Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene (audio)

Title: The Headmaster's Wife     
Author: Thomas Christopher Greene   
Narrator: Stephen Hoye, Kevin T. Collins, Tavia Gilbert   
Published: February 2014, Audible Studios
Length: 6 hours, 12 minutes  
Source: Personal copy via Audible  

Inspired by a personal loss, Greene explores the way that tragedy and time assail one man’s memories of his life and loves.

Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the Headmaster of Vermont’s elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control. Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges.

Luminous and atmospheric, bringing to life the tight-knit enclave of a quintessential New England boarding school, the novel is part mystery, part love story and an exploration of the ties of place and family. Beautifully written and compulsively readable, The Headmaster’s Wife stands as a moving elegy to the power of love as an antidote to grief.

My thoughts: Right from the very beginning, I found myself completely engaged in this book. I desperately wanted to know what would lead a well-respected man to such a low point in his life. Like a jigsaw puzzle that slowly comes together, we are given the pieces bit by bit so that we finally have a clear picture of what is going on. 

This story is one that stays with you long after you finish it. It's multi-layered and emotional and while you think you have it figured out during the first part as Arthur tells his story, things take a turn and you are left stunned! Then Elizabeth, Arthur's wife, narrates the second part of the story and tells her version of events...which are not exactly the same. Is it a case of viewing them from a different lense or is it more than that?

These characters are ones that just call out to you. You celebrate their joys and successes. You feel for them in all their pain and sorrow. You see them at their best and at their worst, both in love and grief. I liked Arthur and then I didn't, and then I did. Same with Elizabeth. 

This is a short book, but it packs a pretty powerful punch and I know it's a book that I just may revisit in the future. I listened to it this first time and perhaps next time, I'll read the print version. It moves fast and keeps you engaged the entire time, but once you come to the end, don't be surprised if the story stays with you long after.

Audio Thoughts: Most of the audio books I listen to happen to be narrated by single narrators, so I find it a treat when I pick up a book that has a cast of narrators. This book happens to be narrated by all new-to-me narrators and I enjoyed all three voices. Each did a great job with the characters they did and I'll definitely be checking out what else they narrate.  If you listen to audio books, do you prefer single narrators or a cast of narrators?



  1. This has been one of my TBR books for a while. Thanks for the review

  2. I've been curious about this one mostly because of the cover so I'm glad to see the story lives up to it! I'll definitely have to look for this one!

  3. The cover, the blurb, and your review make this appealing. I like characters that keep you on your toes and provoking your feelings so that you veer between liking and disliking them. Good review!

  4. Sounds really good! The characters sound really intriguing and I want to know what happened. I'm pretty sure I ordered a copy of this for the library so I will have to check it out. Great review!


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