Saturday, June 2, 2018


Title:  Mrs.
Author:  Caitlyn Macy
Publication Information:  Lee Bourdeaux Books. 2018. 352 pages.
ISBN:  0316434159 / 978-0316434157

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Look at you in your fur! You were so smart to wear it!"

Favorite Quote:  "When you were having what would become your happiest memories in the future, you didn't know you were having them."

Phillippa Lye is the talked about "mrs" on New York's Upper East Side in the 2009 world of hedge funds and big financial deals. She steps into this small, insular world through her marriage to into one of the elite investment banking families. She does not fit the mold of the society. Her marriage and accompanying wealth give her a position, but does she belong? Does she fit in? Does she want to?

Many other women comprise this small society. Two in particular enter Phillipa's life through a shared pre-school for their young children. Gwen Hogan discovers a connection from the the past. She is presented as the "regular" person amongst these elite; she is the wife of an attorney who chooses to be a stay at home parent and - gasp - cooks her own meals. Yes, that fact is part of her introduction. Minni Curtis wants connections for her future. She is presented as the social climber. Of course, the husbands are involved as are the gossips of the town. The connections between these three families are the secret of this book.

Secrets from Phillipa's past impact the future for all three women in different ways. The secrets center on the question of what would you do to survive? What decisions of youth would haunt your present if they were to be revealed? It doesn't take much to discover what that decision may be for a young woman. How it connects to the rest of the characters takes a bit longer, but there is really not much of a mystery to the secret itself.

I really want to like this book. However, content wise, the unpleasantness and the meanness of the women in this book make it a challenge. This book paints a grim picture of this New York society with no real likable characters. However, unfortunately, the characters don't develop enough to be truly unlikable either. They just simmer along eliciting very little reaction other than fitting a simplistic stereotype.

Further, the structure of the book with way too many characters, shifting viewpoints, and a very slow pace make it a challenge. If I read the first few chapters and the last few chapters, I would get the entire story. The rest is simply a circuitous route to connect the dots from beginning to end.

I try to take a step back and read this book more as a social commentary on the elitist, ultra-wealthy. Other books such as Three Martini Lunch and The Swans of Fifth Avenue successfully capture the story and a picture of the time in New York. This book takes a very narrow, focused approach to this group of people. It does not really leave me with a good sense of time and place or entice me to do further research on the history. The feeling I am left with is of a bunch of mean-spirited people hurting others in the quest to get ahead.

The final few chapters of the book are by far the most interesting and display the most emotion. Interestingly, the emotion comes more from the men in the book than the women. Unfortunately, by this point, I really don't care.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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