Book Reviews

How To Be a Good Wife by: Emma Chapman

17286775[1]In the tradition of Emma Donoghue’s Room and S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, 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.Goodreads

I’ve wanted to review a book with a Liz Lemon quote or gif for a long time.  And today’s the day. After finishing this debut novel by Emma Chapman that releases today on October 15th, I just want to say…

Oh my! This book was haunting and eerie and chilling and everything that a psychological thriller should be. Not horrific in any way but plays with your mind as the story unfolds. That was the best part of this book. Chapman carefully and delicately gives the reader snippets of information regarding Marta’s state of mind. Is she remembering information about her past that was buried and numbed by medication or is she truly unstable with hallucinations and delusions?

“And there it is again, that strange echoing fear, slipping through the cracks that have formed in the memory. It’s easy to look at a photograph, and to tell yourself things happened a certain way, that you were happy. Easy to talk about it until it seems that it really happened that way.”

It’s a quick read which I finished in one day but not because it was lacking depth. It was like the Tell-Tale Heart, beating from the table in my home waiting to reveal more and more of this chilling and unnerving story. I couldn’t wait to get back to it. The simple yet effective prose makes you shiver at times. The pared down text mirrors how Marta was feeling when medicated – numb. Then as she starts to “remember” or “hallucinate” (remember-you don’t know) while being off of the medication, you start to feel anxious and nervous right along with her. Eager to find information. Obsessed with finding the truth and desperate to stay amongst the visions in hope for answers.

And then the ending. I can’t even say what happened but darn that Emma Chapman! I appreciate how she ended it, though, because it was brave and bold. This is definitely a book club pick. There is a lot to discuss and debate. And did I say this was her debut novel? An amazing start to what I predict will be a fantastic writing career.

*Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the Advance Readers’ Edition. I was not compensated or required to review this book. It was just so good, people!!

Visit her website here and find out more about this talented new author.

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