Cover Image: Mrs March

Mrs March

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The venerable but gossipy New York literary scene is twisted into a claustrophobic funhouse of paranoia, horror, and wickedly dark humour. George March’s latest novel is a smash. No one is prouder than Mrs March, his doting wife. But one morning, the shopkeeper of her favourite patisserie suggests that his protagonist is based on Mrs March herself: “But . . . ―isn't she . . .’ Mrs March leaned in and in almost a whisper said, ‘a whore?” Clutching her ostrich leather pocketbook, she flees, that one casual remark destroying her belief that she knew everything about her husband―as well as herself. 

"Mrs March" by Virginia Feito is a tome about a wealthy housewife who loses her grip on reality. Mrs March is an unreliable narrator. Are the events real, or a product of her inner turmoil and descent into madness? This riveting, unputdownable, debut novel has been optioned for a cinematic adaptation. I am excited! Highly recommended.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
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Mrs March is not one of those books you read and put back on the bookshelf.  It's one of those that you keep thinking about long after. It's quite dark and anxiety based and disturbing. I did feel for Mrs March when she heard what was being said about her and it all spiralled out of control. I enjoyed it very much the author had me gripped to know how it all unfolds
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Mrs March is a novel I would recommend to readers groups and also add to the fiction section of a college library, that being said I did not enjoy reading it, I felt stifled and uneasy throughout. It is a work of art in that it makes the reader feel as Mrs March does, that does not make for a comfortable afternoon but I am aware of the skill and artistry of the author Virginia  Feito. A very real study on mental health clothed in a work of fiction, very clever, very well written, very uncomfortable. I do not know what star rating to give this, a two because I didn’t enjoy reading this or a five star rating because I do think that it is a work of art.......So three it is! Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity of reading this in exchange for an honest review.
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3.5 stars

This book is definitely NOIRE with all capital letters.  Whilst mad women are a familiar trope of literature, they are rarely, as here, the protagonist.

The book starts off innocently enough, with Mrs March shopping for a book launch party for her husband, George’s latest novel.  At her favourite patisserie, the assistant unwittingly suggests that the protagonist of George’s novel, Johanna, an ageing prostitute, depicted as a grotesque, shares many of Mrs March’s mannerisms. 

We learn that Mrs March’s childhood was lonely and emotionally cold, despite its privilege and she, in turn, is negligent and detached from her only child, Jonathan. We also hear that her first sexual experience was of rape, which clearly triggers a response when she sees a clipping of a raped and murdered girl in the area where George has been staying.

So begins a downward spiral into paranoia and eventual madness which seen Mrs March convinced that her husband is a rapist and murderer.  

I won’t reveal the ending, which wasn’t a surprise but there is much to like in the writing.  Somehow though, I couldn’t warm to either the book or any of the characters.  It doesn’t help that it seems to float around temporally, seeming to be set in the 50’s with women wearing gloves and furs and sitting under pull down dryers. At the same time, JFK’s assassination is mentioned and Jonathan plays with a rubicks cube - all very confusing and distancing and something that I hope is addressed in edits.

Thanks so much to the author, NetGalley and 4th Estate books for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

PS Love the cover
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Claustrophobic but terribly beautiful! Almost a crossover between Mrs Dalloway and Gone Girl , this novel brings the reader into the journey to madness of the protagonist, Mrs March.
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What a fascinating read! Beneath the glamour lies a harrowing tale of secrets and psychosis that thrilled me to the end. Excellently written, I'm looking forward to more from this author. Thanks for the ARC!
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Dark and depressing, but a riveting read. To witness the disintegration of Mrs March's mental state is like watching a car crash in slow motion. It is set in the present but it could be a movie plot of the 1930s - the social life described is very formal. I did not see any humor in it at all.
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While buying olive bread at her favourite patisserie, Mrs March is asked how she feels about being the inspiration for her husband's latest book. Mrs March hasn't read it but when she skims through it she finds that the protagonist is a fat ugly whore who no one wants to sleep with. She says nothing about this to her husband but becomes increasingly paranoid and insecure, thinking all the time that everyone is laughing at her behind her back. She also becomes obsessed with the idea that her husband has murdered a young woman and sets out to prove it. 

Anyone who has ever suffered from social anxiety will recognise the tortured thinking of Mrs March. Her agonising over what to do and say in the most simple of situations is excruciating. We are not told when the story takes place but it has a real feel of the sixties about it. Mrs March has never worked. She can't even say she is a housewife because they have a housekeeper who does everything, from changing the sheets to making the dinner. She is a mother but her relationship with her son isn't warm. 

I loved this book. It's brilliantly written and Mrs March is an unforgettable character. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Mad men on acid....This is how I felt while reading this novel. Even though there are no real time markers, there is a 60’s feel to this story in which the life of the perfect housewife unravels in a fascinating manner. Like a car crash in slow motion, you cannot take your eyes off and are left wondering what you just witnessed. I am of two minds and do not know if I liked it or not, but in all cases I will remember it!
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The fact that you can never really know anyone haunts Mrs March after an offhand comment from the assistant at her favourite bakery, suggesting that Mrs March's husband based the unlikeable protagonist of his latest bestselling novel on herself, and leads to her seemingly dignified life unravelling at an alarming pace. I loved this darkly comic novel with its at times sympathetic, at times repellent, female antihero. While the ironic take on the respectable, privileged uptown New York wife was amusing, the novel also palpably portrayed the woman's sadness, lack of identity and sense of isolation. A modern day classic.
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This is certainly an unusual book. George March is a successful writer living in a posh New York apartment with his wife who is called Mrs March throughout. She was a student when he was a professor. He has a daughter by his first marriage, whom Mrs March doesn’t like of course, and an eight year old Jonathan by Mrs March. She is deeply paranoid and that side of her is depicted very well in the book as she goes from obsession to obsession. It must have always part of her but the latest issues are triggered by her overhearing speculation that the main character in George’s most recent and hugely popular book, a pathetic plain looking sex worker, is based on Mrs March. That sets her off imagining all kinds of disasters. The notion of such a paranoid woman is not really a piece of comedy but the way it is written here does make it amusing as well as sad. It is a good, easy read.
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This is a well written, dark and interesting book but it’s also quite odd. There are some lovely passages of writing and it’s very well constructed. It’s quite disquieting in a lot of ways, though. I can’t quite decide if I enjoyed it but I was certainly intrigued by it and read it very quickly. 

Thank you very much for my free review copy in return for this honest review.
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Mrs March is alarmed when her favourite baker tells her how much the main character of her husband’s bestselling new novel resembles her. She’s not read the book but further investigation leads her to understand that Johanna is a plain, fat whore no one wants to bed. Despite her fury, Mrs March dutifully arranges the celebration party for George’s success, passing almost unnoticed among her husband’s friends and colleagues, in a welter of embarrassment at the whispers about her she’s sure she overhears. Beset at every turn by the judgement and gossip of others, or so she thinks, Mrs March begins to unravel in spectacular fashion. 

Feito tells her darkly funny story from Mrs March’s perspective. Her paranoid social awkwardness is excruciating, her ineptitude at even the smallest task painful: without her husband she’s no idea how to be. All this is delivered with a good deal of sly wit but as her imaginings become increasingly febrile and her grip on reality slips further, the tone becomes more sombre. A witty, gripping debut which lives up to its splendid jacket hinting at something nasty as a cockroach makes its way towards the elegantly attired Mrs March's carefully manicured hands.
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Mrs March is far from being an endearing character! The way she interacts with everyone she meets is not normal. She obviously suffers from some sort of mental illness. The author manages to conjure up a rather disturbing story.
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One of the most intense, claustrophobic novels I've read in a while. Poor Mrs March! She's sort of hateful, but truly sympathetic, in a horrifying, hands-over-my-eyes, dear-g-d-please-get-some-help kind of way. And what is her name?? 

It's a simple but brilliant conceit  - even in recollections of her childhood, Mrs March is referred to as Mrs March, a fantastic illustration of the coldness of her emotional life, the strictures of her position as a daughter, a wife, and a mother. The abuse described in this novel is chilling in its quietness. This is a quintessential 'gilded cage' novel, and never has a cage seemed a worse place to be. 

My thanks to Fourth Estate and NetGalley for the ARC.
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This is a well-written book, which captures the fragility of the main character, as well as that of her life.  Unfortunately I found it hard to read, and couldn't really lose myself in the character or her world.
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Mrs March's husband George's latest book is a massive hit. And Mrs March is proud.

But her beautifully controlled life on the Upper East Side is marred when a shopkeeper assumes that the protagonist of George's novel - an ugly prostitute - is based on Mrs March...

It's a casual remark, but one which tips Mrs March over into paranoia....
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* spoiler alert ** 3.5 stars

I spent a lot of time trying to date this book.... was it the 20's,the 60's,or later? I still don't know.

Its aslow paced book that throws in the odd sentence or two that makes you sit up and pay attention,and then later wonder if that actually happened.
Much like Mrs March I imagine.
I enjoyed the beginning of the book more,I was happily engrossed in mrs March's every day life.
By the end of the book I'm left wondering "what just happened?"

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A thoroughly good read, Mrs March (will we ever learn her name?) is a fine invention. Already a character of fiction in George March´s (her writer husband) successful latest novel, we follow her relentless descent into madness (or is she being gaslighted? or both?) as she goes about her rather aimless Upper-East Side bourgeois life (large apartment, daily housekeeper, fur coat, single child, rigid code of conduct). 
She is only 42 but she could be 60. She is living in 2020s Manhattan, but this could be the 60s.  The outside trappings of her life are somehow of negligible importance, it is her inner conflict, relentlessly pursued by the narrator with single-minded thrust, through looking at her actions and thoughts, what sustains the story, a tragicomic, deadpan narration (a march!) of Mrs March´s (echoes of Mrs Dalloway) inner dialogue with the world and herself. The reasons for her disintegration (rich girl neglect, societal conformity etc) punctuate the linear, forward-moving present story. 
A psychological thriller of sorts, totally focused on Mrs March´s mind, it is also a wonderfully witty and humorous commentary on writing and the fictional life of characters. 
I particularly enjoyed the verisimilitude of certain elements (snippets of dialogue, a shop perfectly conjured, the staging of a sofa... ) with the extreme fictionality of others (a sudden narrator´s emphasis, the cinematic-dreamlike quality of the whole).  
Lots of intelligent fun in this novel. Recommended!  Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this novel.
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This book is outstanding and in my opinion, it deserves to win a literary award. Virginia Feito's writing is so good that I felt like I was inside Mrs March's head, yet, like Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary', it is actualy written in the third person. 

The protagonist, Mrs March (The reader does in fact discover her first name right at the end.) is a woman with a predisposition to paranoia whose total unravelling occurs when her favourite patissier makes a passing comment about Mrs March having inspired an unflattering character in Mr March's latest novel. The reader witnesses Mrs March's subsequent descent into a type of psychosis and observes her increasingly questionable behaviour as well as her suspicions about Mr March. We accompany Mrs March on her 'journey' and begin to doubt her judgement, assuming it's not going to end well but without knowing exactly which direction it will take. 

Once you start reading 'Mrs March'., you won't want to put it down. At times it is uncomfortable but you will be  desperate to know how the story unfolds. Other Netgalley reviewers have described the novel's dark humour and Mrs March's obsession with social status, class and etiquette is indeed funny (we have no doubt all encountered people like that) but she is a character with depth, who has a troubled backstory. Being aware of her vulnerability and emotional instability made me regard Mrs March as a figure who merited sympathy.

The novel is set in the USA and I'm guessing that it takes place somewhere between the 1970's and 1980's on account of the occasional cultural references mentioned. I live in the UK and had not previously been aware of the book and had no preconceptions before I started reading; I simply liked the synopsis and requested an ARC. I'm so pleased that I did because it has been a privilege to read. I can't recommend 'Mrs March' highly enough and shall be buying it for friends and family as gifts. Thank-you to 4th Estate and William Collins.
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