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Review by Suze
Joseph bought Sally from the workhouse and Sally had no choice but to marry him. Joseph is a coldhearted and aggressive man. He drinks too much and lets his wife starve, while giving her beating after beating. When one night Joseph goes too far Sally manages to escape. She doesn't want him to harm their baby and vouches to stay away from Joseph. She flees her home in Bolton and travels to Manchester to find her only living relative. Will Sally find protection and peace there or will Joseph discover where she is and come after her?
Sally finds a job in Manchester and for a while everything is going well. She doesn't have any permanent luck though, as Joseph is cunning and he's determined to make her pay for leaving him. Fortunately Sally isn't alone any longer. She has friends and family who are looking after her, but are they strong enough to protect her and save her from his evil clutches?
A Shilling for a Wife is an incredibly impressive story. Sally is a beautiful woman, both inside and out. She's generous, caring and kind. She shares whatever she has, even if that means she doesn't have anything left for herself. When she loves someone she does it with all her heart and she's an amazing friend. I immediately loved her and my heart ached for her because of everything she has to go through. Emma Hornby describes Sally's troubles in an honest and raw way that kept me on the edge of my seat. Joseph is a truly horrible man, but fortunately after leaving him Sally finally finds good people who care about her as well, which she very much deserves. She has such a sweet and selfless personality and I found that absolutely wonderful.
There's a big contrast between good and evil in A Shilling for a Wife and that made the story really interesting. I kept hoping Sally could get rid of Joseph somehow and couldn't wait to find out what would happen to her. I loved how gripping A Shilling for a Wife is. It was hard for me to read about Joseph's behavior, his violent and cruel nature literally made me sick. Emma Hornby describes him in such a realistic way that I felt genuinely scared. I loved this multilayered aspect of the story and her vivid descriptions are making the story come to life in a terrific, but also emotional and creepy way.
A Shilling for a Wife is a shocking story with a heartwarming romantic ending. Emma Hornby has a gorgeous compelling writing style and I loved how versatile her story is. There's plenty of depth, the characters are multidimensional and I liked the fast pace. I was surprised by most of the twists and turns and while some parts of the book are difficult to read due to Joseph's sadistic nature, I also couldn't stop reading because I was so intrigued. Every element of the story is exactly as it should be and the result is a fantastic strong story. A Shilling for A Wife is a brilliant novel, I highly recommend this moving book.
If you love stories set in the nineteenth century with plenty of surprising twists and turns and great contrasts, and can handle shocking scenes, you should definitely read A Shilling for a Wife.
About Emma Hornby
Thirty-two-year-old mother of three Emma Hornby lives on a tight-knit working-class estate in Bolton and has read sagas all her life. Before pursuing a career as a novelist, she had a variety of jobs, from care assistant for the elderly, to working in a Blackpool rock factory. She was inspired to write after researching her family history; like the characters in her books, many generations of her family eked out life amidst the squalor and poverty of Lancashire's slums.
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