Cover image for An inconvenient wife
Title:
An inconvenient wife
Author:
Chance, Megan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
404 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780446529563
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Mrs. Lucy Carleton is daughter of one of the oldest and wealthiest families in New York City. William is Lucy's un-pedigreed nouveau riche husband. Problems arise when Lucy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the prudish manners and paternalistic dependencies that define the wives of New York society. Lucy longs to break away and give free rein to her more bohemian soul, but her ambitious husband and domineering father are determined that she learn to conform to the mores of her social circle. Enter Dr. Victor Seth, the controversial and pioneering neurologist whom William hires to try to cure Lucy of her perceived nervous disorder. Seth's groundbreaking methods of hypnosis lead Lucy to unforeseen and shocking experiences that set readers on a path through one of the most riveting works of historical fiction in recent memory.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this wholly absorbing historical novel, Mrs. Lucy Carelton, who comes from one of the wealthiest and most prominent families in 1880s New York City, has been completely undone by her nerves. Her ambitious husband, a nouveau riche stockbroker, drags her from one doctor to another in search of a cure that will allow her to fulfill her many social obligations without giving in to hysteria. They think they have found the solution in charismatic neurologist Victor Seth, a champion of a relatively new procedure called hypnotism. Seth sets about freeing Lucy from the social constraints that have made her so unhappy, encouraging her to pursue her artistic talents and explore her sexuality. Seth convinces himself that his techniques, including his handy way with an electrotherapy wand, are all in the name of science, but even he is unprepared for the new Lucy who emerges--a passionate, calculating, amoral creature of large appetites. Chance's straightforward prose and over-the-top plotting effectively combine in this diabolically clever, thoroughly entertaining take on women's liberation. --Joanne Wilkinson Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Lucy Carleton, a woman living in 1880s New York, is trapped between her secret desires and society's expectations. She comes from one of the city's oldest and wealthiest families; her brash husband, William, is an affluent stockbroker who manipulated his way into her aristocratic family by earning millions of dollars in the stock market for her father. Through the years, Lucy begins to grow more and more miserable in her marriage. As Lucy examines herself, she veers further away from the conforming standards of 1880s society. Her husband is concerned because she is not performing her social obligations as the perfect wife. Chance's captivating historical novel, read by Kathe Mazur, is suspenseful, passionate, romantic, fast-paced, and entertaining, ending with a clever twist. Recommended for fiction collections.-Carol Stern, Glen Cove P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.