Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum


**There might be a small spoiler in this review**

Before I read this book, I heard rumors that this is the new Gone Girl. Now one thing I dislike is comparing a book to another, pre-publication. Both books have psychologically disturbed female characters, but that is where the similarities end. Gone Girl is a thriller, while Hausfrau isn’t. If the comparison is success-wise, then yes I get it, because Hausfrau is a fantastic novel and I foresee that many people will find it an engrossing read.

Anna Benz is an American woman who lives in Switzerland, after she moved there with her husband, Bruno. Anna does not lead a happy in Switzerland – she is a housewife who has no friends. However, she is trying to do something about that – she takes German classes to learn to speak the language of the country she lives in and she attends sessions with her psychiatrist, the latter motivated by her husband.

Her marriage isn’t perfect either, but that is the fault of both Anna and Bruno. He is emotionally unavailable and Anna starts affairs. Anna is a perfectly flawed character – obsessive, irresponsible (in certain cases) and of course, she has psychological issues. My favourite part of the novel is the sessions with her therapist, the psychoanalysis provides fascinating insight into the character and the cause and effect of dreams. Who knew sharing your dreams, that makes no sense to you at all, can provide so much insight into your character, even your secrets you are trying to hide?

Even though Anna lies to everyone around her – her family, her few friends, her husband and even her therapist eventually her lies catches up with her. Although I don’t like her, this was an intense and interesting read. I loved how the author allowed you as a reader into the mind and life of the main character. You can’t help but want to know everything about her and want to see her get her life in order, as much as you dislike/loathe her. This book doesn’t end well, as you can imagine. Hausfrau, meaning house wife, is a riveting read and great character study, if that is the kind of books you enjoy. I can’t rave about this enough.

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Disclaimer: I received this book from Loot, for review consideration

  • Look forward to reading this! Great review.

  • I only skimmed your review, because I am reading this book right now, and was afraid I would read too much. I’ll try to remember to come back when I’m done!

    • I didn’t give many spoilers, I promise, but basically I REALLY liked it and I hope you will too. I’ll look out for your review, Naomi.

  • Didn’t read whole review for fear of spoiler, but I’m glad it’s not really all that much like Gone Girl. It didn’t appeal to me and I never conceived of Hausfrau as a thriller. I can’t wait to get to it.

    • Nothing like Gone Girl – only thing in common is the psychologically disturbed characters. I hope you will read it.

  • Ricki Treleaven

    I saw it in the bookstore last week and I almost bought it. Fantastic review! I still haven’t read Gone Girl because my daughter read it, and she said I wouldn’t like it because none of the characters were likable.

    • Gone Girl was a good thriller, but the characters aren’t likeable, she is right. The main character of Hausfrau isn’t very likeable either, but the story will pull you in. She is that character you dislike, but still want to know what happens to her.

  • I loved this book, Melinda! Anna is kind of like a train wreck…I didn’t want to see it, but I just couldn’t stop watching – ha! This one really drew me in; I’m glad you enjoyed it, as well. Great post!

    • She’s definitely a train wreck! You’re right about “couldn’t stop watching”. Really enjoyed it!!

  • Jennine G.

    Oh yay! I was hoping for a positive review on this! And I’m very interested in flower tattoos lately, so the cover grabs me!

  • I’m so glad to hear that it’s not too similar to Gone Girl – that was one of the things keeping me away from this one!

    • No, don’t worry about that. I didn’t like Gone Girl as much as everyone else. This one I like A LOT 🙂

  • Ciska van der Lans

    Have seen this one around a lot lately. Glad you enjoyed it. Going to keep an eye out for it.

  • I finished this one tonight, and while I liked it, I felt kind of let down at the end. I won’t say more than that, but it was just “meh” for me.

  • I still haven’t read Gone Girl so maybe not being to compare it a good thing.

  • Isi

    Sounds great; thanks for letting us know that it’s not like gone girl.
    Now I’m curious, lying to your own therapist? that is nosense!! haha

  • This was an intense, amazing read for me. I actually liked Anna a lot; I really felt for her. But yes, such a great character study, I agree!

  • Like Monika — I liked Anna a great deal too, and totally related to her – I feel like her depression/mental illness is what was the main cause behind her affairs, so I empathized with her.

    • It was. She is one of those characters, even though you may not like her, makes for an interesting read!

  • Pingback: Mental Health Monday: Hausfrau - The Steadfast Reader()

  • Oh, a novel where the main character isn’t likeable! I find that annoying as well as interesting. Looking forward to reading my copy!

    • She is flawed, for sure. Some parts of the novel I liked her, but mostly I didn’t. Her story is interesting though! Enjoy the read, Judith.

  • Ninjanurse

    Anna-I wanna slap her. Just when she could break out of her crazy self centered ness she wimps out.

  • I didn’t find Anna a very engaging character, personally. She was so bored by her life, it made me feel bored with it too! However, it’s a book that really lends itself to some great discussion, so I’m tempted to recommend it for my book club anyway. I know a lot of people enjoyed the reading experience more than I did, but even if people don’t enjoy it, I think they’d have a lot to say about it!

    • It definitely is the type of book that would be great for book club discussions. I understand why you didn’t find her an engaging character. I really didn’t like her as a character, but her life to me was such a mess that it was interesting to see which direction it would go