Thursday, March 08, 2018

Review: Mrs. by Caitlin Macy (audio)

Title: Mrs.
Author: Caitlin Macy
Narrator: Vanessa Johansson
Published: February 2018, Hachette Audio
Length: 10 hours 8 minutes
Source: Publisher

In the well-heeled milieu of New York's Upper East Side, coolly elegant Philippa Lye is the woman no one can stop talking about. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. And although her wealth and connections put her in the center of this world, she refuses to conform to its gossip-fueled culture.

Then, into her precariously balanced life, come two women: Gwen Hogan, a childhood acquaintance who uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa's single days, and Minnie Curtis, a newcomer whose vast fortune and frank revelations about a penurious upbringing in Spanish Harlem put everyone on alert.

When Gwen's husband, a heavy-drinking, obsessive prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa's past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive into the new millennium.

Macy has written a modern-day HOUSE OF MIRTH, not for the age of railroads and steel but of hedge funds and overnight fortunes, of scorched-earth successes and abiding moral failures. A brilliant portrait of love, betrayal, fate and chance, MRS marries razor-sharp social critique and page-turning propulsion into an unforgettable tapestry of the way we live in the 21st Century.

My thoughts: Not having ever read House of Mirth, which this book is supposed to be a modern-day version of, I really went into this book with little expectations...and I have to say...I enjoyed it. And let me tell you...every once in a while, it's nice to do just that - go into a book expecting nothing and seeing where it takes you.

This is most definitely a character-driven story - and I was in heaven! I am definitely a people watcher...there is nothing I love more than just observing people, and this book gives you plenty of opportunities to do just that. Yes, there is some plot, but it really doesn't take off until the second half of the book. The majority of this book is just character study after character study of these deliciously vivid characters that Caitlin Macy has presented us with, characters that I might add are quite well-to-do. 

There is plenty of drama in this book - most of it happening at the drop-off and pick-up at the preschool. But there is one mom, a new mom to the school, who is shrouded in mystery - Philippa Lye - and all the other moms want to befriend her. More so because she keeps to herself and they know nothing about her than because they really want a new friend - I'm telling you catty housewives to the extreme, here! This is what is so addicting about this book - it just pulls you in because you want to know more about these women. But it's a little more than just this fluff...there is something deeper going on - there is a connection between one of the mom's and Philippa. 

The story stays in the present, goes back to college days and links it all together. It can be a bit confusing at first, figuring out who is the subject at times, but if you persevere, it is quite worth it in the end. And when the secrets are finally exposed, it definitely goes where you are not expecting it to go.

Audio thoughts: This was a great book to listen to - though it is a bit confusing in the beginning. Vanessa Johansson does a great job with the voices and really brings the story to life. Her pacing and intonation were spot on and I enjoyed the way she told the story. 


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