Other Women: Emma Flint
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I liked the way the book unfolded from the contrasting two POVs of the murdered lover and the murderer's wife. It was far too simple for my taste. I didn't get bored exactly - it is a murder mystery after all - and it reads very fast (also because of many unnecessary repetitions), but the story and the themes are conventional and without surprises.
It's interesting to note that in 1924, officers were not outfitted with gloves and were forced to retrieve Emily Kaye's dismembered remains for analysis with their bare hands. (Eew!!!) Set in the 1920s, we learn of the societal expectations women faced, what choices they had, how they were unfairly judged and treated… and the devastating effects that had.Bea is early thirties, unmarried and lives in a room in a Ladies Club in Bloomsbury. She works as a typist and is very aware that after the horrors of the war that have left a shortage of young men that she is facing life as a spinster. Well read and intelligent, she's a solitary figure, looked on with pity by the younger girls in her office, yet she has dreams and it becomes clear that she is passionate. When newly appointed salesman Tom arrives in the office for the first time, Bea feels something that she's never felt before, and Tom's knowing glint only encourages her. She falls in love. This novel depicts the societal expectations and pressures placed on unattached women despite the rise of working women in the wake of WWI. Their lives of "freedom" we're still seen as unsatisfactory and they were vulnerable to judgement about their character and appearance.
We follow the stories of Beatrice who is a single woman in her thirties who falls for the charms of a married man, and of Kate Thomas, his wife.
From true crime to fiction
Huge thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review, and for hosting the Readalong - the discussions have been fantastic, and I adore how our perceptions and opinions of the characters shifted as the book went along. Planning to buy Other Women for your group? Buy books from Hive or from Bookshop.org and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.
The tension grows throughout the book until it's almost unbearable. This is a book that will stay with you. Since childhood, she has been drawn to true-crime stories, developing an encyclopaedic knowledge of real-life murder cases from the early twentieth century. Her first novel, Little Deaths, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, for the Desmond Elliott Prize, for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award, and for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize. Other Women is her second novel. A word from Emma In 2017, I read Emma Flint's "Little Deaths", a fictionalized true crime account of a New York waitress falsely accused of murdering her two young children in the 1960s.
In 2020, 47,000 women and girls were killed by their partner or by a family member1. This means that on average a woman or girl somewhere in the worldl is killed by someone close to her every eleven minutes. The killers are boyfriends, partners, friends, husbands, fathers, brothers. They are men that these women should be able to trust. They are the very men they should feel safest with.