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download (5)Reviewed by Amanda Schafer

Marta and Hector have been married for many years and are now empty-nesters since their son, Kylan, has gone to college. Hector is a teacher at a local college while Marta stays home and busies herself as a housewife. She is not allowed in Hector’s home office because he is quite particular about his things, but one day she goes in there to retrieve a book she has long-since memorized, a book given to her by her mother-in-law when they got married.

How to Be a Good Wife was written to teach Marta how to dutifully do her job as a wife in order to make Hector happy. But Marta is not happy. Marta sees things…a little girl in her house who should not be there. This girl at times looks beaten and abused, neglected even. But at other times she seems healthy and happy, dancing around the room. Marta finds herself losing time when watching this strange girl and when Hector catches her in a dazed moment he tells her how ridiculous she looks and asks her if she’s taken her pills. These pills are a medicine that is supposed to keep her mentally “together” and sane, but Marta has secretly stopped taking them. She wants to know what would happen if she didn’t take the pills…what would life be like?

What Marta finds as she’s doing this is that the girl in her house seems oddly familiar and intriguing to her; there’s something about the girl that Marta feels she *must* know about. As she continues to follow the girl, she begins to realize that Hector isn’t who he seems to be and she comes to the knowledge that he is a bad man who has kept her captive all these years. She tries to run away and go to her son’s house and explain to him her revelation, but Kylan doesn’t believe her and ends up calling Hector to come get her.

The ending of How To Be a Good Wife is so annoying and unexpected that it truly ruined the whole story for me. I was thinking this was a story of a girl who was held captive and finally gets free. I thought that Hector would finally be caught and Kylan would be supportive of his mother. However, what ended up happening just destroyed the entire story. There was no real resolution, no satisfying conclusion to Marta’s life. It really just left me wanting.

The writing of the story, however, was very well done. It was descriptive and vivid and allowed me to feel like I was right there with Marta every step of the way. I was drawn into the story by the attention Emma Chapman paid to the tiniest of details. Chapman is truly a good story-teller, she just needs to offer us a more finalized ending!

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.