The Spare Wife

The Spare Wife

A Novel

Written by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780452295308
  • 304 Pages
  • Plume
  • Adult


Ponce Morris is a beautiful, rich widow who?s known as ?the spare wife? because she?s the perfect companion to the wealthy, powerful, New York couples in her elite social circle. She throws elegant dinner parties, goes to sports events with the husbands, and shops with the wives. She?s both flawlessly appropriate and coolly nonthreatening?everyone knows Ponce doesn?t have a romantic bone in her body. Over the years, she has managed other people?s lives?and her own?perfectly. Then Babette Seele, an ambitious, aspiring journalist, discovers that Ponce is having an affair with a socially prominent, very married man, and decides to break the scandal, turning Ponce?s carefully calibrated world upside down. Witchel?s sophisticated, witty, sexy satire provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives and loves of upper-class New Yorkers, sharply exposing the foibles of the fabulous.


“A wonderful escape into a world of beautiful, glamorous women and their troublesome men. The dialogue is witty and true. You will have a great time.”
–Barbara Walters

“…Alex Witchel is already treading on Henry James territory as a chronicler of wealthy Manhattan. …The Spare Wife, serves up a skirmish in the firmament of the Upper East Side with all the careful maneuverings of a Jamesian fortune hunter. …a tight comedy of bad manners.”
–Ellen Wernecke, The Onion

“…Witchel’s Manolo-sharp send-up of Manhattan high society. The fact that many characters bear more than a fleeting resemblance to real New Yorkers (is that Tom Wolfe?) makes it all the more delicious.”
–Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly

“A blast to read. In Witchel’s scintillating second novel…[she] writes with an informed, natural voice.”
Los Angeles Confidential

“Think of it as the perfect beach read, just in time for resort season.”
Gotham Magazine

“…smart and savvy account about this group of movers, shakers, and climbers.”
–Barbara Fisher, Boston Globe

“…crisply written page-turner…”
–Donna Doherty, New Haven Register

“All these fast-paced antics have the comic energy of farce… the gossipy anecdotes also have the quality of insider dish…”
–Diane Johnson, New York Times

“…the choreography and the emotional unveilings are clever and most welcome.”
– Elinor Lipman, New York Times Book Review

“Witchel writes with insider’s insight about a high-powered world where the personal trainer has replaced the bartender as confidante, and where aging women look warily over their shoulders at young beauties.”
–Cristina Rouvalis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“In the Manhattan jungle, it takes an urban anthropologist like Alex Witchel to explain the mysterious customs and rituals of its social tribes. What’s fun about “The Spare Wife”…[is] Witchel’s depiction of the laws of this particular jungle, which is populated by lusty billionaires, once-famous authors, media moguls, wanna-bes and has-beens. And as it develops in Witchel’s book, women are the true Masters of the Universe.”
–Jane H. Furse, New York Daily News

“ . . . this spry and pithy satire bursts with nipping, sardonic humor.”

“Witchel returns to the romances of Manhattan’s upper echelons in this Gawkeriffic potboiler . . . It’s extravagant . . .closely observed and entertaining.”
Publishers Weekly

“Witchel’s eye for detail is delicious . . .”
Kirkus Reviews