In this wholly absorbing historical novel, Mrs. Lucy Carelton, who comes from one of the wealthiest and most prominent families in 1880s New York City, has been completely undone by her nerves. Her ambitious husband. A nouveau riche stockbroker, drags her from one doctor to another in search of a cure that will allow her to fulfill her many social obligations without giving in to hysteria.
They think they have found the solution in charismatic neurologist Victor Seth. A champion of a relatively new procedure called hypnotism. Seth sets about freeing Lucy from the social constraints that have made her so unhappy. While encouraging her to pursue her artistic talents and explore her sexuality.
Seth convinces himself that his techniques, including his handy way with an electrotherapy wand, are all in the name of science. But even he is unprepared for the new Lucy who emerges–a passionate, calculating, amoral creature of large appetites. Chance’s straightforward prose and over-the-top plotting effectively combine in this diabolically clever, thoroughly entertaining take on women’s liberation.
Welcome to 19th century New York upper crust society. This book certainly paints a vivid and interesting picture of the time and I feel it is fairly accurate. Now I will say that one in a while this book becomes a little bit trope like. I kind of expected a little bit of this as the Author comes from a romance background. However, there was enough of it that is why I ended up making this one a 3 star instead of 4. The book itself really is an interesting read however.
Thoughts on our wife, Lucy.
Lucy is a completely interesting character to me. I can imagine myself in her shoes, honestly there are many points in what Lucy is going through reminds me of things I have gone through in life. Of course I was not thought to be having a bad case of hysteria by my husband, but I might as well have been. Lucy is a unique woman and she is being shoved into the social constructs of the time. If she was placed in todays world she would be seen as unique and artistic. Instead she is convinced something is wrong with her, because that is what everyone tells her.
What about the hypnotist?
Victor Seth is an arrogant fellow, but he seems to genuinely mean well. I had a lot of conflicting emotions about Victor throughout the novel. He is not a typical man of his time in many ways. Yet there are moments where I want to just smack the snot out of him as much as I want to smack any of the others. So my general feeling about this book is that it is worth the read. It is a fairly fast read is you aren’t distracted by a lot of other things and genuinely pleasant to read overall.
My Star Rating: