Deborah M. (Chambersburg, PA)
What started out as a strange novel ended up also being a sad and depressing one. Arthur Winthrop, the 50-something headmaster of a Vermont prep school, has just been arrested for running naked in Central Park in the middle of a snowy winter's evening. In the police station, he begins to unravel his story. Bored with the job that he virtually inherited from his father and with his increasingly distant wife, Arthur has begun to drink heavily--and to obsess about one of his students. He confesses to having done some creepy and horrible things, putting his job on the line--and now this.
Halfway through the book, I began to wonder why it was titled The Headmaster's WIFE--and then the author drops a bomb that totally turns the plot around, devoting the second half of the book to Elizabeth Winthrop's story. I won't reveal what changes the reader's perspective, in case anyone wants to read the book, but suffice it to say that it's one of those revelations that is truly surprising and that also kind of makes you groan because you should have figured it out. Although Greene tries to conclude on a hopeful note, I found the sadness overwhelming. Perhaps that is because, as Greene notes in the afterward, he started writing it during the six months that his now-deceased daughter spent in a neo-natal ICU; he dedicates the book to her.
Written in short chapters and a relatively spare style, The Headmaster's Wife is a quick read with some compelling (if creepy) moments. It ended up being quite different from the publishers' blurb. Someone who enjoys psychological studies might enjoy it more than I did.
Maggie S. (Durango, CO)
The Headmasters Wife
The Headmasters Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene is a very sad novel and I would use caution when recommending it. I was ready to put it down because I could not sympathize with many of the characters and I didn't like the way the story was unfolding, but the author tricked me with a major plot twist so I did read it to the end. Not one of my favorites.
William B. (East Peoria, IL)
In very simple prose, an effective, well-told tale with a couple of suprises.
Gretchen M. (Martinsburg, WV)
A Fast-paced Read
A story that grabbed me from the beginning. It's the kind of story that you think you have figured out but you don't until small details are reveled at the end. This book is a sharp turn from Greene's "Mirror Lake" but has the same superb character development and unique writing style.
Diane D. (South Portland, ME)
Riveting & Real!
I loved the Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene! It grips you right from the beginning and introduces you to broken people that seem just too real to forget. I was often reminded of Stuart O'Nan's descriptive style of writing about the mundane. I will definitely go back and read his other books!
Dorothy L. (Manalapan, NJ)
An Enjoyable Read
I liked this book. It was a good read from beginning to end and kept me interested throughout. It is clear from the first page that things are not what they seem. The world of private school is depicted well. The characters, especially the headmaster, kept me engaged and wondering what was going to happen next. I think it was also well written. I liked the symbolism of the river throughout and its influence on the characters. It was more than part of the environment. It was a thread which permeated the book. I would recommend it to my book club.
Roni S. (Pittsburgh, PA)
The Headmaster's Wife
'The Headmaster's Wife' is a book that I will recommend to my friends. The writing is beautiful and sensual. I liked that the chapters were short. The book is a psychological compelling story about a Headmaster and his wife. One has a close up view of a private boarding school. Anyone who enjoyed 'The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls' would like this book. I look forward to reading his other books.