Review: How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman

Title: How To Be a Good Wife

Author: Emma Chapman

Published: St Martin’s Press October 2013

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from October 10 to 11, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

How To Be A Good Wife is a disquieting novel by debut novelist Emma Chapman. This subtle psychological thriller is an intriguing tale of half truths and lies, madness and mystery.

Make your home a place of peace and order.

Marta Bjornstad has always striven to be a good wife and mother, following the rules in the manual gifted to her on her wedding day, but now that her son has left home to lead his own life, her days seem long and empty. Her husband Hector, more than twenty years her senior, maintains that Marta will be fine as long as she continues to take her pills, but Marta stopped taking her medication months ago. And in the quiet, the house begins to echo with pleading ghosts and visions that flicker in darkened corners.

After a slow start, How To Be a Good Wife rewards the reader with a unnerving mystery. Written in the first person present tense, Marta is a narrator that we are not sure we can trust. Her husband and son would have us believe she is mentally ill and certainly Marta’s confused thinking and hallucinations would seem to support their opinion but as the novel unfolds doubt is cast over their simple explanation. Free of daily medication, Marta begins to piece together the story of her past, a tale that conflicts with what Hector has told their son, and one that she can get no one to believe.

Persevere beyond the first quarter or so of the novel and How To Be a Good Wife rewards you with an unexpected twist, though be warned, the unreliability of Marta’s narrative will not suit every reader and the truth remains obscured even after the final pages. Personally I was satisfied with the conclusions I drew from my interpretation of the story, I believe I know where the truth lies, even in the absence of Chapman’s denouement.

Haunting, poignant and gripping How To Be a Good Wife is an impressive, well crafted novel of suspense.

Available To Purchase From

St Martins Press I Amazon US I Amazon UK I BookDepository

Aust Cover


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelrainsnow
    Oct 17, 2013 @ 00:21:11

    Ooh, I love the sound of it…and my copy is coming this week! Now I can’t wait, and I’m glad mine is a Vine review copy, which means I can start reading soon! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



  2. Turn the Page Reviews
    Oct 17, 2013 @ 07:18:37

    I can’t wait to read this!



  3. Jen
    Oct 18, 2013 @ 06:40:41

    I just read something about this on BookRiot, saw my library has it on order, and plan to grab it when it comes in. Your review is now making me wish I had the book RIGHT NOW. 🙂



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