William and Lucy Carleton are prominent newlyweds in 1880s New York City. Community standing and consistently acceptable social behavior are of utmost importance to William, which is why he married a wife of such fine pedigree.
Unfortunately, Lucy has been ill for the majority of her year-long marriage. She suffers anxiety in social situations and often creates an embarrassing scene when she and William must abruptly leave parties.
Several of New York’s prominent physicians have diagnosed Lucy with hysteria tied directly to her uterus. She’s been subject to many invasive and ineffective treatments, none of which have cured the anxiety nor produced the child William wants.
Enter neurologist Dr. Victor Seth. Word around the New York elite circles is that his treatments work miracles with infirm women. During Lucy’s first appointment, Dr. Seth puts her under hypnosis and gives her an arousing examination. William sees improvements in his wife and encourages her to continue regular visits.
Through journal entries, we find out that Dr. Seth is using Lucy to further his own research. Through hypnosis, he encourages her to explore life outside her socially constrained world. As his spouse becomes more outspoken, William gets discouraged with Lucy’s behavior as An Inconvenient Wife.
Megan Chance takes some big risks with this novel and they pay off well. She sends readers back to a time and place where wealthy women are expected to be simple and subservient. Hypnosis plays a significant role in the tale as an experiment and parlor game.
An Inconvenient Wife is an exciting story. Chance successfully holds readers’ attention with Lucy’s emotional journey and other surprising developments right to the very end.