Paperback: . 273 pagesGenre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Picador - April 2014
Source: Lovereading Reviewer Panel
First Sentences: Today, somehow, I am a smoker. I did not know this about myself. As far as I remember, I have never smoked before.
Review Quote: ‘On the surface the book is a highly competent, creepy little chiller, but beneath, like a silent, bolted and half-dark room, there’s a much bigger, equally disconcerting story about the nature of feminine experience. It’s an accomplished début from a writer who shows insight and emotional power’. Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prize winning author of Wolf Hall.
My Opinion: Completely lacking in storyline and tension.
I cannot say this was a boring novel as it was far from that, in fact it is an extremely erudite début from an obviously talented young lady. However it was just not for me, I found no pleasure in reading this novel and probably should not have done so, but I do like to keep my reading material eclectic! When I was offered the opportunity to read this I had expectations of it being along the lines of Room which I really loved. So I was extremely disappointed to discover that to me, as I know I am in the minority, this was completely lacking in storyline and tension. The character of Marta, just annoyed me, maybe I missed the point and she was meant to and as for Hector, well I thought he was a horrid man! Let me give you a brief synopsis and you can decide for yourself if this thriller is for you.
Marta is married to Hector, twenty years her senior and the man who apparently helped her through a traumatic time during her teens and then eventually took her as his wife. The relationship seems extremely cold and unloving to the reader with Hector controlling her every move. She is not allowed to venture beyond the limits of the village they reside in and has to take medication deemed necessary for her well being by her husband. It is her decision to stop this medication that leads to Marta, starting to recall little by little a past life. Or maybe this is all in her imagination after all? Deliberately vague in the telling the reader is ultimately left to make up their own mind.
As I am very much in the minority with my thoughts on 'How To Be A Good Wife' I am not able to recommend it to you but hope that my review will help you make a considered choice, if this is a genre you normally enjoy.
Emma Chapman was born in 1985 and grew up in Manchester. She studied English Literature at Edinburgh University, followed by a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. After university, she travelled in Scandinavia, and she currently lives in Perth, Western Australia. How To Be A Good Wife is Emma's first novel.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Goodreads - Author Profile Picador - Emma Chapman Website - How To Be A Good Wife
Twitter - Emma Chapman