- Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
- Publication date: 9/17/2013
- Source: ARC provided by the publisher for review
What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?
Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.
Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.
Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross.
Having read On the Island and absolutely loving it, I was really excited to read another book by this author. This book, while very different, still has all the heart and beauty of that book. It had situations that are not quite right, but yet you see the how and why and can see the beauty and heartache in it. That's what I love the most about her books. Her ability to let her readers get to know the characters and feel what they feel. See the story from all angles and understand it. This was amazing and I really loved it. It is told from the POV's of Claire, Chris and Daniel, so you get to know what is going on in all of their heads. It also makes the story that much more emotional.
Claire is really lonely and aching for her husbands attention. Things have been tough. First him being out of work and stressing about being able to find a job, then being on the road all the time for the job he finally did get. He has pretty much shut her out and doesn't make the time for her. She just wants to be told she's beautiful, get an embrace or kiss, have him sleep next to her. She gets none of that and is starting to wonder if they can ever get back to where they were. When she meets Daniel, she finds a friend in him, she then finds comfort and is getting most of what she is missing from her husband. She knows that it's wrong to be spending so much time with him, but he makes her feel more like herself again. She battles with the guilt that spending so much time with him is wrong, and the happiness it brings her.
Chris is trying so hard for his family. He feels like he needs to work harder, longer, do whatever he needs to make this job work and hopefully get promoted so he won't have to travel so much. What he is missing is the fact that he can work as hard as possible, but if he's not there for his family, it doesn't matter. He misses them terribly, he feels like a failure that he can't take care of his family the way he should. His POV was the most heartbreaking to read because I could really feel his desperation to be the man he wants to be for his family. He is just going about it all wrong.
Daniel is really sweet and a truly great guy. I liked him, but I didn't like that he kept pursuing Claire. I know she made it clear she just wanted to be friends, but it's obvious that he wants more, though he would never push her. I did feel bad for him too because we all know that the heart wants what it wants. He knows that it's all wrong, but he will take whatever he can get when it comes to Claire. Though I didn't agree with a lot of the things he said or did, I don't really think he's a bad person for it. He is only one side of the relationship.
The thing about a book like this is I think that for someone my age, who is married and knows how hard it can be sometimes, can relate in some way. Not the whole other guy thing, but the hard times. I know that when things get tough, sometimes you push your significant other away, when you should be pulling them closer. It happens. You don't mean it, but life happens, and it's hard sometimes. Now, onto my personal thoughts about Claire and Daniel. I think when you are emotionally invested in another it can be worse than physical cheating. You are giving your heart to someone else and it's not right. Do I understand that she was feeling lonely and he filled that gap? Yes, but I don't think it was right for her to do. Marriage is hard. When you love someone things hurt worse than if you don't care. Sometimes when things get too broken they can't be fixed, but the most important thing is to let the other know what you are feeling no matter what. It's easier to work through things before they fall completely apart.
I think this story was very real and heartbreaking as much as it was beautiful and hopeful too. There is so much more to this story than just Claire's marriage. She sees her friends families and the things that hold them together or tear them apart. A seemingly perfect family may be worse than the ones that are falling apart at the seems. Tracey Garvis Graves weaves a perfect story and keeps you wanting more until you read the last line. This was absolutely fantastic!!
*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.