How To Be A Good Wife – Emma Chapman

a good wife

Emma Chapman in her first novel, How To Be A Good Wife, has done the unthinkable. She had written a story that leaves the reader with more questions than answers when they reach the final page. The open ended nature of the final paragraphs will leave you either angry, sad or confused. But surprisingly it will not leave you unfulfilled.
“…Hector’s mother organized everything: she liked things to be done right, and made it quite clear she thought I was too young to understand. Her wedding present to me had been a book: How To Be A Good Wife, which she said would teach me everything I needed to know…”
Marta Bjornstad has spent the last twenty years being the good wife. She diligently prepares her husbands meals. Presses his clothes. Takes extra care not to bother him when he is tired or stressed. She is the perfection of a modern Stepford Wife. Until she does the one thing her husband constantly tells her she must do; she stops taking the medication he gives her.
Marta begins to hallucinate. To see a young girl trapped in her home. Hector begins to look like someone else. Not her loving husband but a man much different than she believes him to be. Are these hallucinations Marta keeps seeing or worse, are they memories?
“…I sink back into the desk chair. Perhaps Hector is right. Perhaps the girl is only in my imagination, a part of the old me that I am better off forgetting. I have a good life here, with a loving husband and son, and there are lots of things to look forward to. There is the wedding, and watching Kylan’s life unfold. Grandchildren. Perhaps we could even move closer to the city…”
As the medication wears away Marta is assaulted with visions and thoughts of a young girl, taken in the night and kept locked in the basement of her home. A girl drugged and kept. A girl who just may be Marta herself.
How To Be A Good Wife is a rare psychological thriller that is seldom seen much less attempted in a first novel. It is daring and innovative. A wonderful risk which tempts us with more to come.

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