Sunday 7 August 2022




'I am not my husband. I am innocent. Do you believe me?'

The beautiful, enigmatic wife of a feared dictator stands trial for her late husband's crimes against the people. The world will finally know the truth. But whose? A BBC2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick.



I learned early in life how to survive. A skill that became vital in my position.


I was given no power, yet I was expected to hold my own with the most powerful man in the country.


My people were my children. I stood between him and them.

I am not the person they say I am.

I am not my husband.

I am innocent.

Do you believe me?

Visceral and thought provoking, haunting and heartbreaking, The Dictator's Wife will hold you in its grip until its powerful conclusion, and keep you turning the pages long into the night.

Exciting, tense, provocative, gripping, and slightly annoying at times.

Events occupy several timelines. Our main character lawyer and narrator meets her mentor and boss years after the main events narrated in the book have happened. 

Most of the book is concerned with compiling a defence for the former first lady of a ficticious Eastern European state after the death of her husband and the fall of his regime. Our lawyer, name escapes me, has a connection with the country. Her and her parents fled with her as a young child during the regime in question. The day after reaching sanctuary in the UK, neither parent would discuss the past or speak a word of their native tongue ever again.

Our lawyer has to unravel the mystery of her family's past as well as gain the confidence of a formidable client. 

Hard to discuss without giving too much away, but I really liked this one. 

It was a bit like peeling away at an onion, a layer at a time as events, situations, secrets, evidence, and answers both personal and pertaining to the case as well as a crossover were revealed. All against a backdrop of changing circumstances - trial dates, tactics, personal and professional attitudes, political situation, public opinion, romantic relationships, and family health.

I'll be interested to see what Freya Berry comes up with next. 

4 from 5

Read - (listened to) May, 2022

Published - 2022

Page count - 416 (12 hrs 12 mins)

Source - review copy Net Galley

Format - Audible


  1. This sounds really interesting, Col. How do you separate what one spouse does from what the other does or has done, especially in the minds of the public, who don't always know what really goes on. There are some interesting political aspects to a plot like this, too. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot, it really is an interesting premise. It also comes up a lot in crime fiction and real life, when a murderer is caught, the whispers start - what did the family know?