Thursday 5 August 2021

Book Review | Mrs March by Virginia Feito | prettylittlewriter

 Mrs March is a novel I had heard lots of brilliant things about. I’m currently eagerly awaiting the delivery of a special signed edition from Goldsboro upon its release (it has lovely spredges) and so when I was approved via Netgalley to read the book early, I couldn’t wait!

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings. A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book - a sex worker - is based on Mrs. March. One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.


This is an interesting psychological gothic novel about a woman that eventually drives herself mad. She obsesses over the remark one woman makes, to the point that it’s all she can think about, and is determined not only to prove everyone wrong, but also, prove her husband has secrets. 


Mrs March is a very complex character. In some ways, I loved her, and in others, I couldn’t stand her. One thing that frustrated me the most is how much weight she put on that single remark from an acquaintance, and yet she doesn’t even read her husband’s book to find out for herself. I feel that if she had read the novel, or talked to her husband properly about how she felt and whether he had truly based the character on her, then she wouldn’t have been driven mad.

Mrs March is also a very judgemental character; she always had something to say about those around her (in her head mostly) and it is especially apparent how she thinks of the character within the novel, Johanna, as being completely abhorrent just because she’s a sex worker. She hasn’t read the novel, she doesn’t truly know what the character is like, so who is she to judge?


I don’t think we are ever given a date as to when this novel takes place, but from the cover, and the way that Mrs March and her husband are as characters, I assume it to be around the 1950’s. With this in mind, the character of her husband, Mr March, is true to that era, but to me, he is still a bit of a dick.

He’s always running off leaving Mrs March, never inviting her to go with him to his events or really valuing her opinion.

It seems however, he used to; as Mrs March comments that she always used to read his drafts (albeit she did not enjoy it).


Without giving anything major away, Mrs March starts to see things that others cannot, such as cockroaches, and this is the start of her spiral into a madness that she cannot escape or control. She gets these ideas in her head, some of which are almost on point, but not quite.


Virginia Feito’s writing style is brilliant, delving deep into the inner workings of Mrs March’s mind, we get to see her character with all her flaws, learning her memories as she allows us to. 

I also really liked the fact that we only find out Mrs March’s first name on the very last page, it created a requirement to keep reading.


Overall, I did enjoy this novel, however, I will say I felt a little bereft at the end, and I did feel it was lacking something.


3.5 out 5 stars

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