I’m a huge fan of Gill Paul as both a person and a writer, so I broke my vow not to accept any further tours for September when Random Things Tour Organiser Anne Cater invited me to participate in the UK launch celebrations for The Second Marriage. I simply couldn’t decline. Gill has previously featured on Linda’s Book Bag when I reviewed The Lost Daughter here, and Gill wrote a superb guest post here.
The Second Marriage (Jackie and Maria in the US) was published by Avon, an imprint of Harper Collins on 17th September 2020 and is available for purchase through the links here.
The Second Marriage
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.
Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?
My Review of The Second Marriage
The lives and loves of two famous women.
I’m not quite sure how Gill Paul does it, but in The Second Marriage she immerses her readers into a world that we think we know something about and manages to bring it into sharp focus, giving it a vivid, emotional reality that vibrates with life. It might be the depth of research that has gone into the lives of Jackie and Maria. It might be the gorgeous quality of Gill Paul’s writing. It might be the evocative era and setting but somehow the author manages to place the reader at the heart of what ought to be familiar action in an innovative and fresh way that I found entrancing. I thoroughly enjoyed The Second Marriage.
Whilst the plot might have elements we would expect, there was so much in The Second Marriage of which I simply had no concept. I loved the way I kept being surprised and I’ll admit to heading off to Google aspects as I read too. When a book educates and entertains I feel it adds so much more pleasure to the reading and Gill Paul manages this with subtlety and skill so that The Second Marriage is a cracker of a read.
There’s a glamour to the lives of Maria and Jackie as might be expected and I loved being transported to the settings, but what I found so moving and so affecting was the insight into the women as women. Their sense of self, the way their appearance is scrutinised, the way the media depicts and shapes their personas, their relationships blended with themes of loyalty, love, power and need all come together into a read that is incredibly satisfying. At times I felt Jackie and Maria’s emotions as if I had become them. Although Ari is a catalyst for much of what happens with Jackie and Maria, The Second Marriage is very much herstory rather than just history,
It’s quite challenging to review The Second Marriage adequately because I don’t want to spoil elements for those who’ve yet to read it, and the historically accurate aspects are already known. What I would say is that Gill Paul imbues her narrative with a touch of genius so that reading The Second Marriage is immersive, hypnotising and enthralling. I loved it.
About Gill Paul
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history.
Gill’s novels include Another Woman’s Husband, The Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914, Women and Children First about a young steward who works on the Titanic and The Affair set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
All of Gill’s lovely books can be found here.