Lush and powerful, The Charmed Wife is brimful of magic and the seething darkness that lies beneath the glittering surface of every good fairy tale.
In The Charmed Wife, Olga Grushin turns the fairy tale romance on its head, and then just keeps turning it, playfully, subversively, brilliantly: a feat of fierce imagination.
A powerful, provocative and quite wonderful modern literary fairy tale, but if you enter expecting 'happily ever after' you'll be sorely disappointed. Rather than sugar and spice and all things nice, you'll instead find a novel brimming with exquisitely sharp and pointed attitude. Thirteen and a half years after Cinderella married the man of her dreams and she's had enough, she wants out. The prologue pierces love, and binds hate, firmly setting the tone, yet wicked humour and gentle observations also tickle the page. The echoes of well known fairy tales make themselves felt, adding to the enchantment. There is much to take delight in, yet beware, all magic is paid for and you'll need to be on the look out for hidden snares. I adore the tale that runs alongside the main story, of the two mice that accompanied Cinderella and live in a world circling through an entire civilisation. How easy it is to view what you want to see, rather than what is actually there. As the fairy tale splinters and a shimmer of reality breaks through, I found my thoughts tossed high in the air, and where they will land, I still don't know. So bright, so clever, and thought-provoking this just had to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month. I danced through the deep dark magic of The Charmed Wife, long live the fairy tale that lives beyond 'happily ever after'.
Surprising, darkly comedic and enchanting
Different and compelling
Does for fairy tales what Bridgerton has done for Regency England
The comedy is devastating in this autopsy of a marriage that dies of "happily ever after" syndrome. Seldom has such emotional realism been spied in the precincts of wild magic. This alumna of the Cinderella marriage is overwhelmed, over-enchanted, and so over it. Fall under its charms, I dare you.
THE CHARMED WIFE is a thought-provoking, wickedly clever, and beautifully written fairy tale character study that enchants at every turn. Olga Grushin dissects fairy tales, marriage, and the messy human heart with a pen as sharp as any scalpel.
Dark and dreamy. Inside the plot, magic comes and goes. But inside the reader, it's all magic - all of us happily caught in Grushin's hypnotic spell.