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An Inconvenient Wife [Kindle Edition]

Megan Chance
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

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).

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 705 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 30, 2009)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00287KD3W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,471 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1800's New York... September 20, 2005
Format:Hardcover
This was a really good book set in NYC in 1885. A time when women were allowed no freedoms, and her place was to see to the house, the servants, and her husband. This is Lucy Carlton's story. A woman who was born into wealth and privilege, bred to be the epitome of high-class and high society. Lucy marries William Carlton, a stock-broker who is not of her class, but makes enough money for the upper-class folks that they seemingly except him.

Lucy struggles with fits of hysteria, and frequent headaches, and is absent or leaves early from many social gatherings. William has taken her to doctor after doctor, and nothing seems to be working...untill she starts seeing Dr. Victor Seth. Dr. Seth is a doctor of neurology, something the folks of 1885 have never heard of before. No one knows what to think of his treatments of hypnotism, but the therapy is working wonders for Lucy...for the most part.

Dr. Seth proves to be the best and worst thing to happen to Lucy. While the hysteria fits have ended, new problems start plaguing her. She finds herself doing and feeling things that are totally foreign to her, and make William feel threatened. In the end, Lucy and William's life together will never be the same, and lies and scandal hit the high society of NYC.

Overall a great read...the ending was excellent, something I never would of expected, and the descriptions of the time period were wonderful. The clothes, the houses, the way of life for the most important citizens of NYC, and the limitations on women of the day. I definitely won't think twice about picking up another book from this author!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story September 10, 2004
By Annie
Format:Hardcover
Lucy always wanted to be free to be her own woman but as she was being raised by her father, he buried her spirit by making Lucy give up anything that was important to her... religion, poetry, and painting. Once she was married, her husband did the same thing because he wanted a proper woman who acted the way a woman of the upper class should act. With no way to live out her dreams, Lucy suffered from hysteria and was not able to conceive a child. William sent her to many doctors to help her but nobody could until Victor Seth came into the picture. He was a neurologist that used hypnosis to help women with nerve problems. His treatment was unkown and criticized, but they were willing to try as a last resort before sending Lucy to the asylum. Victor made great strides with the treatment of Lucy and in the process they became involved with each other. Lucy was cured, but then she became an "inconvenience" to William because he could no longer control her. When William found out what was going on between Lucy and Victor he sent her away against her wishes which brought on a chain of events that has serious repercussions.

I found Megan Chance when she published Susannah Morrow and I really enjoyed it so I figured I would try An Inconvenient Wife too. Megan is a very talented author that has the rare ability to bring you into a story and keep you there right to the end.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Psychological -Historical Tale April 16, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is what I imagine would have happened to Rose (Titanic) if she had married Cal (the "bad guy")and gone on to suffer the marriage/life restrictions of her era and class. It is very well-written in first-person and occurs in Victorian New York. Lucy suffers from "hysteria," a common diagnosis of female neuroses in that time, and her socially-conscious husband takes her to the new doctor in town, Dr. Victor Seth. Dr. Seth's treatments and ensuing relationship with Lucy create interesting emotional dilemmas for Lucy, her husband and Dr. Seth. The story and plot were original, absorbing and shocking: womens' health issues were not treated back then as they are today! I highly recommend this book if you seek a change from the "cookie-cutter" variety of historical fiction or romance novels.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I first started getting serious about historical fiction I came across this book many times. It even was on my whish list for a while but in the end I decided to focus on areas that were more interesting to me like the middle ages and early age of enlightenment. In the past few days I had the opportunity to read "An Inconvenient Wife" and I was completely stunned by how good this book was.

This book is written like a mystery almost, but without the mystery. It's about long ago medical practices know thought of ridiculous and insane but it manages not to make fun of them and to stay very much in the period. And it has the most stunning characterization of any book I've read in a long time.

Lucy is a very inconvenient wife. Over the four years of her marriage to her very upper class Knickerbockers father's stockbroker she has had fits, headaches, weakness, is addicted to laudanum and has been unable to conceive, all of which is trying the patience of her loving husband William. Finally at the end of his rope William takes Lucy to the newest doctor in New York, a new breed of physician called a neurologist, a man named Victor Seth.

Told through Lucy's first person prospective and Victor's clinical notes, the story unfolds into a complicated tale of thwarted desire and passion. Lucy's medical problems deemed to be from a lack of passion and as Victor works with hypnosis they improve but he is soon of possession of Lucy's deepest secrets while William, facing the new and improved Lucy is daunted and displeased.

Everyone in this book is a complicated and complete person and that is what the book so good. Lucy-what is wrong with her? I couldn't make heads or tails of her medical problems and growing personality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars should be a fine book for book club discussion
A surprisingly fast and entertaining read that invites rereading. should be a fine book for book club discussion. Elements of Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin and THE ILLUSIONIST.
Published 15 days ago by Ann
2.0 out of 5 stars inane
i didnt expect a literary marvel since it was a free ebook. turns out it was a mediocre period novel reading as if the writer frequently used thesarus to reflect the time period... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nazli Gelincik Tegin
5.0 out of 5 stars Chathamreader
This was a book club choice. It was slow starting but turned out to be a very interesting story. The essence of the story is how women, especially upper class women were viewed... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lindy
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read with some fun twists and turns
The period of the late 1880s and the struggle women faced in having opinions, feelings, interests, and passions of their own but living in a prudent American society was an amazing... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars I will think about this story for a long time.
I liked reading about the era. The author did not get carried away with telling us about the surroundings or the people. She just let us see that through the main character. Read more
Published 4 months ago by M. Linzmeier
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has a little of everything!
One of my all time favorites! I really don't know what to say, I was hooked after the first 5 pages and finished it in less than 4 hours! I've since read it 3 or 4 times.
Published 5 months ago by T. Salisbury
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you guessing till the final page.
Looking for a good story to escape your daily stress from?
This is it.....one woman's battle against societal injustices towards the fairer sex in the nineteenth century. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth Paquette
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Twists and Turns
I couldn't put the book down because of its many surprises. This is a very well-written novel. I won't give anything away. You just have to read it for yourself.
Published 5 months ago by tmowner
4.0 out of 5 stars Women rejoice
A book that allows women to rejoice in the freedoms we take for granted today, never forgetting those who sacrificed before us.
Published 6 months ago by Barbara Tiseo
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept my attention
This book is a good read - not one I couldn't put down, but one returned to eagerly. Chance sprinkles her fiction with historical accuracies about the use of hypnotism during the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Nunya
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More About the Author

Megan Chance is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of several novels. The Best Reviews has said that she writes "fascinating historical fiction." Her books have been chosen for the Borders Original Voices program and IndieBound's Booksense. A former television news photographer with a BA from Western Washington University, Megan Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at www.meganchance.com

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