Cover Image: Embassy Wife

Embassy Wife

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Member Reviews

This is an FSG book? I am astonished. Why would that distinguished house be publishing something so light weight? The novel is evocative of Namibia and clearly based on personal experience, but the story is weak, centering on an implausibility - that Mark is searching for a woman with whom his wife is friendly? They never met? The three central characters are not that different from each other. The husbands are. various shades of pathetic/ reprehensible. It all seems ephemeral and unimportant.
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This story of two accomplished women living as expatriates in Namibia because of their husbands’ jobs was a decently entertaining read, but didn't blow me out of the water. I'd call it elevated Brain Candy, but it didn't prove to be the "fast-paced mystery" I'd heard it was. The mystery part was underwhelming and it was definitely not fast-paced. The strength of this one is the sharp, witty commentary on government expat life and colonial history of Namibia, which kept me reading. Two other minor quibbles: the husbands' characters were cliches and some plot points seemed like a stretch.
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A fun, witty, sparkling novel that kept me wondering about the characters when I wasn't reading it, EMBASSY WIFE is highly entertaining. Set in Namibia during the Tr*mp administration, we follow 3 wives of government officials (two American and one Namibian) as they embark on a sort of "Real Housewives of Namibia" satire that had me gasping out loud at some of the wilder twists and turns. 

Growing up as an expat myself, and going to an international school similar to the one these wives send their children, I had an exceptionally fun time reading and relating to life in a third culture and how to make it work in a foreign country. Crouch, who spent time in Namibia herself, hits the nail on the head when it comes to life as an expat and her writing and satirical style is superb. 

So many juicy secrets and wild turns, I'm surprised this book was kind of slept on this past summer! The book is a bit superficial, but so are these women and I think that's ok at the end of the day.
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An enjoyable, satirical take on the life of embassy wives and families, Crouch takes us to Namibia.  Sensitivity is high after being called a shithole country, and it is obvious there is a big divide between the Namibians and diplomats.  Amanda follows her husband Mark to Namibia, there ostensibly on a Fulbright scholarship.  As she befriends Persephone, the perfect embassy wife, and Mila , a native Namibian married to a corrupt government official, all kinds of secrets are revealed, as Amanda and Persephone join forces to save the rhinos.  I enjoyed the satire, as well as the setting of Namibia.  Recommended, and thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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𝐅𝐮𝐧! 𝐅𝐮𝐧! 𝐅𝐮𝐧! Looking for a rollicking fun read to top off your summer? If so, I’ve got just the book for you, 𝐄𝐌𝐁𝐀𝐒𝐒𝐘 𝗪𝐈𝐅𝐄 by Katie Crouch. This is a satire in the best possible sense, charmingly poking fun at the diplomatic lifestyle. It features Amanda, newly arrived in Namibia with her Fulbright scholar husband and daughter. She’s given up her own lucrative career for a life of aimlessness, school politics, and unrelenting heat! Helping her along the way is Persephone, wife of one of the embassy diplomats. She’s the welcoming committee, the International School drama-queen, and a behind-the scenes social climber, who secretly wants her husband’s job. And, oh, she likes to cut the edge on maintaining her perfect facade with a tad too much booze. Throw into this mix some precocious kids, husbands with secrets (real and imagined), and a “protected” rhino who doesn’t need all that much protection, and you’re left with a very good time.⁣
I feel like 𝘌𝘮𝘣𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘺 𝘞𝘪𝘧𝘦 is another book that has sort of flown under everyone’s radar this summer. I’m not sure why that is, but let’s fix it. You could add it to your TBR list, put it on a library hold, or better yet read it over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. You’ll be glad you did and can thank me later! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⁣
Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an e-galley of #embassywife.
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I found this very bright book in NetGalley and I admit I chose it because I was pretty sure I had never read a book set in Namibia. 🇳🇦

The story focuses on a few women - Amanda, who has left her tech job to support her husband's Fulbright project, and Persephone who is the wife of a diplomat. Even the Ambassador is a woman. Then shenanigans ensue. The husbands are shady.

This is the second book in a row I've read that was set in southern Africa, and you know because of all of the mentions of milk tarts. I did feel I learned some about the place, although mostly through the gazes of white people and expats. I found it enjoyable and a little silly. 

And it's important to go into it thinking silly and light because if you are looking for a book that examines the lives of the people who are from there, this is not it! I was surprised to see it being published by a major publisher in 2021; it isn't terrible but doesn't seem like the focus readers are asking for. I ended up looking for it after finding it on the Millions list, but hmm. The author basically says at the end that she lived in Namibia for a while but had t  make up drama to write a book about it. And while she places it during the Trump presidency, and it's mentioned a few times, but more like sprinkled in for time placement than any real social commentary. Not every novel needs to be social commentary but I think I still kind of wanted this one to be.
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While I was intrigued by the unique premise of this book, it just wasn't my favorite. The characters were extremely unlikeable and there were several cringeworthy parts, but also some humorous and entertaining parts as well. Not my favorite of the author's, but definitely a new direction for her!
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Thanks to Netgalley and FSG for the ebook. Persephone Wilder is the wife of an America diplomat in Namibia and Amanda Evans has just given up her thriving job in Silicon Valley to follow her husband to Namibia as he’s doing research on a Fulbright project. But in this wildly satirical novel, nothing is as simple as it first appears. This fast paced book follows almost a dozen characters as we see the sands shifting under their feet as all these truths finally come to light.
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I wanted to throw Katie Crouch's Embassy Wife at the wall… talk about a horribly written book set in Namibia that makes quite a few racist and utterly gross comments (at least in my current advanced copy; gosh, I hope a final editor said HECK NO).  So much can go wrong in ex-pat lit, and this is it.

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Katie Crouch uses her first-hand experiences of living in Namibia to craft this wonderful novel in which two American "trailers" (partners who accompany their spouses  to diplomatic posts)  come to love a place they'd known little about before landing there.  Perceptively, such people are regarded by the local population as FIGJAMs (I can't transcribe this acronym, but it's so spot-on I have to use it).  They have personal upheavals to overcome, and the story of a native wife of Minister of Transportation serves to propel the action.  In her Author's Note, Crouch hints that remarks by the former president, or Orange Ooompa Loompa, referring to the entirety of Africa as a s***hole served as inspiration to create this affectionate portrait of a country not many people know a lot about.  I found myself looking up images of Windhoek, the capital, and the mind-blowing desert where the sand meets the ocean.  So in addition to the excellent story woven here and the truly individualistic characters, she has awoken my interest in the history, unbearably tragic, of this fascinating place and its people.   Kudos.
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So well written I enjoyed from first page to last.All the characters came alive the embassy wives the staff.Add in a mystery intrigue a delicious read.Will be recommending the book and the author,#netgalley#fsg
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Expatriate Blues

The title of the book is a bit of a misnomer.  This clever satire focuses on trailing wives (predominately) and husbands, those who follow their spouses to far-off lands to represent the United States. These couples and their children, live in nice government homes, chosen by the Ambassador. The story centers on two families.  Persephone and Adam Wilder and Amanda and Mark Evans.  Both women are there at the bequest of their husbands.   They are living in the country of Naimbia, a country in southwest Africa.  It was a German colony from 1884to 1915, but became a League of Nations territory after World War I; after World War II, South Africa administered Naimbia. In 1990, the country achieved independence.

Persephone aims to please, she wants to say and do the right things, including how to dress in the unbearable heat and how not to look drunk.  She is a heavy drinker, it seems most of the characters in this novel were pouring wine or whiskey every day.
Persephone is brilliant, she speaks many languages and can shoot a rifle with precision.

The other trailing wife, of note, is Amanda who left a successful Silicon Valley job to accompany Mark who is on a Fulbright scholarship. Their marriage is halfhearted as Mark is not what he seems and has a twenty-year secret.  It’s all about loyalty, the couples may not be true to each other or question their personal goals, but they are true to their country.  America is a to be respected and they want to portray themselves as excellent envoys.  They do not consider Naimbia a s-t hole as was referenced by the 45th president; this allusion is a citation in this novel.

The prose is lively but we know happy endings are not guaranteed.  The book was too frothy in some parts.  However, despite corruption and provocative incidents, Crouch leads us to trust our resilience and loyalty.

My gratitude to NetGalley and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux for the opportunity to read this pre=published book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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i was so thrilled to receive this gem in the mail! my first physical arc :) as soon as i picked it up, i was whisked away to Africa, and was a fly on the wall in the lives of these complicated, fascinating “trailing spouses” as they’re called and the world they inhabit.

Embassy Wife is about exactly what you’d think — the spouses of people working for the US embassy, this case in Namibia, in southwestern Africa. the universe of this story revolves around three wives in particular: Persephone, who has deemed herself THE embassy wife, takes her role — and the fact that she suspects her husband of being the CIA plant of the bunch — VERY seriously. Amanda is the newest embassy wife. she was a big COO in Silicon Valley before her husband dragged her and her daughter Meg to Africa, passively aggressively kicking and screaming, leaving their life in the Bay behind. her husband, Mark, is a Fulbright scholar who seems to be spending his days researching and academic-ing, but we learn he had a deeper reason — or really just one reason — for coming to Africa. lastly is Mila, the most fabulous, attractive, impeccably dressed embassy wife, always oozing wealth and sophistication. unlike the others, she actually grew up in Namibia, and has lived a life completely opposite to the glitz and glam we see today, informing her experience — and the whole story — in some shocking ways.

all of the characters are so vivid and unique. the author paints such a compelling picture of each and every one. the author does a really impressive job of being extremely fair and giving each character equal attention and description... and drama of course. it leaves the reader feeling like they’re in on the joke; they have the privilege of knowing all the hot goss of the embassy circle.

the plot, the relationships, the twists and turns — ones where i gasped out loud — were all masterfully done. this book was truly so good, and so funny! it had such smart humor throughout the whole thing. if you want a novel that you can sink your teeth into like the lions in Africa, this one is for you.

thank you so much to @fsgbooks for the advanced copy. it comes out tomorrow — run, don’t walk!!! 🦓
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A Rhino, Ex-pats in Africa and Nazi	Memorabilia make for wicked fun in “Embassy Wife”
	If your spouse asked you to move to the remote African desert, would you? In “Embassy Wife,” by Katie Crouch (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Amanda Evans concedes in order to mend her troubled marriage. Then, her life hits the fan in this hilarious political satire. 
	Amanda is a bigwig in a Silicon Valley tech firm, and her husband, Mark, is a long languishing assistant professor in Santa Clara. When Mark receives a Fulbright scholarship to study the Namibian Holocaust and becomes an advisor to the U.S. Embassy, Amanda resentfully packs their nine-year-old daughter, Meg, and their household possessions, and moves to the desert.
	At the international school Meg attends, Amanda meets fellow American ex-pat Persephone Wilder, a career State Department wife, whose husband Adam is on track for an ambassadorship. Persephone views herself as the perfect “Embassy Wife,” who will follow her husband wherever he’s posted to climb the ambassadorial ladder, so long as she can self-medicate with booze. 
	After previous dull assignments, Persephone truly loves Africa. In this tiny, incestuous U.S. outpost in the Kalahari, Persephone is the queen of gossip. She barters it to keep her title as the queen bee of the Embassy families and to bolster her husband’s success. She makes pity on homesick Amanda, making Amanda her latest project-instructing Amanda about the culture, the country and the sticky politics of Namibia. But Amanda doesn’t give a hoot. She simply wants to return to the U.S.
	Also attending the school is Taimi, the nine-year-old daughter of Mila and Josephat Shilongo, the Minister of Transportation. Persephone can’t stand the striking Amazonian Mila because her husband has the hots for Mila. Conversely, Mila fascinates Amanda. Amanda embraces their mismatched friendship and their daughters’ bond excites her.
	As time passes, Amanda’s husband becomes more secretive and withdrawn. Unbeknownst to her, Mark’s true motive in relocating to Namibia wasn’t the Fulbright. Twenty years ago, he served in the Peace Corps and was involved in a tragic a bus accident. The government deported him to the states against his will, and he never knew the fate of his African girlfriend. Mark has returned to Namibia to find her and make amends. This secret is just the tip of the iceberg.
	The hysteria begins as the love-hate triangular relationship between Amanda, Persephone and Mila develops, shifting like the sand dunes in the hot winds. Each woman is talented in their own right, yet the embassy system has subordinated them to men who border on incompetence; Mark is a lazy professor, Adam is a lousy lawyer and Josephat is a corrupt politician. Despite their cultural differences, these women bond, and jointly rebel against the patriarchal system and their husbands. With the turn of each page, readers will relish in their complicated adventures as the fireworks begin.
	Buried within the light-hearted story of the ups-and-downs of friendship, parenthood and marriage, is a wry exposé on foreign politics under the former president’s regime. In the afterward, Crouch mentions she lived in Namibia and drew upon her experiences to create this contemporary comedy of political errors. She takes a clear shot at “the orange president’s” inability to pronounce the name of the country (“Nambia”) and referring to the county as a “s***hole.” These demeaning remarks figure prominently in the climax of this wacky insider examination of the Foreign Service. 
	During the sweltering days of summer, “Embassy Wife” will transport readers to an exotic location that few will ever visit. Readers will hear the lion’s roar, feel the heat radiating off the sun-parched earth, and see the purple and gold sunsets. Sadly, like the Embassy families, readers will never truly understand the political and cultural tensions existing in this former apartheid country, but Crouch’s novel is the best thing.
	Where do the Rhino and Nazi memorabilia come in? There are no spoilers here. You’ll have to read this entertaining book. You won’t be able to put it down.
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Amanda arrives in Namibia, Africa with her family for her husband to do research. She becomes an "embassy wife" as she is a "trailing" spouse. Like other trailing wives including Persephone, Amanda must figure out this ex-pat life and how to navigate living in Africa. Who is looking out for whom? 

This book is witty and funny and works well as a comedy of errors. I really liked the ex-pat community setting and the fish out of water situations. This lifestyle totally fascinates me (although after reading this, there is no way I could do it!) The characters and their relationships are so crisply written and this is a completely enjoyable book. Please read this book! 

Thank you to Netgalley for the advance copy for review. I hope this book gets the buzz it deserves (and maybe a sequel?)
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I can’t say enough about the unique perspective of this book! The premise instantly attracted me as I haven’t read many modern takes on Americans abroad. Being a DC resident surrounded by government employees, public servants and former ex-pats, I was immediately drawn to this book even having never read Katie Crouch’s other works. 

Amanda Evans is a “trailing spouse”, a phrase used to describe someone who follows his or her life partner to a new location for a work assignment. In Amanda’s case, it means leaving behind her cushy home and Silicon Valley job to follow her husband Mark to Namibia where he has accepted a Fulbright. We also meet Persephone Wilder, another trailing spouse” who has been at this long enough to know all the rules of being married to a State Department employee. The stories of these two women, as well as the husbands they have followed to Africa, definitely kept my attention. 

I enjoyed this read and appreciated Crouch’s vivid descriptions of life in Namibia (as she has actually lived there). Her writing is easy to follow, witty and colorful. For all those who think the grass is always greener somewhere else, this is a great perspective on why things aren’t always as they seem. Thanks to Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus & Giroux for gifting me an advanced copy of this marvelous book by Katie Crouch - 5 stars!

Persephone Wilder's husband, Adam, is an American diplomat working at the Namibia, Africa, US embassy.  Persephone takes her job as an embassy wife very seriously and takes newly-arrived Amanda Evans under her wing.  Amanda's husband, Mark, is there on a Fulbright to write a book but it's obvious to Amanda that he has other motivations for being in Namibia.  Amanda left a powerful position at a Silicon Valley company but now feels like she's alone in her marriage.  These two women, along with a local woman, Mila, meet at the International School where all their children attend.  Each of. these women have secrets themselves as well as secrets to undercover.

I absolutely loved this book!  There is the perfect combination of humor, smart writing, political and class commentary, and all kinds of relationships - those between spouses, children, and friends.  You feel transported to Namibia, with its red dirt, heat and proud people.  There are so many great characters in this book and I loved going along on their journey to living their best and honest lives.  High recommended!
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What a delightful and clever novel this is! Persephone, Amanda, and Mila are thrown together in Windhoek because their children attend the International School.  All of their husbands have secrets- Perspehone's husband is a diplomat, Amanda's is on a Fulbright, and Mila's is the Minister of Transportation and each of them is unhappy for their own reasons.  Amanda's Mark, who served with the Peace Corps in Namibia 20 years earlier,  ties much of this together and he,  like the others, has a chance to tell his third person story.  He's not the focus, though, the women are.  You will recognize all of them (as well as others) if you've spent time in a diplomatic community.  There's a light touch of satire that never cuts deep on any of the women- it's more respectful than not. The atmospherics- not just the red dust but also the Embassy housing (the chairs!) - are terrific.  This has nice twists (keep an eye on Meg and Taimi) .  It didn't really matter to me that the ending is completely and totally not possible because the novel itself is so enjoyable.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Excellent read.
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Katie Crouch keeps getting better and better. In this book, the main characters include two wives living in Namibia, following their husband's embassy posts. They are fishes out of water but not flailing. There is Amanda, who has agreed to leave her high-end tech job and transfer from California to Namibia for 2 years while her husband Mark works on his Fullbright-granted work. Their 9 year old is enrolled in International School with children of other embassy families and rich locals Including Persephone, who has lived abroad for years and become skilled in being an embassy wife; her husband is emerged in embassy work, transferring posts every few years. Their husbands have secrets—and lies. Some are told to the reader, some are not. Then there are the local women, Mila a beautiful Namibian mother who's daughter attends the International school and has issues with the other mothers and big secrets of her own. And snippets of the women who work for the mothers, and their lives. Their flashback scenes are blended in beautifully, there are twists you do not see coming, and the dialogue is terrific. Some parts, such as Amanda's background and Persephone's children do not get enough attention. And there is a bit of a rush to wrap up in the end.  But that doesn't change my rating. I love Katie Crouch's writing. She is very entertaining and absorbing.
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I’m a fan of the author’s earlier works (particularly Girls in Trucks), but this one left me cold. The plot was creative and would have been engaging, except that the characters were insufferable and stunningly unlikeable. But if you love plot-driven books, give this one a try. Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book.
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