George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.
A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.
One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one
that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.
What a dark, unsettling yet totally engaging read. I found myself unable to put this book down.
Written in the third person, (you don’t know her first name until the very end), but reads in a way you feel totally inside her head, Mrs March tells the story of it’s character and her spiral towards a breakdown. Convince her husband’s new book’s main character, a sex worker, is based on her, we read as her daily interactions become smaller and smaller as she ‘imagines’ (or does she?) that people are talking about her.
Crippled by status, appearances and an already deep need to appear just so, her life and mental state start to fall apart. Along side this are her suspicions of her husband and his possible cheating, flash backs to her younger self and her ‘relationship’ with her young son all make for a read that is a mix of an intermit look at a women’s mental health, phycological thriller, and an engaging mystery. Sprinkled with dark humour, an utterly unreliable main character and an ambiguous time setting, I found it a totally absorbing read.