Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Mantle) ISBN: 9781447280804
It is rare that a first novel is so beautifully written, rich, profound and deep.
Anna is an American who marries Bruno and they move back to his home town in Switzerland. They have two sons and then a daughter, none of whom were planned, and one of whom is not Bruno’s. Anna feels that she belong, even after being immersed in Swiss culture for nine years.
Bruno sends her to German lessons to get her to settle in better, but she still feels lonely, bored and isolated. How she deals with this is by filling up her emptiness with sexual encounters with a few regular men.
Anna confides in nobody, not even her psychiatrist, whom she sees because her husband wants her to stop being so miserable. Even Anna’s new bubbly, kind Canadian friend, Mary, knows nothing about her secret life. How long will it take Bruno to discover her lies and indiscretions? What will Anna do when her charade is exposed?
This is a novel so beautifully and delicately woven that the succinct final sentence, like the final thread of a quilt, sends shivers down one’s spine.