Marta’s life seems to be on the verge of something: a place somewhere between the past and the present, except that her past is lost to her. She has been married to Hector for many years, and their grown son Kylan has moved out, leaving her alone with her husband and the tasks that seemingly consume her. But don’t fulfill her. And threading through her days, as she completes her duties, excerpts from a book about being a good wife filter through, reminding her of her mother-in-law who gave her the book. And of a kind of imprisonment that seems more and more real with each day.
What is happening to Marta? Why does her husband keep handing her pills to swallow? Why does he “explain” her to friends as having “empty nest syndrome” and having a “vivid imagination”? Why does she fear him?
Yes, lately, images seem to slip into her awareness. Images of a blond girl, a place that seems familiar, and feelings that seem all too real. Are they visions? Or are they memories?
And then suddenly, Marta decides to find out, and escapes the stultifying home she shares with Hector, to go to a city that she feels she knows…to find out more. But an unexpected outcome will lead her down a completely different path.
How To Be a Good Wife is set in an unknown place, possibly a Scandinavian country. There are villages and cities, unnamed, as if the reader must feel the same blankness that Marta experiences. A feeling of being untethered, uncertain. A frightening and captivating read that I could not set down until the very end. And then I wanted to read more. Recommended for anyone who enjoys psychological suspense. Five stars.