Title: The Bigamist: The True Story of a Husband's Ultimate Betrayal
Author: Mary Turner Thomson
Publisher: Amazon Publishing UK
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is the third edition of this true story. In the earlier editions, all the names were changed except for those of the author and Will Jordan. In this edition, the real names of the children have been used on their insistence.
The book begins in April 2006, when an unknown caller tells Mary that she has been married to Mary’s husband, and the father of her two younger children, for the last 12 years and that they have 5 children together. This shocking revelation is only the first. Recovering from her shock, Mary embarks on her own investigation to find out the truth behind Will’s deception.
With this introduction, Mary takes us back in time, to their courtship and their wedding and their life together. We start in November 2000 and slowly come to April 2006, where I, for one, felt relieved at the thought that the truth would set her free. But the truth is far more complicated than Mary could have imagined.
It was November 2000 when Will Jordan first reached out to Mary Turner Thomson through a dating site. Mary was then a divorced single mother, with a good job, and her own home. She had the support of her mother, and was doing a great job of raising her little baby girl.
Will and Mary met in December 2000. Slowly they fell in love, and Will informed Mary about his work. He told her that he was a CIA operative, as an explanation for his sudden disappearances and long absences during which time he left her with no clues about what he was about. He even failed to show up to his own wedding.
During those initial years, he told her that he was infertile, as a result of a side effect of mumps which he suffered as a child. He was madly thrilled when Mary conceived their first child, a girl they named Eilidh.
In May 2002, she was forced to incur debt, first to pay for Will’s mother’s hospitalisation bills in the US, and then to buy a car for him to drive members of the CIA around. This was because he had given up active service in the CIA at her behest, but the CIA would not let him go without a fight. So he had to do these mean jobs or else they would not release his salary. He never gets paid his dues, and Mary’s finances get strained further, as Will makes frequent calls pleading for money to pay the CIA.
In all, he dupes her of over £200,000 pounds and leaves her feeling desperate and broken.
As readers, we feel an impotent sense of annoyance at Mary for allowing herself to be taken in. We feel that way because we have no idea what it must be like to be victimised by a sociopath. I don’t think Mary was more gullible than we would have been in her place.
She deserves to be commended for her courage in admitting her foolishness and making it her mission to expose his lies and save other women rather than choosing to keep quiet in the interest of salvaging her pride.
Mary comes across as sensible and good-hearted, if a little too trusting and willing to give a loved one the benefit of the doubt. Even though his secretiveness and his behaviour upset her, she didn’t give up on him. And it was this kind nature that Will took advantage of.
Mary stuck with him, incurring more debt, because the truth was hard to stomach, and reality nothing but outright misery. When she was completely broke, and no longer had any money to give him, she felt a strange sense of relief.
The fact that Will seemed to have so much information about things that didn’t even show up in the news until days later helped him gain Mary’s trust.
The author gives us a lot of detailed information to bolster her story. Through her narrative, we get a sense of an intelligent woman who got conned by a man completely lacking in scruples.
There were many times when I was furious with Will for the way he treated Mary. He not only didn’t show up for his own wedding the first time the ceremony was planned, he didn’t turn up for the birth of his two children either. If only her intuition had guided her to take his no-show at the wedding as a sign and call it off, she would have been spared all the misery.
Through it all, I was pleased to see that Mary’s commitment to her three children never wavered. Nor did her family, especially her mother, ever stop offering her support and strength.
Not only was he not infertile, Mary learns that Will has had more than ten children by different women. And even this number might be under-reported.
Learning of the deception that she has suffered, Mary is determined to get to the bottom of it. And she does.
The book takes us through Mary’s investigation as she diligently follows up clues, and talks to people to piece together the story of the man she thought loved her. A man who had been conning women and spinning tangled webs of lies for over 27 years. A man whose deception began in the US and continued in the UK.
I can only hope and pray that Mary gets the justice she deserves and that Will pays for the lives he has destroyed.
(I read this book through NetGalley. Thank you, NetGalley, the author and the publisher.)