How To Be a Good Wife

A Novel

Emma Chapman

St. Martin's Press

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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.

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Book Excerpts

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ONE

 

Today, somehow, I am a smoker.

I did not know this about myself. As far as I remember, I have never smoked before.

It feels unnatural, ill-fitting, for a woman of my age: a wife, a mother with a grown-up son, to sit in the middle of the day with a cigarette between her fingers. Hector hates smoking. He always coughs sharply when we walk behind someone smoking on the street, and I imagine his vocal cords rubbing together, moist and pink like chicken flesh.

I rub the small white face of my watch. Twelve fifteen. By this time, I am usually working on something in the kitchen.

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Reviews

Praise for How To Be a Good Wife

"On the surface the book is a highly competent chiller, but beneath, like a silent, bolted . . . room, there’s a much bigger story about the nature of feminine experience. An accomplished debut.”—Hilary Mantel, New York Times bestselling author of Wolf Hall

How To Be a Good Wife is at once claustrophobic, startling and hauntingly beautiful. It’s that amazing, awful kind of book that will stay with you long after you wish it would let you go.”—Liza Klaussmann, author of Tigers in Red Weather

“A compelling, twisty tale of deception and distrust. Beautifully written, and very clever.”—Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner

In the Press

‘How to Be a Good Wife’ and ‘The Night Guest’ - NYTimes.com
First novels by Emma Chapman and Fiona McFarlane consider women on the verge of breakdown.
- The New York Times


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About the Author

Emma Chapman

EMMA J. CHAPMAN was born in 1985 and grew up in Manchester, England. She studied English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.  After university, she travelled solo in Scandinavia, where she learned to camp, bathe in fjords, and carry everything she needed.  She is currently living in Perth, Western Australia. How To Be a Good Wife is her first novel.

Emma Chapman

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Available Formats and Book Details

How To Be a Good Wife
A Novel
Emma Chapman

Award

Romantic Times Book Award

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
October 2013
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781250018199
ISBN10: 1250018196
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 288 pages
$24.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
October 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781250018205
ISBN10: 125001820X
288 pages
$11.99
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St. Martin's Press

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