My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
It won’t be so bad when you’re there, says my new husband before kissing me on the mouth. He tastes of Rice Krispies and that strong toothpaste of his which I still haven’t gotten used to.
I know, I say before he peels off to the bus stop on the other side of the road.
Two lies. Small white ones. Designed to make the other feel better.
But that’s how some lies start. Small. Well meaning. Until they get too big to handle.
When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe. A convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to. For whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything.
But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants.
When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep sixteen years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.”
Jane Corry is a writer and journalist and has spent time as the writer in residence of a high-security prison for men—an experience that helped inspire the novel. About the experience, Jane says, “You never know what each day is going to bring. But when you’re Inside, you forget to be frightened. You just get on with your work. Then, when you come out at the end of the day, you’re almost on a high because you’ve been in a different world that is potentially very dangerous. It would take me at least forty-eight hours to ‘come down’. Then it would be time to start again…”
WHAT I LEARNED ‘INSIDE’
BY JANE CORRY
I’d never been inside a prison before I took my job as writer in residence of a high security jail for men. So almost everything I came across was a complete eye-opener. People often ask me what it was like. It’s really hard to appreciate it until you’ve been Inside yourself. But here’s a taster.
- Prison isn’t always safe. When I was there, one prisoner murdered another. It sent shock waves through all of us. I didn’t have a guard with me when I ran my classes or gave one to one writing feedback. Once, when my usual room wasn’t available, the men suggested I run my workshop upstairs near their pads. This wasn’t usually allowed but the officer said I could ‘if I wanted’. I knew that if something happened to me, the newspapers would brand me as being foolish. But that if I didn’t, the men would think I didn’t trust them. So I went upstairs and it was fine.
- I was treated very kindly by most of the prisoners. They held doors open for me. They helped get me students. And they appreciated having a writer in their midst. However, there were a few hairy moments. I was constantly followed round the prison by a man who was in for attempted murder. (I told one of the officers.) I lost a prisoner’s poem and he told me that he was very, very angry. (I found it.) And I was subjected to a barrage of sexual innuendoes by one man during a workshop. (The other men told him to shut up. Eventually he did.)
- You have to be careful if prisoners get too nice. They might be trying to ‘groom’ you so you will then do them favors. One previous member of staff had apparently sold mobile phones to prisoners and was then jailed as a result.
- There’s a lot of talent in prison. I found some great writers. Many of my men were doing OU degrees. Another had already been published. I would take in The Bookseller every week and we’d have a good gossip.
- No one ever wrote about their victims in my workshops. They sometimes expressed remorse. But only towards their families because they’d ‘caused them pain’.
- When you’re about to go into the prison for work, you are scared. You never know what each day is going to bring. But when you’re Inside, you forget to be frightened. You just get on with your work. Then, when you come out at the end of the day, you’re almost on a high because you’ve been in different world that is potentially very dangerous. It would take me at least forty-eight hours to ‘come down’. Then it would be time to start again…