"As lies and betrayals threaten Emily's marriage, will she be brave enough to reach for happiness?"
Reviewed by Linda Green
Posted March 4, 2015
Emily seems to have the perfect life. Married to a politician,
Ralph, and mother of two beautiful children, Alfie and Tash,
she has a beautiful home in the country and attends political
functions like the belle of the ball. But when Ralph's
political career hits the big leagues, the cracks that have
been hidden in their marriage start to show. Emily is
basically a single parent as Ralph is never really around for
her and the kids, and Emily feels she has lost herself, having
given up her career as a journalist, when she had suddenly
fallen pregnant with Tash all those years ago.
When Ralph suddenly finds himself thrust into the potential
Prime Minister position, Emily is disgusted that he would
decide their future without consulting her. His lack of regard
for her opinion is just the beginning of their problems. As
Emily's world seems to be falling down around her, she becomes
even more confused when her first love, Matt, reappears in her
life. Matt, a successful journalist, is covering Ralph's
campaign, and is not hiding the fact that he still loves
Emily, regardless of her decisions in the past. Emily fights
her feelings for the man who abandoned her all those years
ago. When betrayals, past regrets, and a terrifying ordeal
happens to Emily, will Matt be there for the only woman he has
ever loved? Or will another misunderstanding convince Emily to
remain in her not so perfect marriage?
I thoroughly enjoyed NEVER MARRY A POLITICIAN by Sarah
Waights. The plot captured my interest immediately, and I
really connected with the characters, and their complicated
lives as they are well developed and detailed. NEVER MARRY A
POLITICIAN by Sarah Waights is at times humorous, at times
heart breaking, but always captivating, and I highly recommend
‚ÄėNever, under any circumstances, marry a politician ‚Ä¶ ‚Äė
In trying to be the model wife to Ralph, a fiercely
ambitious politician, Emily has betrayed her heart and
principles. Once she was a promising journalist, but now
reluctant domestic goddess is more her scene.
When unexpected events lead to Ralph becoming a candidate
for Prime Minster, Emily finds maintaining the fa√ßade of
picture-perfect family life an increasing struggle
‚Äďespecially when her romantic past comes back to haunt
in the form of tough-talking journalist, Matt Morley.
Matt is highly skilled at ‚Äėdigging the dirt‚Äô and, sure
enough, Ralph has a sordid secret that is soon uncovered.
the aftermath of the discovery, will Emily finally find
courage to be true to herself, or is she stuck in the
of PR tactics and photo opportunities for good?
Finalist in the 2014 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing
ExcerptTHE TEN COMMANDMENTS for a politician‚Äôs wife
My name is Emily Pemilly. I know, catastrophic. Being of
dubiously sound mind my advice would be never, under any
circumstances, marry a politician.
However, if you insist, the only advice I can offer is
1. Thou shalt take thy husband‚Äôs name ‚Äď because this is
expected, even if thou art then called something utterly
ridiculous like Emily Pemilly which makes thee sound like
the heroine of one of those silly children‚Äôs book that
would never have got published if they hadn‚Äôt been
written by someone famous.
2. Thou shalt give up thy career ‚Äď which was the one
thing that made thee feel like a proper adult. That and
having a sensible name. Sadly, being a fearless and
uncompromising mouthpiece for the truth is an impossible
career choice for people with silly names anyway. As
another option, you could consider the following
3. Thou shalt choose a career which makes thee look
saintly ‚Äď thereby casting a glow of sanctity upon thy
husband by association. Looking after sick children would
be good, although being a nurse is politically sensitive
because of the union issues and being a doctor means thou
art a bit too clever. Perhaps run an animal rescue centre
or similar as being nice to small, furry creatures is
definitely a vote winner.
4. Thou shalt give up the right to make even the simplest
decisions on thine own ‚Äď leaving such weighty issues as
which supermarket to shop at, which car to drive and even
names for thy children, to be endlessly dissected and
analysed by a focus group which will tell thee precisely
how to do absolutely everything.
5. Thou shalt gaze adoringly at thy husband at all times
whilst in public ‚Äď even when he is making the most boring
speech in Christendom. Actually, especially then. And no
6. Thou shalt cheerfully attend an endless series of
constituency fundraising events ‚Äď where members of thy
husband‚Äôs constituency and team will talk about thee as
though thou aren‚Äôt there.
7. Thou shalt deputise for thy husband at all the
constituency surgeries that he can‚Äôt be arsed to go to
himself ‚Äď even though this involves sitting for hours in
draughty village halls listening to old people moaning
about waiting lists for hip replacements, the solution
for which is entirely beyond thy power.
8. Thou shalt not beat thy children ‚Äď as thou art
required to be a far more perfect parent than anyone else
in the world. This is mainly in case thy husband is
called upon to speak in support of a smacking ban or some
other entirely unrealistic parenting policy thought up by
people who don‚Äôt have children.
9. Thou shalt not allow thy children to misbehave in
public ‚Äď a particularly difficult commandment given the
restrictions imposed by commandment number eight. By the
way, thou needn‚Äôt think drugging them into submission is
an option either because this is also frowned upon by
those pesky childfree policymakers.
10. Thou shalt believe that the end justifies the means ‚Äď
in practice this translates to a devout and unquestioning
acceptance that how things look is considerably more
important than how things are.
And this is the word of the Party.
Even the combination of tiger face-paint and a generous
coating of chocolate spread failed to disguise Alfie‚Äôs
‚ÄėDaddy,‚Äô he announced, ‚Äėis a poo-poo head.‚Äô
‚ÄėI couldn‚Äôt agree more,‚Äô Emily muttered. ‚ÄėI know you‚Äôre
disappointed sweetie,‚Äô she said, ruffling Alfie‚Äôs hair.
‚ÄėDaddy wouldn‚Äôt have missed your party for the world if
he didn‚Äôt have to.‚Äô
He had still had a fabulous birthday, she mused. As a
sociable four year old, his idea of heaven was a crowd of
mates, opportunities to run around screaming like a
banshee and endless supplies of party food made primarily
out of artificial colouring. He had had all these since
three o‚Äôclock that afternoon and fifteen pre-schoolers
had trailed home two hours later, off their heads on
sugar and additives and primed to put their parents
through hell until bedtime.
The house had not escaped unscathed and, once again,
Emily rued her lack of forethought in not giving birth to
her children in the summer. How did the other parents of
children with winter birthdays cope without the garden
party option? Her husband Ralph ‚Äď pronounced Raif, but
frequently mispronounced, to his irritation ‚Äď had thought
the same. He‚Äôd had little patience for her in the first
mind-numbing weeks when she was caring for the new-born
Alfie who had arrived when Tash, then four, was at the
height of her despotic infant powers.
‚ÄėYou should have waited for summer recess,‚Äô he had said,
creating the impression that, in his view, Emily could
have extended gestation to fifteen months rather than
thoughtlessly sticking with the usual nine.
He missed the birth of course. A three line whip had kept
him in the House to vote. Then he had turned up at the
hospital, not with flowers and champagne but with his
agent TJ along with Saul, TJ‚Äôs celebrity photographer
boyfriend. Saul‚Äôs sleeveless leather jacket, worn over a
naked torso, attracted even more interest in the
maternity ward than Ralph, who was irritated at not being
the centre of attention. The resulting arty black and
white shots of father gazing into the eyes of his new-
born son had been sold hard into the national newspapers.
Columnists had twittered at length about the family-
friendly face of the Party, edging ahead in the polls
with their young, dynamic team of shadow ministers, of
which Ralph was the newest and shiniest. He was Shadow
Secretary of State for Children and Families at the time,
being elevated to the top of the party at just thirty-
eight, only four years into his career as an MP.
She gazed wearily at the post-party mess. If only she‚Äôd
organised a press call along with the crisps and sausage
rolls, he might have made an appearance. Mind you, as
Alfie was a lot more vocal and less co-operative than he
had been, it suited Ralph to play the sanctimonious ‚Äėmy
family life is private‚Äô card more often nowadays.
‚ÄėGive us a kiss, gorgeous,‚Äô she sighed, holding out her
Alfie‚Äôs eyes narrowed. ‚ÄėOkay, just one,‚Äô he said,
offering a cheek, ‚Äėbut no spit.‚Äô
Nessa and Emily were having a cup of own-brand instant
coffee, the best the kitchen cupboards at the village
hall had to offer. It was an unappealing reward for
finishing the clothes sorting.
‚ÄėWho donates their pants to a jumble sale?‚Äô asked Emily
‚ÄėI know darling. Too ghastly,‚Äô agreed Nessa with a
shudder. ‚ÄėNever mind,‚Äô she added, ‚Äėjust the books to go ‚Äď
thank heaven. Must be my millionth time ...‚Äô
‚ÄėMore, I should have thought. You‚Äôre so kind to help, you
know. I don‚Äôt know what I‚Äôd do without you.‚Äô
The last words came out with a barely perceptible tremor
and Nessa knew Emily wasn‚Äôt just talking about gruesome
jumble sale preparations.
‚ÄėDarling, I wouldn‚Äôt be anywhere else,‚Äô she replied,
giving Emily a little squeeze and then busying herself
with the coffee cups so they could both regain their
composure. ‚ÄėGod knows, I‚Äôd still be doing this as MP‚Äôs
wife if Arthur hadn‚Äôt so selfishly dropped dead on us
all,‚Äô she continued over her shoulder as she rinsed the
cups and put them on the draining board. ‚ÄėMind you, it‚Äôs
been forty-six years of jumble sales and coffee mornings
I worked out the other day. Horrifying isn‚Äôt it? The
truth is ‚Äď despite it all ‚Äď I‚Äôm not ready to hang up my
constituency boots just yet.‚Äô
Emily could hardly believe her friend was in her sixties.
She wore her age with an ease that made the thirty year
age gap irrelevant. ‚ÄėI didn‚Äôt have a clue what I was
doing when Ralph took Arthur‚Äôs seat,‚Äô she reminisced.
‚ÄėThank goodness you were prepared to stick around.‚Äô
Nessa smiled. ‚ÄėI was thinking the other day I‚Äôve gone
from MP‚Äôs wife to a kind of honorary MP‚Äôs wife‚Äôs mother-
‚ÄėI can assure you, you couldn‚Äôt be less like a mother-in-
‚ÄėYou say the sweetest things. Also, the very thought of
being Ralph‚Äôs mother! I don‚Äôt know who would be more
horrified ‚Äď him or me ... ooh look, porn!‚Äô she exclaimed,
distracted by a grubby paperback with a naked woman on
‚ÄėSo it is. Much pored over by the look of it too. Ugh.
Shall I chuck it?‚Äô
‚ÄėAbsolutely not. I‚Äôll keep it under the counter and whip
it out when the vicar gets to me. He likes a bit of
‚ÄėNo he doesn‚Äôt,‚Äô giggled Emily. ‚ÄėYou are naughty. He‚Äôs a
clean cut young man with a gorgeous wife and three
children, as you know perfectly well.‚Äô
‚ÄėAh, but appearances can be deceptive,‚Äô said Nessa,
tapping the side of her nose. ‚ÄėNow this really is
interesting,‚Äô she exclaimed holding up a fat red volume
with gold tooling on the spine. ‚ÄėHow to Run the Perfect
Household by Felicity Wainwright,‚Äô she read. ‚ÄėIt looks
like ‚Äď oh yes, look at this publication date ‚Äď 1953. Now
those were the days,‚Äô she reminisced. ‚ÄėIt was only the
mid-sixties that Arthur and I were married ‚Äď I was a
child bride obviously ‚Äď and my, what a shock it was, too!
I could have done with something like this.‚Äô
‚ÄėMust be hopelessly old-fashioned nowadays though,‚Äô said
Emily, holding out her hand for it. ‚ÄėFor goodness sake,
look at this, for example. Page one, chapter one, ‚ÄúA
young woman of refinement entering marriage today is
likely to find herself running a household with the bare
minimum of staffing. She will therefore be likely to have
to take on the role of housekeeper herself, taking a
close interest in the work of the maid and cook, to
ensure standards are kept to a respectable level. This is
essential if she is to do her wifely duty of maintaining
the dignity of her husband amongst his peers.‚ÄĚ‚Äô
She blew a sigh. ‚ÄėIt was another world wasn‚Äôt it! Pipes
and slippers for the men and domestic slavery for the
women, albeit with ‚Äúhelp‚ÄĚ. Thank goodness we made it to
the twenty-first century before Ralph and I tied the
‚ÄėHello ladies,‚Äô announced TJ as he marched into the
village hall, looking more than usually brisk and
efficient. Behind him followed a bespectacled grey-haired
man in pinstripes. ‚ÄėRight,‚Äô said TJ rubbing his hands
together, ‚Äėlet‚Äôs talk tactics.‚Äô
‚ÄėGreat,‚Äô said Nessa. ‚ÄėThey‚Äôre my favourite ... Only the
mint ones of course, those orange and lime things they
brought out are just too horrid for words.‚Äô
Emily giggled. ‚ÄėTactics, Nessa, not tic tacs.‚Äô
TJ looked cross. He raised his chin and continued, ‚ÄėIn
light of the ‚Ä¶ er ‚Ä¶ developments of this morning, central
office are keen to ensure we are optimising the
opportunities presented to us by the inevitable increase
in media interest.‚Äô
Nessa shot Emily a look.
‚ÄėWhat developments, TJ?‚Äô asked Emily, ‚Äėonly whatever
massive news has been announced, we‚Äôve missed it.‚Äô
‚ÄėTrue,‚Äô agreed Nessa. ‚ÄėWe‚Äôve been buried in dirty
underpants and porn all morning. Haven‚Äôt heard a thing,‚Äô
she added innocently.
TJ and pinstripes looked pained and astonished in turn.
TJ sighed. When Arthur had died, a tiny glimmer of hope
in the general bleakness of the situation was that Nessa
would be replaced by an altogether more amenable MP‚Äôs
wife that he could boss around. It had worked out, to a
point. He was secretly and devotedly in love with Ralph,
as well as being extremely fond of Emily, but Nessa‚Äôs
continued presence led her frequently into insurrection
that TJ, as agent and therefore lynchpin in the
constituency, could do without. Now, more than ever,
unquestioning compliance would be helpful.
‚ÄėSo, he hasn‚Äôt contacted you?‚Äô he asked Emily,
She shook her head. Although he had been in the London
flat since Tuesday night and it was now Thursday
afternoon, they no longer called each other several times
a day, just to hear each other‚Äôs voices.
‚ÄėWell,‚Äô TJ continued, flustered, ‚ÄėI am sure he would have
done if he could. It‚Äôs been really mental. I happen to
know he‚Äôs in a shadow cabinet meeting as we speak.‚Äô
‚ÄėSo anyway,‚Äô said Nessa, ‚Äėcutting the crap ‚Äď as it were ‚Äď
what the bloody hell is this huge news, TJ?‚Äô
‚ÄėOh, right. Well, in a nutshell, the government have done
it. They‚Äôve called a general election.‚Äô
Emily whistled. ‚ÄėRalph must be beside himself,‚Äô she said
‚ÄėWell, we‚Äôre all pretty excited, that‚Äôs true enough,‚Äô
conceded pinstripes, coming forward to shake the women‚Äôs
hands. ‚ÄėI‚Äôm Gerald Mortimer, from central office as TJ
said. Basically, I‚Äôve been asked to come out and help get
everyone on message, help out with profile management,
that sort of thing.‚Äô
Emily nodded and Nessa looked amused.
‚ÄėThe thing is,‚Äô he continued, ‚ÄėRalph is obviously a
pretty key person as far as the presentation of the party
is concerned. We will want to be using him ‚Äď and you,‚Äô he
flashed a grin at Emily, ‚Äėto show the electorate what we
‚ÄėWhich is ...?‚Äô queried Nessa.
Gerald looked as if it was the pinnacle of his life‚Äôs
ambition to be asked such a question. ‚ÄėWell,‚Äô he began,
‚Äėthe main thing to get across is probably going to be the
whole traditional family values thing.‚Äô
Emily threw him an enquiring look.
‚ÄėYou know,‚Äô he continued, ‚Äėlike supporting the nuclear
family with the introduction of a tax framework that
rewards the single wage earner, allowing the other parent
the choice to manage home and childcare meaning better
educational attainment and a future workforce with
inherent personal social responsibility and a valuable
skill set ...‚Äô
Nessa yawned extravagantly. Emily was sure she was
putting it on. ‚ÄėSo, my role is ...?‚Äô she queried.
‚ÄėAh,‚Äô smirked Gerald, ‚ÄėYou would be the go-getting, ball-
breaking alpha woman, with the high-flying career and the
househusband, obviously ...‚Äô
‚ÄėReally?‚Äô said Emily, flattered that her gossipy column
in the local lifestyle magazine plus the odd feature
article in a national broadsheet was considered ‚Äėhigh-
‚ÄėErm, no ‚Äď sorry ‚Äď I was joking,‚Äô he replied,
embarrassed. ‚ÄėWe rather had you down as the ‚Äúperfect
home-maker, photogenic family, dedicated wife, charming
consort to the powerful man‚ÄĚ type of role actually.‚Äô
‚ÄėSounds like not much has changed,‚Äô Nessa observed. ‚ÄėI‚Äôve
done rather too much ‚Äúcharming consort‚ÄĚ stuff myself over
‚ÄėReally?‚Äô said Gerald, a little too incredulously for
‚ÄėYes, really,‚Äô she said. ‚ÄėI am relieved to say that role
is behind me ‚Äď and I can assure you there is nothing less
diplomatic than an ex-diplomat.‚Äô Emily noticed TJ nodding
fervently. ‚ÄėBut surely,‚Äô Nessa continued, ‚Äėwe should be
allowing Emily a little more freedom than I had?‚Äô
‚ÄėYes, sure ‚Ä¶ I mean, erm, no,‚Äô said Gerald, confused.
‚ÄėThat is, Emily is an asset,‚Äô he beamed at her, ‚Äėand we
feel she has an important role to play in enhancing the
appeal of the party to the electorate. She and Ralph are
a package. That‚Äôs the point.‚Äô
‚ÄėSo she can continue being her charming, supportive,
delightful original self?‚Äô pressed Nessa.
‚ÄėOh yah, absolutely,‚Äô said Gerald. But he didn‚Äôt mean it.
Emily could tell, having been mugged by the central
office mafiosi before, not least when they insisted that
she turn down a parliamentary sketch column ‚Äď the would-
be pinnacle of her journalistic career ‚Äď because of a
‚Äúconflict of interest‚ÄĚ. In other words, it ‚Äúconflicted‚ÄĚ
with Ralph‚Äôs ‚Äúinterest‚ÄĚ in becoming the youngest member
of the Cabinet.
‚ÄėAnyway,‚Äô said Nessa, tiring of her TJ baiting game, ‚ÄėI‚Äôm
‚ÄėI‚Äôll call you later,‚Äô she whispered in Emily‚Äôs ear as
she gave her a goodbye hug. ‚ÄėAnd I think you might be
needing this,‚Äô she added as she pressed something hard-
edged and heavy into her hand.
Bringing it up to her face, she didn‚Äôt know whether to
laugh or cry. There, in her hand, was the copy of How to
Run the Perfect Household by Felicity Wainwright, 1950‚Äôs
Remember, your husband will be looking forward to
returning home and off-loading the stress of his day.
Even if your own day has been wearing, don‚Äôt make the
mistake of burdening him with your problems. Instead,
prepare to amuse him with an entertaining snippet or two.
Felicity Wainwright, 1953
‚ÄėTash has got nits again,‚Äô she said to Ralph as he took
off his coat.
‚ÄėReally? What glamour, what hedonism you enjoy when I‚Äôm
away,‚Äô he joked. ‚ÄėD‚Äôyou think it‚Äôs the school? Maybe we
should send her private ...‚Äô
‚ÄėThe village primary‚Äôs fine. She‚Äôd still get nits in a
‚ÄėAh, but posh nits though. A better class of nit, if you
will ...‚Äô said Ralph, giving her a hug and a glancing
kiss on the cheek. ‚ÄėNothing for it though, the village
primary it must be. Better for the image don‚Äôt you know?‚Äô
She did. ‚ÄėHow was the surgery?‚Äô
‚ÄėGod, what a ghastly crowd,‚Äô he groaned. Fresh from the
excitement in Westminster, the weekly constituency
surgery had seemed even more parochial than usual. ‚ÄėCan
you believe that horrific old crone from Maybury showed
up again to rant about double-yellow lines with her photo
album of badly parked cars? Do you know, she actually
goes around with a measuring tape to get evidence? One
can only hope she‚Äôll get squashed by a lorry‚Ä¶‚Äô
‚ÄėDid we not get a reply from highways on it? You remember
we decided to ask them to do a study on it to see if the
parking restrictions should be extended to help the flow
‚ÄėDid we? To be honest I don‚Äôt have a clue any more,‚Äô
admitted Ralph, running his fingers through his hair,
rubbing his scalp hard as if his head hurt which it
probably did, to be fair.
‚ÄėTea or wine,‚Äô she offered.
‚ÄėI‚Äôm not sure either of them are going to do it, have we
got any gin?‚Äô
‚ÄėSorry. Gin, yes, but tonic, no. I forgot to put it on
‚ÄėI‚Äôll have wine, as long as it‚Äôs not that filthy stuff we
got in for the cheese and wine do last week,‚Äô he
conceded, but not before Emily had seen his irritated
look at this failure in the domestic machinery which was,
of course, her fault.
Emily rummaged for the corkscrew, eventually turning out
the whole drawer onto the kitchen table, but then
realised it was a screw top anyway as they almost always
were nowadays, even the decent stuff which Ralph now
insisted on. She recalled the days when any old plonk
The day they met ‚Äď her newspaper had sent her to do a
profile on him as one of the chief architects of the new
party ‚Äď their business lunch had run into the evening and
then through the night, with Ralph insisting on ordering
another bottle of wine and then another before repairing
to his Westminster flat where he talked her into bed. She
had been ripe to be impressed by him. Flattened by the
series of painful events that preceded her meeting with
him, he was ten years older than her, successful, dynamic
and in no way plagued by the self-doubt that crippled
Ralph, in turn, was totally bewitched. It was not just
her petite frame, which belied her strength, or even the
way her bright, brown eyes flashed with passion when she
expressed her views on political issues. She was so
genuinely earnest and charmingly unaware of her own
‚ÄėI love your naive idealism,‚Äô he told her. ‚ÄėI have to
assume it‚Äôs your youth.‚Äô
‚ÄėYeah, probably,‚Äô she had replied, unimpressed. ‚ÄėI
suppose I‚Äôm bound to have turned into a dried up old
cynic by the time I get to your age.‚Äô
Not used to taking any woman seriously, let alone a
younger one, Ralph found her enchanting and vowed to have
her. When she fell pregnant just weeks after they met, he
received her nervous announcement with the same
decisiveness that he applied to his professional
decisions. They would get married, he said. It would all
be fine. The timing was ideal as he had been advised to
find a wife before standing for Parliament ‚Äď no-one was
so stuffy as to care if the bride was up the duff
nowadays ‚Äď and the wedding would give him an excuse to
invite all the people he wanted to cosy up to.
It had worked. He was rewarded for his loyalty to the
party with a safe seat, although she had been
disappointed it was in Sussex where she had no friends or
family nearby. He had been elected to parliament when
Tash was just a new-born and Alfie not even thought of,
but the move to the country and downgrading of career for
Emily had meant that she, quite naturally, had taken an
interest in Ralph‚Äôs constituency work. Initially, he had
been driven by the desire to make things better for those
whose votes he had relied on. Lately though, the glamour
of Westminster and his rise within the party to shadow
Home Secretary had replaced that passion with cynicism
and a waning interest in local matters. Emily had tried
to take over out of genuine concern for righting wrongs
but found she was depressingly powerless to help.
‚ÄėSo, how are the boys at central office reacting to the
election announcement?‚Äô she asked.
‚ÄėExcited. Feeling like the PM‚Äôs made a bit of an error
calling it now, given that we‚Äôre riding so high in the
opinion polls but who are we to complain?‚Äô
‚ÄėWho indeed?‚Äô smiled Emily.
‚ÄėBut then, what choice did he have? Looks like things
aren‚Äôt going to go their way over the next ten months and
then they‚Äôd be forced to call an election anyhow. They
obviously thought waiting until the last minute would be
‚ÄėWill we win then?‚Äô
‚ÄėThere‚Äôs a good chance. As long as the key people can be
persuaded to keep their noses clean over the next couple
of months anyhow. It‚Äôs all going to be on personalities.
You could barely get a fag paper between our policies and
Emily nodded. This had been her main angle when writing
her political commentary even before Alfie was born and
nothing much had changed since then.
‚ÄėYeah,‚Äô continued Ralph, ‚Äėas we‚Äôve been saying, it‚Äôs all
on personalities now, so we just have to make sure we are
offering what the voters want.‚Äô
‚ÄėPerfect, shiny, happy families then?‚Äô
‚ÄėWell, yes,‚Äô he conceded, ‚Äėthat‚Äôs us. Then we‚Äôve got the
cool, cosmopolitan gay guys who are obviously Charles and
Ivan, the steady older bloke with business experience,
Alan ‚Äď we need him to be the PM in waiting of course. In
any other economic climate we‚Äôd be fielding a younger man
as leader ...‚Äô he trailed off, rubbing his forehead with
fatigue and thwarted ambition.
You would have been the ‚Äėyounger man‚Äô, thought Emily, who
knew how painful it had been for Ralph when last year‚Äôs
leadership battle had led to his narrow defeat, despite
the party nearly splitting in half over the battle to
decide between him and Alan. He had been persuaded behind
closed doors to stand down and back Alan, reuniting the
party by publicly and vociferously stating his
satisfaction with the role of shadow Home Secretary.
The phone rang.
‚ÄėRalph Pemilly,‚Äô he answered rather too loudly. Emily
smiled to herself. However shattered he was ‚Äď and he
frequently was ‚Äď he always answered the phone as if he
had just been interrupted doing something important and
‚ÄėYep,‚Äô he said, ‚Äėabsolutely ‚Äď no, you‚Äôre absolutely right
Gerald,‚Äô he was saying.
So it was pinstripe man, thought Emily. Judging by
Ralph‚Äôs manner with him, Gerald was a major cog in the
machine. She supposed she ought to have been more
appreciative that he spent so much of his time and energy
on her and TJ yesterday.
Now Ralph was smoothing back his hair, checking his
reflection in the darkened kitchen window. They were not
overlooked and Emily rarely lowered the blind. Funny, she
thought, how people tended to groom themselves when they
were on the telephone. Almost like videophones were an
everyday reality. And thank goodness they are not, she
thought, given the number of times she had answered the
telephone to constituents naked. Well, she justified,
they did seem to think it was fine to call whenever they
had a mind to.
‚ÄėOkay, yeah, definitely,‚Äô he was saying now. ‚ÄėJust tell
him to contact the constituency office when he wants to
‚ÄėEverything okay?‚Äô asked Emily when he put down the
‚ÄėGreat, actually,‚Äô said Ralph, still arranging his hair.
‚ÄėThat was Gerald saying he‚Äôs managed to get a Sunday
Times magazine feature on me.‚Äô
‚ÄėWow,‚Äô said Emily.
‚ÄėYeah, well, they wanted Alan,‚Äô he admitted, ‚Äėbut he was
tied into an exclusive deal with the Telegraph just
before the election announcement, so no-one else is
allowed to do anything on him ‚Äėtil it comes out. The
Telegraph have landed on their feet of course, getting a
print exclusive with the next PM.‚Äô
‚ÄėTheir loss is your gain though,‚Äô pointed out Emily.
‚ÄėYeah, well, Gerald did a good job of getting them to go
for me instead,‚Äô he said with a humility Emily was sure
he didn‚Äôt feel. ‚ÄėThe leader of the party‚Äôs more of a
coup, obviously. Actually, they‚Äôve not just decided to
write about me, they want the whole thing; you, the kids,
the whole family man thing.‚Äô He looked at Emily
‚ÄėSure,‚Äô she reassured him. ‚ÄėThat‚Äôs fine. It‚Äôs not like
it‚Äôs a sleazy tabloid rag doing an expos? of your drug-
taking, hard-drinking, and rent boy habit.‚Äô
‚ÄėNor yours my sweet,‚Äô he said, tapping her on the nose
for her cheekiness. ‚ÄėHe‚Äôll probably be here on Monday to
start getting a feel for everything at a constituency
level. I said he should call TJ and go from there. I
expect he‚Äôll want to spend more of his time in
Westminster all told. That‚Äôs where the action is really.
‚ÄėI think he‚Äôs probably quite good, this journalist,‚Äô he
continued. ‚ÄėDon‚Äôt know if you‚Äôve come across him at all
in your former life? Bloke called Matt Morley?‚Äô
Emily froze. After a moment, Ralph looked at her
enquiringly, waving his hand in front of her face.
‚ÄėEarth to Emily! Have you heard of him?‚Äô
‚ÄėCertainly not,‚Äô she snapped and then caught the puzzled
look on his face. ‚ÄėSorry, what did you say?‚Äô
‚ÄėHeard of him? This Matt Morley bloke?‚Äô
‚ÄėErm,‚Äô Emily thought fast, ‚Äėheard of him? Yes, sorry, I
thought you said ‚Äúhad I had him‚ÄĚ whereas you actually
said ‚Äúhad I heard of him‚ÄĚ ...‚Äô she trailed off, giggling
nervously. ‚ÄėSo yes, the name rings a bell. I think he‚Äôs
reasonably good,‚Äô she added, blushing because, in that
minute, for the first time in their marriage, she had
just told her husband a big fat lie.
What do you think about this review?
1 comment posted.
Re: As lies and betrayals threaten Emily's marriage, will she be brave enough to reach for happiness?
Thanks so much, Linda, for this lovely review. You are
officially my favourite reader. xxx
(Sarah Waights 8:06am March 5, 2015)
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