Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene

Arthur Winthrop is a middle-aged headmaster at an elite prep school in Vermont. When he is arrested for an act that is incredibly out of character - walking naked through Central Park in the snow - the strait-laced, married headmaster confesses to a much more serious crime. 
Arthur reveals that he has had a passionate affair with a scholarship student called Betsy Pappas. Betsy is a fickle and precocious teenager. When she switches her attentions to a classmate, Arthur's passion for Betsy turns, by degrees, into something far darker. Now Arthur must tell the truth about what happened to Betsy. But can Arthur's version of events be trusted - or is the reality much more complex and unnerving.

Star Rating
I received this book from the publishers for an open and honest review. 

This novel is split into three parts: Acrimony, Expectations and After. The first part of the story is told from Headmaster Arthur's point of view as we find out about his illicit affair with a teenage student Betsy Pappas. This section of the book was fast paced, exciting and believable full of dark, obsessive undertones which hold the reader's interest The two other parts are narrated in the third person and tell the story from a completely different angle with a shocking change of plot direction. 

At the end of the first half Thomas Christopher Greene hits the reader smack in the face with a shocking, and unexpected revelation. It is impossible to give even a brief description of this turn of events without ruining the surprise for the next reader. All I will say is that it left me gasping in shock and consequently the story became a very different one. This shock revelation was reminiscent of one of my favorite movies of all time 'A Beautiful Mind'. If you haven't seen this film I highly recommend it and will attach trailer below. 

The second part of this novel tells the story from the wife's point of view and leaves the reader wondering which one is true. Unfortunately my interest seemed to dwindle towards the end and it felt as if the author was losing focus too with it's very abrupt ending. 

Where this story works well is in it's exploration of the effects of psychological damage. It was interesting to read about grief from different perspectives and the havoc it can cause on people's emotional states of mind. 


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