of her own…
Clients trust me because I blend in. It’s a natural skill – my gift, if you like. I focus my lens and capture stories, like the ones unfolding tonight: natural and guarded expressions, self-conscious poses, joyous smiles, reluctant ones from a teenage bridesmaid, swathed in silver and blood-red. The groom is an old friend, yet I’ve only met his now-wife twice. She seems reserved, hard to get to know, but in their wedding album she’ll glow. The camera does lie. My role is to take these lies and spin them into the perfect story.
I take a glass of champagne from a passing server. I needn’t be totally on the ball during the latter half of the evening because by then, people naturally loosen up. I find that the purest details are revealed in the discreet pictures I snatch during the final hours, however innocuously an event starts. And besides, it seems this event is winding down.
The one downside of my job is the mixed bag of emotions evoked. I rarely take family photos any more, so normally, I’m fine, but today, watching the wedding festivities, the longing for what I don’t have has crept up on me. People think that envy is a bad thing, but in my opinion, envy is a positive emotion. It has always been the best indicator for me to realize what’s wrong with my life. People say, ‘Follow your dreams,’ yet I’d say, ‘Follow what makes you sick with envy.’
It’s how I knew that I must stop deceiving myself and face up to how desperately I wanted to have a child. Delayed gratification is overrated.
I place my camera on a table as the tempo eases and sit down on a satin-draped chair. As I watch the bride sweep across the dance floor with her new husband, I think of Nina, and an overwhelming tide of grief floods through me. I picture her haunted expression when she elicited three final promises from me: two are easy to keep, one is not. Nonetheless, a vow is a vow. I will be creative and fulfil it. I have a bad – yet tempting – idea which occasionally beckons me towards a slippery slope.
I must do my best to avoid it because when Nina passed the baton to me, she thought I was someone she could trust. However, as my yearning grows, the crushing disappointment increases every month and the future I crave remains elusive. And she didn’t know that I’d do anything to get what I want. Anything.
Publication date: 25th June 2020
Print length: 384 pages
The Last Wife is available to buy:
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