The Trailing Spouse

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

** spoiler alert ** Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the eARC. Amanda Bonham is living in a luxury apartment in Singapore with her husband Ed and her teenaged step daughter Josie. The story begins with Amanda finding their “helper” Awmi dead from an apparent suicide. You are also introduced to a woman named Camille that works for H.E.L.P, an agency that advocates for “helpers” rights, but she isn’t just investigating Awmi’s death, she’s looking to uncover the truth about her parents disappearance in 1999. There are multiple threads to this interesting thriller and you’ll be left guessing until the very end.
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The Trailing Spouse was a 3 star read for me. It was a bit of a domestic thriller with a dollop of feminist commentary. Good writing but perhaps too much "tell" and not enough "show".
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Really enjoyed this book. It was fast paced and well written and kept you wondering until the end. I enjoyed the suspense and the paranoia of the main character!
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I don't normally go for family dramas or thrillers, but this one drew me in! Furniss writes wonderfully, and I especially enjoyed her descriptions of the expat life in Singapore.
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"The Trailing Spouse" by Jo Furniss is an exciting triller! I won’t give any spoilers, so don’t worry. The story follows two women, who for different reasons have their suspicions about a charming and enigmatic businessman Edward Bowman.

Amanda Bowman is his second wife, who is desperate to have children, but her attempts prove unsuccessful. She is also struggling to have a good relationship with her troublesome stepdaughter Josie. She becomes worried that her husband is unfaithful and is looking for more clues. What’s more, she is uncomfortable because of her precarious situation as a trailing spouse. She is an expat wife, who has far less rights in Singapore, than her husband and she is very much dependant on her significant other. She has no work and no real friends in Singapore, her husband controls all their money and her right to stay in the country. Amanda’s initial worry about his unfaithfulness turns into full-blown terror, when she discovers more and more suspicious information about him. Will he stop at nothing?  

The other woman interested in Edward Bowman is Camille Kemble, who after fifteen years away came back to Singapore to uncover secrets from her past. Edward Bowman could be the link she was looking for. She has some vague recollection of him from her childhood, or so she thinks… or is she deluding herself? Could he really help her to find closure she longs for, or is he a dangerous predator that she should avoid at all cost?    

Through the story questions mount, lies are uncovered and secrets from the past solved once and for all. It was a satisfying read and what I loved the most was the setting in Singapore. The author did a great job in giving the feel of the place. The descriptions of the place were truly lovely and fascinating. I could really feel the tropical heat, see the views, smell the air and taste food. The author spent seven years as an expat in Singapore so she knows what she writes about. 

I recommend "The Trailing Spouse" to readers, who enjoy reading fast-paced thrillers set in exotic locations.  

I received "The Trailing Spouse" from the publisher via NetGalley. I would like to thank the author and the publisher for providing me with the advance reader copy of the book.
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This book was fun, but not the best thing I have ever read. Learning about Singapore and domestic help issues was nice, but I figured out the ending halfway through the book. Amanda was hard to like. She felt shallow, self-absorbed and boring. Her mother, on the other hand, was interesting. Edward, Amanda's husband turned out to be surprisingly different than I initially viewed him. And Camille, well, the coincidences that bring Amanda and Edward into her life are just too convenient. Not a bad story overall, and a fun read.
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While I enjoyed the insights into expat life in Singapore (and expat life more generally), the characters' motivations seemed somewhat implausible, the coincidences a bit too much and the ending over the top.
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Thank you for this advanced copy from Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley. I almost wasn't going to agree to reading this one, but decided to try anyways. I should have listened to my gut instinct and passed on this one. I'm sorry to say that I didn't care for the storyline or characters and struggled to finish the book. The writing was very good however and checking out the other reviews I realize that I'm one of the few that feel this way. Please don't let my review keep you from trying this book, you might enjoy it!
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Loved the book and loved the cover. I didn't expect the ending and was surprised when the truth was revealed. I believed so many things about certain characters and ended up being wrong. Loved how Camille's story was interwoven throughout the book. 

Amanda Bonham is living in Singapore with her husband and stepdaughter, Ed and Josie. When she finds her helper (maid) dead, Amanda's life starts changing. She begins questioning her husband and suspecting he's hiding something. Josie is an odd character, she doesn't seem to have any friends and creates a strange website that is leading up to something terrible. Amanda thinks it has something to do with Josie's mom, who committed suicide. Then there's Camille. She grew up in Singapore until she was about ten and then she was shipped off to a boarding school in England. Her parents mysteriously disappeared. Now she is trying to find out what happened to them and thinks Edward Bonham may have knew them. 

Loved the story, writing style and characters. Throughout the book I wasn't sure who to believe. Amanda and Camille were my favorite characters by far. Ed reminded me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At times he seemed like he was a loving family man and then moments later he was smashing the window with a fire extinguisher and berating his wife. I think he might have been his most honest self when he spoke to Camille in the hotel room about work, his life and Amanda. Then there's Josie. She pretty much did whatever she wanted. I don't think I really ever got to know her until the very end. she never showed any love toward Amanda and even that she liked her stepmom. I found all the helper information very interesting. I never realized all the rules Singapore had, especially regarding helpers. The way that Amanda's helper, Awmi, died was horrible. The smell of bleach would prevent me from drinking it, but she must have been very desperate. The mystery of Camille's parents was an added bonus to the story. The teddy bear story was heartbreaking. I think Camille and her brother were better off at the boarding school. I absolutely loved the ending. Everything was finally revealed.

I definitely recommend the book and look forward to reading more by the author. 

Thanks to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author, Jo Furniss, for a free electronic ARC of this novel.
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Thank you to Lake Union Publishers and Netgalley for the free ARC for an honest review.

The Trailing Spouse is a very good suspenseful thriller. The story was well written, but it did take me a bit to get into the story. I enjoyed the plot and the pace makes it an engrossing read. The Singapore setting was interesting, the characters have depth, and are believable,  A 3 star rating.
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The Trailing Spouse follows the story of three characters, each of whom have a relationship with a man, Edward Bonham. Amanda, his wife, who traveled around the world to Singapore to be with Edward. She is “the trailing” spouse, a phrase used to describe the spouse who follows the person with a job wherever that job takes them. Here, Amanda has left Great Britain to move to Singapore, a city built on illusion, beautiful yet filled with horrors. This imagery is present throughout the marvelously crafted story.  Camille Kimball has returned to Singapore to find answers from her childhood, her missing parents, and closure to her past. And, there is Josie, Edward’s daughter who still is recovering from her mother’s apparent suicide. Her relationship with Edward is a strange one, to say the least. As the story progresses, the web around these characters grows and becomes more intricately tangled until the climactic conclusion.

Furniss has woven a story that is both beautiful and frightenly realistic. Amanda is, at first, described as the very typical “trailing spouse” who is interested only in being in a glamorous place and with the money that most often goes with the move. These spouses have no rights, very little ability to work independently, in many countries – such as Singapore – they cannot have a bank account in their name or conduct financial transactions on their own. They are, therefore, totally reliant upon their spouses for all of their needs. After her maid, the helper, is found dead, Amanda’s precarious life begins to unravel. As we watch her life come undone, we are left to ask ourselves “who is sane, who is not and how can we know who is telling the truth.” The answers will shock you!

I will admit that I was fascinated with the story and its setting. I had heard from those who had traveled to Singapore about its beauty but, more often, about the illusion upon which this city is built. It has more millionaires and billionaires than any other country; it is, quite literally, one of the richest places on earth. And yet, its people have limited freedom and its immigrants, often used for servitude and menial jobs, are often abused and exploited. Furniss does an excellent job recreating this side of Singapore’s tale. Her writing is skilled, filled with picturesque imagery and it was this  craftsmanship that elevated the book for me. However, there are parts that drag as a result of too much detail. There were times that I really did not want to read another word about Amanda’s embryos calling out to her or dancing in the freezer.  While this storyline added depth to Amanda’s character, it wasn’t entirely necessary to the actual plot so, for me, it dragged on too long and too often. It does not take away from the overall suspense of the book, but it does keep it from being a non-stop, page turning thriller. Despite this, I loved the book and absolutely recommend it for all who enjoy suspenseful tales. You won’t be disappointed.

I owe much appreciation to #JoFurniss, #Netgalley, and #LakeUnionPublishing for my copy of this terrific book!
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My first question when I started this novel was, what is a trailing spouse? As I soon discovered, a trailing spouse is a wife or partner who follows their significant other to anywhere in the world where they may may be working. What is most extraordinary in our modern society is that the trailing spouse has no rights. If their partner dies etc then they are given thirty days to leave the country, pretty harsh, I thought.

The trailing spouse in this instance is Amanda Bonham. Younger than her husband Edward, she is reduced to living a life of leisure and luxury, with her only responsibility to look after Edwards teenage daughter. I am sure we would all love such a lifestyle but Amanda's life changes forever when her maid commits suicide and that's when this book got very interesting.

Furniss used Amanda's lack of genuine friends to highlight how many expats can feel totally isolated and what was particularly brilliant was the amount of free time it gave Amanda to mull things over, to build events into epic proportions, not least her suspicions concerning her husband. Throw in an errant and strange stepdaughter and Amanda definitely had issues.

What I liked was the way in which Furniss broadened the storyline, bringing in another expat, Camilla, and her search for the truth about the disappearance of her parents many years ago. I loved Camilla's tenacious and determined nature to discover the truth and as her and Amanda's stories developed I began to wonder if they had some kind of connection.

Furniss drip fed little clues and hints, intertwining Amanda and Camilla's stories until I thought I had it all worked out and then she threw in a huge twist that took me completely by surprise. the ending was certainly very dramatic and not what I was expecting which I always like in a good domestic thriller.

Yet, The Trailing Spouse is more than a domestic thriller. The characters have depth, are believable, and in Amanda and Camilla's case, extremely likeable. I loved reading about expat life in Singapore and indeed about Singapore itself and, coupled with the humid, warm climate, provided the perfect setting for the novel.

It is a novel that I found both addictive and immersive, and could quite easily have read in one sitting.
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A good suspenseful thriller that kept me turning pages long into the night. It kept me guessing right up until the surprise ending. I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good suspenseful husband/ wife thriller.
Thanks to Lake Union Publishers and Netgalley for the advance digital review copy!
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Jo Furniss, The Trailing Spouse (2018)

The blog was silent for a while, as I was traveling to China and South Korea with my family. It was a great experience, and somehow staying in a high-rise in sweltering-hot and humid Beijing was the perfect setting to read this novel, set in the luxurious towers of Singapore, among the rich and idle expat wives.

The book focuses on two women: Amanda Bonham, whose husband Edward is busy selling private jets all across Asia, and who only has to take care of her step-daughter and her luxurious flat, helped by a Filipino maid; and Camille Kemble, a 20-something who works at the British embassy and has only come to Singapore to learn more about her parents who disappeared there when she was a child. Amanda is an anxious person due to her own past, and when the maid commits suicide, she soon has questions and doubts and starts to view her perfect husband under a different light. Meanwhile Camille’s path crosses Edward Bonham’s, with a lot of difficult questions of her own.

When I was working in Asia, my colleagues who were European managers had nearly all brought their wives, and they could not work on their visas’ terms. What I hadn’t realized is that if these wives were to leave their husbands, they would (at least in Singapore) have to leave the country as well, and also the pricey lifestyle they are used to. They are totally dependent, like 1950s housewives, but they’re aware that this may stop at any given time and that the outside world won’t be as nice to them. What Furniss describes with perfection is the gilded cage where these women are living with a lot of insecurities beyond the picture-perfect setting. Of course money is an issue, as are lies and keeping up with the Jones in a very tight and controlling circle (the Facebook group of Singapore expat wives feels so real!).

The characters are believable and the pace makes it an engrossing read. It falls into the domestic thriller category, which I’m not particularly attracted to, but the setting makes it worthwhile. There might have been a few evenings where I staid up far too late turning the pages of my Kindle.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.
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Amanda lives a glamorous life in Singapore. Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton...she's got everything she wants, except a child of her own. She is a "trailing spouse" - the oft used term for a person who follows his or her life partner to another city because of a work assignment. 

Camille volunteers for an agency who looks out for immigrant workers and that’s what brings her into the lives of Amanda and her husband. She's obsessed with her own past and the secrets of her parents. 

Amanda's 'helper' has taken her life by swallowing bleach. What follows is an Pandora's box of secrets. The helper was pregnant, but by who? Why are Amanda's husband's prescription medicines hidden in the helper's room?

This is a story about two women and their obsession for the truth. It's quickly paced and was a very quick read for me, mainly because I couldn't put it down. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Amanda Bonham is a trailing spouse which means she has left her old life in London to be with her husband, Edward who lives in Singapore. At first glance it would appear that Amanda leads a charmed life; she has money, an attractive husband and a beautiful apartment. However, when she finds condoms in her husband's travel bag she suspects he may cheating on her when he travels away for business. Before she has time to decide what to do their young maid, Awmi is found dead, presumably by suicide. She discovers that Awmi was pregnant and when a stash of drugs prescribed to Ed is found in her room, Amanda begins to wonder just how well she knows her husband. She's his second marriage but did his first wife really die by suicide as Amanda has been led to believe? As she begins to look more closely at his activities, she starts to fear for the safety of herself and her stepdaughter. Josie's behaviour means she isn't a particularly easy character to like - she's belligerent and secretive but is she just another teenager acting out or does her behaviour suggest a darker path?

Camille Kemble works for the British High Commission and volunteers for HELP, an NGO which campaigns for the rights of  foreign domestic workers - it's strikingly clear that there's a world of difference between expats and migrants in Singapore and yet as the book progresses the lines become more blurred as we learn how few rights those living in the country on a Dependent's Pass actually have. Amanda hears about a woman who has lived there for thirteen years but is given a month to leave after her husband is killed in an accident. As the book follows Amanda and Camille in turn it soon becomes obvious that the affluent lives of the expats may not be as trouble-free as it first appears. Not only do the trailing spouses have few rights but the community itself is a fragile one and is marked by gossip and competitiveness, based as it is on the constant movement of its members. Camille has her own investigation to pursue as she is tormented by the mystery of what happened to her parents fifteen years ago. Just a child when they disappeared, she is desperate to find out the truth and thinks she may have a lead when she realises Edward Bonham may be a face from her past.

Both Camille and Amanda start from positions of relative disadvantage; one is hindered by her shaky memory of the past and her questions as to what her parents work really entailed, while the other realises that her discoveries could put her at risk, although quite what that risk could be is something she can't quite fully comprehend as the facade of her life begins to crumble. However, these are tenacious and ultimately strong women who keep pushing even if the simpler path would be to stop. Amanda is driven by a desire to have children but in the meantime struggles with her role as stepmother to Josie. She is never quite sure whether she is overstepping the mark, she wants to be there for her stepdaughter, particularly when she begins to suspect they are both in danger but she can't quite bridge the distance between them and continues to keep the girl at arm's length.

The Trailing Spouse is a novel about relationships and they are so perceptively described throughout; this is domestic noir at its most insightful. As the story continues, Jo Furniss's knowledge of the area pays dividends and the humid setting is brought vividly to life, helping create an oppressive, almost feverish hue to the proceedings. The creeping sense of danger is like a vine from the jungle surrounding the city, unrelenting as it twists its way around all in its path. Shocking, immersive and convincing, The Trailing Spouse is a clever and beautifully written book. Highly recommended.
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"Nobody in Singapore drinks Singapore Slings." (Anthony Bourdain)

Is this all an elusion of the beauty, the jaw-dropping landscapes, and the towering buildings created from an architect's dream? Singapore seems to hide secrets well within its tropical foliage and its darkened streets have very limited access.

Amanda Bonham knows this full-on. She's the wife who trails behind her husband's successes in foreign lands. Ed Bonham rests on the laurels of being an ex pat pilot who brokers sales of private jets. Amanda knows that she's been limited in her own career by strict Singapore laws of employment as a dependant of Ed's. Singapore can show you the Exit sign in a heartbeat.

With no other options, Amanda spends her days as step-mother to seventeen year old Josie who is overflowing with teenage angst and spoiled by her doting father. Her days are spent sorting through a closet full of designer clothes and handbags. She's constantly online seeking advice from fellow ex pat spouses. But Amanda has a dark secret that even Ed doesn't realize. She's selling his expensive gifts online in order to continue to pay for IVF treatments after three miscarriages. Ed won't even consider adoption.

Now if you think that this is the height of the problems of being Amanda, you are definitely wrong. The story opens with the apparent suicide of their live-in maid. Amanda was the one to come upon the body. She later finds Ed's prescription drugs in Awri's room. Why? As Ed flies out to his business destinations, bodies of young women are being found in the same hotels that Ed stayed in. Amanda is now panicking. Could Ed be connected somehow?

Jo Furniss adds more tension to this storyline with a parallel thread. Camille Kemble was raised in Singapore since she was a child. Her yacht leasing parents suddenly disappeared when she was ten. Camille works as a press officer for the British High Commissions. She accompanies her boss to the crime scene of Awri's death. Something about Ed is familiar. But what?

Furniss presents a top-draw thriller here. Her research is quite thorough in Singapore customs, laws, and social mores. The Singapore setting adds just the right amount of snap and the chosen characters deliver straight out. Furniss builds the tension with each new scene of action. She pulls the reader into the escalating onset of no return. Quite the unexpected little treasure.

I received a copy of The Trailing  Spouse through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Lake Union Publishing and to Jo Furniss for the opportunity.
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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss. I’m very happy to be sharing my thoughts on this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it! I’ve been on a roll – in a good way – with thrillers lately and this book was no exception. And can I just say… COVER LOVE!

The Trailing Spouse original in a number of ways. The first is the setting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Singapore. I enjoyed learning a little about the culture and ex-pat life. Next, and most importantly, is the plot. This book has a lot going on. There are at least 3, you could maybe say 4, mysteries with this mystery/domestic thriller. The phrase “falling down the rabbit hole” came to mind as the pace quickened about 1/3 of the way in. And I just kept falling, and falling, and falling. In the past I’ve been critical of a few books with a similar number of subplots.  I felt these books tried too hard, opining that the authors need to reel in their imaginations. For whatever reason, Jo Furniss has managed to pull it off!

Meticulous character development ensured non-stop head spinning. Who should I be rooting for? Who should I suspect?  While I had a slight inkling of where one of the lines might be going, I was truly conflicted about the “main event” until the very end. Ancillary characters where just as carefully rendered and helped to create a level on depth not always present in this genre. I would definitely place The Trailing Spouse on the “smart” side of the spectrum.

I’d not read Jo Furniss’s previous novel, All the Little Children, but reading this book has made me add it to my already toppling TBR. I’d certainly be very happy to read her future work.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss. I’m very happy to be sharing my thoughts on this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it! I’ve been on a roll – in a good way – with thrillers lately and this book was no exception. And can I just say… COVER LOVE!

The Trailing Spouse original in a number of ways. The first is the setting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Singapore. I enjoyed learning a little about the culture and ex-pat life. Next, and most importantly, is the plot. This book has a lot going on. There are at least 3, you could maybe say 4, mysteries with this mystery/domestic thriller. The phrase “falling down the rabbit hole” came to mind as the pace quickened about 1/3 of the way in. And I just kept falling, and falling, and falling. In the past I’ve been critical of a few books with a similar number of subplots.  I felt these books tried too hard, opining that the authors need to reel in their imaginations. For whatever reason, Jo Furniss has managed to pull it off!

Meticulous character development ensured non-stop head spinning. Who should I be rooting for? Who should I suspect?  While I had a slight inkling of where one of the lines might be going, I was truly conflicted about the “main event” until the very end. Ancillary characters where just as carefully rendered and helped to create a level on depth not always present in this genre. I would definitely place The Trailing Spouse on the “smart” side of the spectrum.

4.5/5 stars

I’d not read Jo Furniss’s previous novel, All the Little Children, but reading this book has made me add it to my already toppling TBR. I’d certainly be very happy to read her future work.
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I was quickly drawn into the story with the alluring first chapter and the exotic setting of Singapore.

Amanda is a trailing spouse. The definition of a trailing spouse is a person who follows his or her partner to another city because of a work assignment. She has joined her husband, Edward Bonham, so he can work in Singapore. As an expatriate, she is struggling to find her niche. She loves Edward and cares deeply for his teenage daughter, Josie.

Their apartment sounds completely dreamy and Edward is constantly showering Amanda with expensive gifts from the countries he often travels to.  Things are lovely for awhile and she is even trying to get pregnant and have a baby with Edward. In fact, she was secretly saving some cash in a “ginger jar” for future fertility treatments. Would a baby help her to fit in?

Things get complicated when she finds the body of their maid (referred to as helper) late one night.  It is ruled a suicide, but Amanda finds some clues that she can’t seem to shake off.  She finds herself snooping into his business and tracing his receipts. Should she be doubting her husband? Can she trust him? Edward continues to travel and Amanda keeps facing night after night with “only suspicion for company.”

Camille Kemble is trying to solve her own family mystery.  When she meets Edward, some childhood memories are triggered and his face seems familiar. Both women want answers, does Edward hold the key?

This book is beautifully written, full of intrigue, hidden secrets and an explosive ending that rocked me.
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Two women's lives collide in this suspenseful novel.  The author wrote a brilliant book that has a well developed plot and characters.  Definitely recommend!
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