The first thing that I discovered within the introduction of How To Be A Good Wife was how elegantly the novel was penned by author Emma Chapman. I was thoroughly impressed with the writing style of Ms. Chapman, but the same could not be said about the actual novel. I tried hard to like this book, but I think it’s safe to say that the hype of this book turns out to be far greater than the actual novel.
In a Scandinavian setting I met a woman named Marta who is unable to fully cope with the loss of her only child leaving home. Marta first and foremost is a mother and a wife, but lately Marta is beginning to remember strange things about herself. When I met her she was smoking, vaguely this detail is greatly exaggerated throughout the first paragraph. As the first chapter progresses we learn that Marta is married to Hector, a man that is twenty years her senior. Marta has based her marriage and her role of wife off a book that was given to her by Hector's domineering mother titled “How To Be A Good Wife”.
As the novel progresses Marta begins to be haunted by visions of a young girl that appears to be trying to tell Marta something. The book goes downhill from this point onward. It is a very cold read that I do not think will appeal to most readers. Its dark depths of mental illness and betrayal is not suitable for those with a light heart.
I think overall I found this novel to be a decent read. I don't think I would recommend it outside of perhaps the way that Ms. Chapman chose to write. The novel was tastefully done, but I do not think it lives up to the hype that surrounds it. In all, I don't regret reading this book but I won't be hitting the download button on my Kindle upon its re-release.
In the tradition of Emma Donoghue's Room and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman is a haunting literary debut about a woman who begins having visions that make her question everything she knows
Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife—as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector’s aloof mother on their wedding day.
But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can’t recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember—or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta’s visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it’s unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.