The Gamekeeper’s Wife

Written by Clare Flynn
Review by Jeffrey Manton

The Gamekeeper’s Wife is a romantic drama set just after the First World War – and it is one of the best novels of its type I have reviewed for the HNS. Pace. Plot. Emotion. An unusually good book for a self-published writer.

Christopher Shipley is a rich industrialist’s son who comes back damaged from war with the expectation of running the estate and marrying the bride chosen by his social-climbing mother. What does he want of life? How can he make it worth living again? His mother asks him to evict the gamekeeper’s wife, the elusive and seductive Martha. Martha is also damaged – she had an abusive marriage, was beaten but not floored and admits she is glad her husband died.

So a relationship turns to romance, and it is believable despite the class differences. So many hurdles have to be jumped and seem that they can be overcome – until Christopher’s mother reveals a terrible secret to stop any hope of an unsuitable marriage.

This is good, old-fashioned romance, and the pages fly because the two characters draw us in; they are engaging and believable, as is the snobbish mother. I read it in two days.

The hint of criticism – and that is all it is – is that there are perhaps just too many hurdles, to the point of disbelief. Ms Flynn does need to do a little more research on social customs: women of that class did not summon servants by bell; servants were always in the dining room. It also seems the titles are incorrect, but this is minor. It’s a good book.