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The Headmaster's Wife

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,579 Ratings  ·  873 Reviews
An immensely talented writer whose work has been described as “incandescent” (Kirkus) and “poetic” (Booklist), Thomas Christopher Greene pens a haunting and deeply affecting portrait of one couple at their best and worst.

Inspired by a personal loss, Greene explores the way that tragedy and time assail one man’s memories of his life and loves. Like his father before him, Ar
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Linda Dawson The second part of the book is profoundly different from the first half because it's most of the same events from a different perspective. If I told…moreThe second part of the book is profoundly different from the first half because it's most of the same events from a different perspective. If I told you any more, I'd have to give spoilers. I think you'll really like this book! It won't really make total sense until you DO get in to the second part, although the first part is fast paced easy reading.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I could not put it down! This was a gripping novel about how we deal with grief and what it does to tear us apart. As I got into the first part of the book, I wasn't sure I liked the way it was going, but it was written so well, I could stop reading. Then...smack, about halfway through it takes a turn I was not expecting at all. It ended up being a great read, and offers a lot of food for thought on what might have been if just any one of the circumstances for the main characters had been differ ...more
Jun 14, 2016 Annet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature-pure
A layered story of love, unbearable loss, and grief.

Wonderful read. Tragic ... unexpected turn of events in the course of the story. A sad story really... beautifully written. Scenery of Eastern Canada beautifully described.
Easy flowing read, once you start, you just want to move on and get to the outcome. Intriguing... Story seems quite logical, until it takes a turn.... 4.5. Recommended!
And thanks to Goodreads and my Goodreads friends, for I found this book here.... what a grand source of boo
So, up until the last few pages, I was thinking this would be a four star read. It was well-written and well-crafted...up until the end, where, it seems, the author ran out of interest in telling this story and just abruptly closed it. Very odd.
Diane S ☔
Sep 12, 2014 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is no doubt that the weather here the last few days made the setting for this book really stand out. Fallish, cool weather, back to school and this story that takes place at an insular prep school the Northeast.

Loved how the author drops the reader right into the middle of the story and how aware we are of that but not of what has actually happened. Quite a jolt with the surprise at the end of the first part.

The closed world of a live in school, where expectations are passed from father to
Apr 14, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Headmaster’s Wife Simply Stunning

Like all good stories this has a beginning a middle and an end and have called the three parts; Acrimony, Expectations and After just to help us out. I am sure there will be plenty of people that will try and pigeon hole this book, as literary or psychological thriller but I am adding a new pigeon hole – its bloody good.

Arthur Winthrop is a middle aged headmaster of an elite school in Vermont who is found running naked through New York’s Central Park on a co
Jennifer Masterson
4 and 3/4 Stars! "The Headmaster's Wife" is truly a great and unique read. It twists and turns like a thriller but deals with grief and loss at the same time. I've never read anything like this. I don't want to give away too much because it is best to go into this novel not knowing anything. I never would have read this but two people outside of Goodreads had recommended it to me. The first time someone told me about it I saw the cover and passed. I'm big on covers and the cover is so blah and m ...more

This is a beautifully told story of love and loss and the choices we make in life. It opens with the Headmaster of a prestigious but insular Vermont school, Arthur Winthrop, being found wandering naked in New York's Central Park. Taken into custody by the police he slowly tells them how his life has spiraled out of control due to an obsessive love affair. Half way through the book, the story switches to the Headmaster's wife Elizabeth and we gradually learn more of her and Arthur's stories and w
Apr 15, 2014 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Headmaster's Wife is about love, class, family, and expectations, but it is ultimately a story about how people grieve. A novel in three parts, the first part is told from the point of view of Arthur Winthrop, headmaster of an elite prep school in Vermont called Lancaster. The second part of the story is told from the point of view of his wife, Elizabeth, and she presents a slightly different version of events for us to consider. The third and final part is the denouement, and it manages to ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book has a lot of shallow things going for it: attractive cover, interesting sounding premise (hello it's set at a boarding school in Vermont), good author blurbs, double spaced text on smallish pages to make you think you're a really good and fast reader.... but then it falls flat in all the important ways. I thought it was pretty obvious from the start that Arthur is an unreliable narrator, and there's just nothing subtle in the story. I didn't care about any of the characters-- not in th ...more
This story is divided into three parts; Acrimony, Expectations and After. The headmaster narrates the first part and the other two are narrated in the third person describing events from a different perspective.

When I began reading the headmaster's story I was concerned by what he was doing and worried where the story was headed. By the end of his narrative I was shocked by the events that had unfolded. While reading 'Expectations' and then 'After' the reader gains insight about events describe
Mardee Dowdy
Jan 29, 2014 Mardee Dowdy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Worthy tale and so well told. I love Mr. Greene's writing and will look for his previous books now. This would make a great movie!
Ladybug Lynn
Mar 10, 2014 Ladybug Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most reviews say that the book is about grief and loss. While that is true, it is more a story of our choices and justifications for those choices and how they lead to grief. Elizabeth's (the titular Headmaster's Wife) life is heartbreaking not because of the big thing that is revealed in the book but because of the bad choices she makes. Choices she makes for comfort and out of loneliness instead of belief in those decisions. So sad. Read the book for the examination of a life not lived to the ...more
Lisa Dresdner
Aug 15, 2014 Lisa Dresdner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, so bad, it made me sad. I had been intrigued by reviews of this novel that noted the three different perspectives from which the story is told, how each perspective informs the previous one so that readers gained new understandings of the characters. The reviews were generous. In spite of quickly getting the sense that this novel was not going to go anywhere near where I’d hoped, I kept reading because I really kept hoping for something more. However, this novel is among those that I (sadly) ...more
Mar 09, 2014 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
The Headmaster's Wife begins as what appears to be a rather conventional tale of a headmaster's mid-life crisis involving an affair with a student and the story of his troubled marriage. It was so conventional, in fact, that I wondered why I was continuing to read it, but the writing was so good that it kept me with the story. I am very glad it did because as the reader finishes part one, narrated by the headmaster, and ventures on into parts two and three, narrated by different characters, the ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recently finished reading "The Headmaster's Wife" by Thomas Christopher Greene. I admit to being somewhat at a loss on how to review this book. This is a book told by multiple voices and it is incumbent on the reader to determine what is true and what is an altered perception of reality. The setting is the elite world of the private New England prep school - Lancaster, in Vermont. Arthur Winthrop is Lancaster's headmaster, a position that his father held before him. When the book opens, Arthur ...more
Jul 20, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[I would have given this 5 stars except it bordered on a novella. No matter how large the publisher's make the font, it's clear that this fantastic little read is no more than a 6 hour pleasure.] But what a pleasure it is!! Greene's offering is a fresh take on the unreliable narrator - just when you thought it couldn't happen. Every character rang true. The pace was perfect. Descriptions are lush. This is a confection worth full-price now. Don't wait.
The question above this box asks, "What did you think?" Hmmmm. This book rendered me unable to think. I can't figure out why. I don't have the skills to step back from the story and analyze it objectively, to understand how the author put the pieces together so skillfully. I don't know why it works so well, but it is a story like no other story I have ever read (and I've read a lot of stories).

I believe the reader is drawn in by the oddity of the opening scene, and pulled along through the story
Bonnie Brody
The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene is written in a beautiful style that makes the reading of this book compelling. Greene has a way with words that hooks the reader from the first pages. The plot, however, is not as well-considered as I would have liked and I was disappointed by the denouement. It seemed like a deus ex machina, and not at all realistic.

The book starts out with Arthur Winthrop, Headmaster of The Lancaster School in Vermont, a prestigious boarding school, found wan
Amy *Rawr*
Thomas Christopher Greene's writing was done beautifully. I read the acknowledgments part and it said that he wrote this book for his second daughter who was born early and died. If I had known that when I was going in to read the book I would have had a different mindset. As it was this was a very complex story that was well written.

Greene writes in a way that draws in the reader. However, the plot seemed confusing to me and I feel as though I didn't understand the message of the story properly
I really liked the first part of this book - Acrimony. It was quite brilliantly written and ends with a real a-ha moment. For me, the story could have ended there, as a short novella. Enough is hinted at that the reader can fill in the missing pieces and put the story together. The second part - Expectations - seems unnecessary and spells it all out too methodically. Like Greene didn't think the reader would be smart enough to put it together without an explanation. And I found the third section ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short tale about three people and presented by each. It's NYC. Arthur, presently sits in the police station. He has been arrested for being naked in the park. There he sits in oversize clothes telling the officers how he came to be there. Just as I am settling in and I'm good with the story so far, part two begins. Meet Elizabeth, she is Arthur's wife. Whoa! Sharp right with no warning signs ahead. Within our two narratives the third person, though briefly there, his haunting presence ...more
Catherine Linka
Mar 08, 2014 Catherine Linka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's what happens when I really love a book and don't want it to end. I race through, and then, read backwards. i reread the last chapters in reverse order so I can savor what I was too impatient to slowly read the first time. And that's exactly what I did with The Headmaster's Wife.

I love how character's tell their stories, but things that happen to them can make them unreliable narrators. We tell our lives through our own personal lenses, but sometimes those lenses get distorted. We cannot b
Jan 01, 2014 Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Received ARC courtesy of giveaway

This book is a definite must read! I would put it down for a few minutes to do something else and be drawn right back to it!

There are so many layers to this novel--relationships between husbands and wives, mothers and sons, fathers and sons, employer and employee, boyfriend and girlfriend. Then there are the images of snow and rivers and coldness. Then comes madness/sanity, love/hate, life/death.

This is a novel that you will continue to think about
Pamela Bayer
Apr 22, 2014 Pamela Bayer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, dark
This is truly an absorbing psychological study of how fast life moves while personal loss, life changes and love abruptly manifests and dissipates in a rash of time. The three chapters of the book demonstrates how personal values will alter ones life drastically in the form of both good and bad or right in the middle. This unique New England Prep school mystery is definitely going to be one of my top favorites for 2014.
Mar 29, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story pulled me in right away, I was intrigued. It is definitely a story of grief. While it isn't a thriller, the suspense is built around the chain of events that led to what happened to Arthur and why he was found walking naked in Central Park.

It's an interesting story and I enjoyed it.
Dennis Anthony
May 26, 2016 Dennis Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About halfway through this book, I started wondering why it was called "The Headmaster's Wife” and not "The (poor excuse for a) Headmaster."

When you discover the answer to that question, it lands like a noisy, but appropriately patrician explosion. Things fall apart, but gently, almost lovingly. There's sorrow at the bottom of it, lost love, betrayal and, I guess, anger, although these folks can't seem to summon up an emotion that strong. I don't mean this as a put down. I liked the book and th
Mar 15, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Sue Loved this book. Enjoyed that the book was written from three different perspectives. Eager to read more by this author.
19 hours, 40 min ago · delete
May 27, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on: http://lauraslittlebookblog.blogspot....

I liked this as it managed to completely throw me. I did not expect the outcome I thought was heading my way. I started off reading this thinking that oh yes kind of predictable what will happen, but no. The author manages to completely send you in the wrong direction.

The first half of the story is told from Arthur Winthrop's point of view and you want to know how he managed to get himself into a situation where he is walking naked in
Gill Chedgey
Apr 06, 2014 Gill Chedgey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Headmaster’s Wife Thomas Christopher Greene

I received an uncorrected bound proof copy of this novel from Real Readers. The writer was unfamiliar to me and given the wonderful diversity of material from Real Readers I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It was very easy to read and I completed it in a couple of sittings. You could be forgiven for thinking that a book so easily and quickly read lacks substance but nothing could be further from the truth.

The opening section begins innocuously enough. I
Mike Gabor
Mar 05, 2014 Mike Gabor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the Headmaster of Vermont’s elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control. Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges.

A beautifully wri
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Thomas Christopher Greene was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Tom has worked in a staple factory; as an oyster shucker; a speechwriter and spokesperson for a presidential campaign; the director of public affairs for two colleges; and as a professor of writing and literature. In 2006, Tom founded the Vermont College of Fine Arts, a top New England arts college, making him the youngest
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“And she thinks perhaps that is what love is: letting someone else see that part of you that shatters like glass...They will grow old together, broken together, and as long as they both don't completely shatter at the same time, they might find a way to pick each other off the ground.” 2 likes
“anything in a marriage it is when to give up. I used to think that all marriages ran the same trajectory. They start with wanting to climb inside the other person and wear her skin as your own. They end with thinking that if the person across from you says another word, you will put a fork in her neck.” 1 likes
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