Nancy Geary

"Being Mrs. Alcott"

(Reviewed by Carisa J. Richner DEC 12, 2005)

Being Mrs. Alcott by Nancy Geary

Peering behind the facade of wealth and privilege, we hopscotch thorough the life of Grace Alcott, a wife and mother in upper-class East coast society.  With her dominating husband Bainbridge (what a name!) making all the major decisions of their life, they move from Boston to a beautiful house on Cape Cod.  Unfortunately, soon after moving to their house by the sea, their infant daughter drowns while being taken care of by the nanny.  Guilt-ridden, Grace raises her two remaining children with no discipline or moral values, a failure which reaps consequences in the future when she and Bain are forced to sell their house due to financial failure.

The melancholy tone suits the regret-laden theme of this novel.  Riled up by their parent’s decision to sell the house, the two boys, now grown up, cannot understand their inheritance being taken from them.  The reader is torn between sympathy for Grace and recognizing that Grace and Bain are simply reaping what they have sown through raising their sons with such a sense of entitlement.  Grace herself is a hard character to understand.  At times she is portrayed with quiet strength, wise in knowing how to handle her husband’s authoritarian ways.  At other times, she lacks common sense and you want to tell her to grow up and smell the coffee. 

Although the novel kept me interested until the end, other authors have explored the “behind the scenes of the upper classes” theme more effectively, and readers would be more rewarded if they picked up a copy of The Age of Innocence than Being Mrs. Alcott.

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Read a chapter excerpt from Being Mrs. Alcott at author's website

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About the Author:

Nancy GearyNancy Geary was born in New York City but was raised in two worlds. She lived in the city with her photographer mother, who instilled in her an appreciation for diversity and creativity. And with her extremely disciplined father in South Hampton who taught her the value of hard work and financial self-sufficiency and gave her the continuity of summer after summer at the private country clubs.

For four years Geary was a prosecutor for the Criminal Bureau of the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, a participant in the Attorney General's Urban Violence Strike Force, and for two years an attorney with Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston.

She lives with her son and two dogs in a small town an hour from New York City. About Us | Subscribe | Review Team | History | ©1998-2014