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The Headmaster's Wife by T. C. Greene

Way to make me feel like an arse.
I bought this on the recommendation of someone whose opinion I respect if not always agree with, and also as it was an Amazon daily deal I felt that 99p or whatever it cost was not too much to risk. I have become a little narrow in the field of what I choose to read and welcomed the digression offered. Subsequently, I feel a little hoodwinked. 

T.C. Greene’s previous book, Mirror Lake is one of those books that, as a former bookseller, I knew was there, would expect it to be propping up the centre of a table of multi-buy contemporary fiction, but had absolutely no desire to read whatsoever. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I disagree, given the time and effort spent by designers and publishers to ensure that any given book looks as similar as possible to the best-seller in any given genre. Mirror Lake enjoyed my ignorant prejudice for a good many months for this very reason. Of course, until I’d bought The Headmaster’s Wife I had no idea that the two Greenes were one and the same. To be fair, therefore, I went into the reading experience with a significant chip on the shoulder and a petulant unwillingness to be even-handed. However, this isn’t why I’m grumpy and feel conned. No, instead it’s because the author, after having penned this rather dull, predictable and irrelevant story about the headmaster of a Vermont public school and his wife (no enigma in the title), where the characters are lifeless, ungainly and with whom I felt almost no connection whatsoever, in language that even Twilight moms could cope with, slips into the acknowledgements that his 6-month old daughter died while he was writing it. Now I feel like a complete arse for saying it’s a load of rubbish with little to redeem it. It goes without saying that I am heartbroken for him, as the worst thing I can imagine would be for my son to die, to have to imagine all of the things that he would never see or do, and all the life experiences I’d miss out on sharing with him; but that’s no excuse to publish a book that I feel is quite so sub-par. He's not alone in the blame though, as it’s a poor show from his editorial team and publishers too. But if this is the standard of writing that paves the middle of the literary road, then I am at least justified in my ignorant prejudice and that contributes a shiny patina of smugness.

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