His Lovely Wife Review
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His Lovely Wife is a story about a beautiful woman named Ellen Baxter who's staying at the Ritz in Paris in August of 1996. Ellen has issues with her identity. She feels she’s seen as a woman with no identity other than being her Nobel-laureate physicist husband’s “lovely wife.” During her stay at the Ritz, a photographer, Max Kafka, takes Ellen’s picture, having mistaken her for Princess Diana, who is also staying at the hotel. Ellen sees Diana in the hotel beauty parlor and again at dinner in the restaurant.

Early the next morning, Ellen gets up to go jogging and comes upon the scene of the princess’s crash. There she finds a photograph of Diana flipping the bird which, coincidentally, was taken by the same photographer who mistook her for the princess. From this point, Ellen hears Diana’s voice in her head and begins to see how her life parallels that of the late princess: she’s a trophy wife, she has a dysfunctional relationship with her mother, and she feels she can’t compete with the women with whom her husband associates. She obsesses about Diana’s death and seeks out Max, the photographer who took the picture, hoping in some way that he can help her find herself.

Max, however, is on a big guilt trip as a member of the hated paparazzi being blamed for sending the princess to her death. They meet for coffee and of course wind up in bed, just before Max makes a beeline out of Paris to escape arrest. Ellen goes back to the Ritz and her husband.

There’s no real conclusion to the story. As a reader, I hope Ellen learned something from her experience, but I can’t say what that is. I expected a cataclysmic moment somewhere in the story, but it never came.

Parts of the book go on and on about physics and string theories, which I don’t believe will appeal to the average reader, and this doesn’t seem to be the type of book a physicist would pick up for light reading.

Dedicated Diana fans will probably enjoy this book. The idea of Diana channeling through Ellen is a good one, but somehow it’s hard to fathom and perhaps could have been played out better. I was expecting a lot more.

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