Reviews for Mrs. : a novel

Publishers Weekly
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Macy (The Fundamentals of Play) penetrates the gossipy lives of well-off parents in New York City's Upper East Side in this fresh take on the society novel. Gwen Hogan, Philippa Lye, and Minnie Curtis are all married to powerful men and send their children to the prestigious St. Timothy's preschool. Gwen, married to a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office, recently moved to Manhattan and is uncomfortable living in New York City. Philippa, married to the owner of an investment bank, seems both effortlessly stylish and aloof. Minnie, the wife of a wealthy financier, takes an unapologetic pleasure in her financial security that makes the other mothers uncomfortable. The three women bond over school gossip and the difficulties of parenthood, unaware that Gwen's husband is conducting an insider trading investigation that implicates both Philippa and Minnie's husbands. Macy switches perspective each chapter, telling her story from the points of view of protagonists, peripheral characters, and even Greek-style choruses. The attention to behavioral detail, especially when seen through the eyes of Philippa's young daughter Laura, is piercing and honest. Ultimately, a thesis emerges about the simplicity and selfishness of human nature. (Feb.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Never mind the children who play in the Upper East Side schoolyard of St. Timothy's just off Park Avenue-it's the parents who display the serious behavioral issues. On every-one's radar is Philippa Lye, whose elegant aloofness makes her the most coveted friend. Into this established, hierarchical clutch of preening hens arrives Gwen -Hogan, who, despite her Yale credentials, lacks wealth and status but happens to share a distant childhood with Philippa. She's shocked to realize that the other newbie, Minnie Curtis, is married to a fellow Yalie who, unlike Gwen, is exceptionally rich and powerful-albeit through ill-gotten gains. In the cutthroat microcosm that is St. Tim's, secrets won't stay hidden for long and devastating confrontations prove inevitable. Filled with black humor, Macy's (Fundamentals of Play) third title again probes and punctures the lives of the overprivileged. Perhaps underscoring an interchangeable similarity among the many Mrs.'s here, Vanessa Johansson's narration doesn't particularly establish distinct personalities for the characters. Her performance suffices but doesn't particularly shine. VERDICT For fans who want more than just an acceptable listen, turning to the page is always an available option. ["Social critique and star-crossed fates mingle here": LJ 11/15/17 review of the Little, Brown hc.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Gwen Hogan and her husband, Dan, a U.S. attorney, do not fit in with the elite families at St. Timothy's preschool in Manhattan, where other mothers often mistake Gwen for a nanny at pick-up time. However, Gwen is not a total stranger to the other St. Tim's mothers. She knew Philippa Lye, for one, while they grew up in Massachusetts, back before Philippa's modeling career and her marriage to banker Jed Skinker. In January, a new child joins the school, and her mother, Minnie Curtis, is set on befriending Philippa to further her own secret agenda. Soon Dan discovers a link between Philippa's past and his current investigation into a criminal he couldn't prosecute years earlier. Macy (The Fundamentals of Play, 2000; Spoiled, 2009) creates a masterful portrait of marriage, ambition, betrayal, power, and secrets. She tells the stories of the Hogan, Skinker, and Curtis families from varied perspectives, building the tension to heartbreaking heights and grappling with the long-term ripples of trauma and characters' failures to one another throughout the complex and impossible-to-put-down novel. Readers will remember the three families long after the last pages.--Chanoux, Laura Copyright 2017 Booklist


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Congratulations! You've been invited to take an inside look at the most exclusive preschool in Manhattan.Two families figure prominently in the whispered gossip hissing among the mothers at St. Timothy's: the Skinkers, Jed and Philippa, he the scion of the last family-owned investment bank in New York, she beautiful, detached, often drunk; and the Curtises, John and Minnie, a new family with shiny new money. On the other hand, no one can ever remember the Hogans' namesDan is an assistant district attorney, i.e. a working stiff, and Gwen stays home with their daughter, Mary. But Gwen was friends with Philippa's sister back home in small-town Massachusetts, which gives the two an odd affinity for each otherwhich might help or might hurt when Jed Skinker and John Curtis become the focus of an investigation at the DA's office, led by Dan Hogan. Macy (Spoiled, 2009, etc.) knows just how to nail the status anxieties of the rich; her people are ultraprivileged but insecure, constantly comparing themselves against each other. Minnie, the new mother, doesn't quite fit in with the other St. Timothy's women at the all-important morning drop-off: "Despite the fact that points in this town had long ago ceased being given for grooming or comportment, Minnie Curtis' hair was blown out and styled, her clothes smart and expensively tailored, rather than expensively draped and drawstringed. Was that an actual matching skirt and jacket she was wearinga suit?" The horror! The perspective rotates among Philippa, Minnie, and Gwen as well as their husbands, Philippa's 7-year-old daughter, Laura, and a group of other mothers who form a kind of Greek chorus reminiscent of Big Little Lies. It's all very stylized and entertaining, and if the characters never spring fully to life inside their expensively casual outfits and two-story entrance halls, that feels almost beside the point. Reading this sharply observed novel about New York's wealthier denizens is doubtless more enjoyable than it would be to actually join their crowd. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Philippa Lye left her unsavory single life behind when she married wealthy New York City banker Jed Skinker. She is the envy of every woman of the New York elite. In their view she seems to have achieved perfection-beauty, wealth, a good marriage, and social standing. Yet Philippa doesn't appear to care about any of that. She is somehow damaged by the events of her past and unconnected to the reality of her present. As happens in very small social circles, Philippa's past catches up with her. In a very public effort to resolve her conflict, the world shifts around her with surprising results. Macy (The Fundamentals of Play; Spoiled) creates a delightful mix of characters whose circumstances bring them together while their motivations keep them apart. She intersperses the catty asides of the society ladies with the musings of the banker and the ambitions of the district attorney. Social critique and star-crossed fates mingle here. VERDICT Recommended for readers of general fiction.-Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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