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by Megan Chance



Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446560153
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
05/30/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
124,423
File size:
654 KB

Overview

AN INCONVENIENT WIFE is a rich blend of suspense, social history (America in the 1880s), and passion. Chance delivers a powerfully written page-turner about a woman's struggle to escape the confines of her time, class, and gender. Literary historical fiction is an extremely popular genre, as demonstrated by such bestsellers as Matthew Pearl's "The Dante Club (Random House, 2/03) and Michael Faber's "The Crimson Petal and the White (Harcourt, 9/02). Megan Chance is the author of "Susannah Morrow (Warner, 10/02), which captured the extraordinary drama of the Salem witch trials; as well as the historical romance novels "A Season in Eden (Harper, 1999), "The Gentleman Caller (Harper, 1998), "The Way Home (Harper, 1997), and "Fall from Grace (Harper, 1997).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this gripping historical, Chance (Susannah Morrow) exposes the horrors women faced in late 19th-century New York when they dared to show passion of any kind or repudiate society's norms. Highborn Lucy Carelton suffers from a common female disorder, "hysteria": its symptoms are headaches, excitable reactions and feelings of claustrophobia. Her cold-hearted, nouveau riche husband, William, determined to find her a cure, brings her to several specialists, who recommend everything from an ovariotomy to several months of confinement in a private asylum. At their wits' ends, the Careltons come to the renowned Dr. Victor Seth, a controversial specialist in the new field of neurology, who uses a combination of hypnosis and electrotherapy to cure his patients. Chance ratchets up the tension when Victor and Lucy's patient/doctor relationship crosses the line into something more intimate and intriguing, as Lucy's horrifying childhood and loveless marriage are brought to light in her therapy. The author showcases the class prejudices inherent in New York's high society in the 1880s and aptly depicts the stifling life a woman had to accept. It becomes clear that the healthier and more independent Lucy is, the more threatened and alienated her husband becomes, and the resulting fallout is catastrophic. The role of the unconscious mind and its impact on conscious behavior is explored in depth here, and Chance ends this lightning-paced narrative with a clever twist underscoring the risks one woman takes to be her own person. Agent, Marcy Posner. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Related Subjects

  • ">19th Century Historical Fiction - General & Miscellaneous
  • ">Individual vs. Society - Fiction
  • ">Women vs. Society's Expectations

    Read an Excerpt

     

    An Inconvenient Wife


    By Megan Chance

    Warner Books

    Copyright В© 2004 Megan Chance
    All right reserved.

    ISBN: 0-446-52956-7


    Chapter One

    An asylum!" William said. "Is there nothing else we can try? Nothing at all?"

    My husband balanced on the edge of his chair. The electric light shone on his high forehead, glinting in the gray threading through his dark hair. He was only thirty-five. The aging was due to his profession, he said. Brokering was a hard business. But I knew it was not that at all. I knew it was because of me.

    "You don't want surgery." Dr. Little adjusted his round spectacles. The myriad certificates that dotted the brown toile wallpaper framed him nicely, as if deliberately placed to give weight to his earnestness.

    "But if you think it's best ..." I said.

    Dr. Little turned his mild, thoughtful gaze to me. "An ovariotomy is not always successful. Your husband feels the risk is too great."

    "You could die, Lucy," William said.

    "But there's the chance it would work."

    Dr. Little nodded. "Yes, of course. We've made great gains with surgery of this type, but I would not be so anxious to try it-not when there is another option. Beechwood Grove is an excellent institution, Mrs. Carelton. We've had good results with hysterics and neurasthenics. A few months of enforced rest may be effective."

    "A few months," William said in a low voice. "You've said six months, at least. It would encompass the entire season. What would we tell people?"

    Dr. Little shrugged. "Perhaps you could suggest that Mrs. Carelton has taken an extended tour abroad."

    "Lucy has always hated Europe," my husband said.

    "Something else, then," Dr. Little said impatiently.

    William exhaled. "I don't know. An asylum ..."

    "A private asylum," Dr. Little corrected. "You must believe me when I say this is nothing like the horror houses you've heard about, Mr. Carelton. At Beechwood Grove, all of our patients are from excellent families. We make it as homelike as possible. Mrs. Carelton would even be permitted to have many of her own things."

    I looked down, unable to meet the doctor's gaze. "Perhaps it's best, William...."

    "No." He said it so violently that I looked up in surprise. "No. I refuse to believe this is the only way. An asylum, for God's sake. That's a place for the insane."

    "Mr. Carelton, you came to me for advice; you said you had lost hope. I'm saying there is hope to be found, but it requires a great sacrifice on your part-"

    "What you're saying is that Lucy belongs with madmen and criminals," William said coldly.

    "There are no criminals in Beechwood Grove."

    "Only madmen."

    "Madwomen. We do not accept men there."

    "Madwomen, then. You would put my wife with them?"

    Dr. Little looked at William, and I read the meaning in his glance. Your wife is a madwoman. It's time to acknowledge it. It's time to send her away....

    I could not bear to look. I felt the start of tears, and I dug my nails into my palm.

    William got to his feet and pulled me to mine. "I appreciate your time and your advice, Doctor, but the season is just starting-"

    "You may regret this," Dr. Little said. "Mrs. Carelton has been unable to meet the demands of society before."

    "This year will be different. We still hope that there will be a child."

    Dr. Little pressed his hands together. "A child. Mr. Carelton, I'm quite sure Mrs. Carelton could not care for a child. Not in her present state."

    "Perhaps a child is just what she needs," William said hopefully.

    "A good long rest is what she needs. An asylum, with round-the-clock care, is what she needs. I'm sorry, Mr. Carelton, but I see no other option for your wife."

    William hesitated, and then he nodded. "Again, we thank you, Doctor. Now we must wish you good day." His fingers squeezed my arm; together we turned and left the doctor's office. When we were outside, into the growing chill that sharpened the air, standing amid the noise of carriages rattling down the street, the constant movement of the city, he turned to me. "Well." He sighed. "I'm sorry to have put you through that, darling."

    I was cold; I could not feel my fingers at all. "He could be right, William."

    "You would prefer to be locked away?"

    "No, of course not, but-"

    "There must be something else. Another way. Something we've overlooked."

    "Dr. Little says there's nothing."

    William ignored me. "Perhaps we should not have returned to the city so quickly. Perhaps ... a short trip to the country? What do you think, Lucy? Do you think they would miss us?"

    I did not say what I thought-that our friends would be relieved. "No," I said, and though I tried to smile, I could not manage it. "A trip to the country would be fine."

    (Continues...)

     


    Excerpted from An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance Copyright В© 2004 by Megan Chance. Excerpted by permission.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

     



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