The Cursed Wife

Written by Pamela Hartshorne
Review by Lisa Redmond

As the wife of a successful London merchant, Mary lives a contented life. Loved by her husband and respected by her neighbours, she can sometimes forget that her life is built on a lie. That is, until the return of her childhood friend, Cat, who knows far too much about Mary’s past, including the curse placed on her when she was a child, which predicts she will end her days in a noose. Having fallen on hard times, Cat sees a chance to manipulate Mary to gain money, friendship and love at her old friend’s expense. Mary has fought hard for the life she has, and she won’t give it up easily.

This is a fast-paced tale of Tudor London, from the houses of wealthy merchants to the heaving markets and dockside taverns. This is a tale of revenge, manipulation, murder and lies, in which cruelty hides behind smiles and darkness behind innocence. It is thrillingly told and features two intriguing heroines whose fates are intertwined.

Pamela Hartshorne has built a solid reputation as an author of time-slip fiction which makes use of her historical expertise. However, The Cursed Wife is a departure for her. Darker in tone than her previous work, this novel is set entirely in the Tudor era, with none of the romantic feel of her earlier books. However, the departure is most definitely a success. The characters are vivid and the storytelling thrilling. It’s perfect for fans of Hartshorne’s previous work and also for lovers of Kate Mosse, Jessie Burton, and Katherine Stansfield.