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Download Wives of Bath epub

by Wendy Holden

Download Wives of Bath epub
ISBN: 0755308611
ISBN13: 978-0755308613
Category: No category
Author: Wendy Holden
Language: English
Publisher: HEADLINE; Export/airside ed edition (2005)
ePUB size: 1596 kb
FB2 size: 1528 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 176
Other Formats: lrf doc docx lit

Real estate wizard Hugo Fine and his wife Amanda attend birthing class only to encounter Amanda's nemesis, Alice, and Alice's husband Jake. The expectant mothers had met previously when they worked for an American magazine and thoroughly despised each other. The hatred does not abate during the prenatal course. The couples' differences are summed up in their birthing plans. Jake, editor of the environmental magazine Get Trashed, and Alice expect to deliver at home, complete with whale music and birthing pool. Amanda is opting for first-class delivery all the way, including an elective Caesarean at the most exclusive hospital.

Amanda's plans are all for naught when she goes into labor early, and the high-class hospital refuses to admit her. She ends up at the public hospital, protesting, "I'm too posh to push." But push she does.

Meanwhile, Alice also has gone into labor and her all-natural home birth plans are not going smoothly. The birthing pool is not put together. Jake struggles at length to assemble it. But while he's still deciphering the instructions, news comes that the midwives aren't available. Amazingly, Alice's insurance from her old job still covers her --- and lands her at the exclusive hospital Amanda had yearned for. So off the two environmentalists go, in the hospital limousine. Hugo runs into Jake at the fancy hospital after Amanda demands to convalesce there. In spite of common ground, the two new fathers continue to detest each other.

When the babies come home, it's still rough sailing for both couples, and their lives continue to intertwine in unexpected ways. Becoming parents intensifies the personalities of all four, and actually sets frivolous Hugo on a sweetly redemptive path. In fact, THE WIVES OF BATH is truly Hugo's story. The book honors his transformation, which was splendid.

Descriptions of Jake and Alice recycling toilet paper tubes as napkin holders, calling the worm hotline when their garbage-recycling worms prove to be anorexic, and serving lentil soup in recycled cottage cheese containers are hilarious, as are some of Hugo's antics as he learns to be a good father. Although Amanda is so constantly a horror that the reader wonders why Hugo stays with her for ten minutes, never mind marrying her and having a baby with her, it's all in good (sometimes, very black) fun.

This was not the superficial silliness I somehow expected from the book cover, but rather a thoroughly enjoyable read that managed to be wickedly funny, surprisingly sad, and had a few startling twists in the tale. Now that I've discovered this author, I'll definitely search out her other books.
Wendy Holden's The Wives of Bath follows the parallel lives of two expecting couples from the pre-natal class the four adults attend together through the marital rifts that grow up during their babies' first years. The females of the foursome, Alice and Amanda, were acquainted with one another pre-pregnancy: their mutual animosity sets the tone in turn for their husband's dislike of one another.

Former career-woman Alice, impregnated by and quickly wed to her one-afternoon-stand Jake, is a likeable, accomplished woman, but she suppresses her own interests and personality to live up to her handsome new husband's demanding expectations: Jake is an extreme environmentalist who goes to absurd lengths to minimize his family's impact on the environment, using colanders salvaged from the dump as lampshades, for example, and (unrealistically, I should think) refashioning the metal from spiral notebooks into coat hangers. His plans for Alice's upcoming childbirth--to be endured without benefit of anesthesia, of course--approach the barbaric. Amanda, on the other hand, roughly Jake's opposite on the eco-conscious spectrum, is a self-absorbed careerist for whom family is hardly a priority: she plans to use her baby as a fashion accessory, and to use her husband Hugo as the baby's primary caregiver. Amanda has carefully plotted out her own childbirth, from scheduled elective cesarean to live-in maternity nurse. But all laid plans being, as we know, subject to fickle fortune, neither Jake's nor Amanda's visions of their birth experiences quite work out. Nor do their respective marriages thrive in the sleep-deprived months to follow, when disagreements over the division of labor in their households inevitably arise.

The Wives of Bath is a diverting romantic comedy that hits a few new-parenthood nails squarely on the head. The book can boast of some nice writing, and it is for the most part carefully plotted. The problem is that the characters of Jake and Amanda are far too over-the-top to be credible, the near-abusive Jake nothing more than the caricature of an eco-fanatic, while Amanda is, as the author puts it, the personification of a "baby-hating career bitch." ("What do I care about some effing celebrity kids?" she spits at Alice. "Or any kids, come to that? Kids, schmids. Anyone who has them deserves all they've got coming to them.") No one short of Cruella de Ville is this unabashedly nasty. One can also fault the book for the deus ex machina that arrives at the book's end to resolve the problems between Jake and Alice.

The Wives of Bath is far from perfect, but if you're looking for a light, quick read, you might grab this one.

Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
I didn't think I was going to like this book as much as I did. I almost put it down after the first few chapters because some of the characters were SO unlikeable and one dimensional it was unbearable. Luckily, in the second half of the book, those horrible characters play a small role and Alice and Hugo become more rounded out and seem more believable. The main flaw of this book is that the characters - particularly Amanda and Jake - are caricatures. It is hard to believe that anyone behaves like they do (at least I hope not). Alice and Jake's relationship is also unbeleivable, particularly since Alice had started off as a well groomed lawyer in New York. It is hard to picture her with a guy like Jake, who is nasty, controlling, and has horrendous hygeine. If she was a successful lawyer before her pregnancy and marriage, it seems unlikely that she was such a naive pushover. Amanda and Hugo's relationship is more believable - even though Amanda is a nasty person, Hugo doesn't start off so great either.

Overall, the story line becomes predictable in the second half. However, as the characters become more likeable the predictability is easily forgiven. In the end, I enjoyed the story and I was not sure I would even finish it based on the first third of the book!