Featured bedtime read: How to Be a Good Wife

By Emma Chapman, 2013

4 out of 5

Marta and Hector have been married for a long time — so long that she finds it difficult to remember her life before him.

He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife.

But when Hector comes home with a secret, their ordered domestic life begins to unravel. In the shadows there is a blonde girl that only Marta can see. And she is trying to tell her something…


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.

Before he arrives home, freshen up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair. After a hard day at work, your husband will want a hearty meal to replenish his spirits.

How to be a good wife.

It's so straightforward isn't it? Especially when your mother-in-law has gifted you the written guide, as is the case with this book's protagnist, Marta.

Marta has been married for years. For so long in fact, she can't properly remember life before she married her older husband Hector. So why is she now struggling? So much so she's even started smoking. Illicitly of course.

Is it because her beloved son Kylan has left home, or maybe that she's no longer taking her little pink pills?

'You are taking your pills, aren't you Marta?'

Husband Hector wouldn't approve. But Hector doesn't know.

How to Be a Good Wife. It's taut, this book. It throbs with a ghastly expectation of what might happen any minute now. Is it Marta's mind or for real?

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More reviews

  • A compelling, twisty tale of deception and distrust. Beautifully written.- Elizabeth Haynes (author)
  • Compelling and complex, this brave novel offers no safety nets… Not just a gripping read but an essential one. It will provoke questions long after the cover is closed.- Ruth Dugdall (author)
  • Read user reviews on Amazon

More about the author

Emma Chapman

Emma Chapman is 27 and currently lives in Perth, Western Australia. After studying English Literature at Edinburgh University, Emma moved to London and did an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. There, she was taught by Susanna Jones and Andrew Motion.

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