Review: The Ever After

The Ever After - Sarah Pekkanen - Book ReviewTitle: The Ever After
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Synopsis from Washington Square Press

Review: THE EVER AFTER is a domestic fiction novel with candid insight to marital infidelity.  Charged and uneasy, Josie must decide if she can ever move past Frank’s betrayal.

There’s no glamour here this is an undisguised look at marriage – what everyday looks like after couples reach that point in their relationship where daily life has a pattern to it.

This was a thought-provoking read for me.  Josie gave lots of insight into the early years of she and Frank’s marriage, everything she gave up as a wife and mother and the crushing blow from his affair.  The aftermath was sharp and affecting – Josie wrestled with the ‘who, what, and why’s’ of Frank’s betrayal and I admired her resilience and incisiveness.

Pick this one up if you are looking for a devour-able, no frills look at marriage.

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Review: The Banker’s Wife

The Banker’s Wife - Cristina Alger - Book ReviewTitle: The Banker’s Wife
Author: Cristina Alger
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Thriller
Synopsis from Putnam

Review: Matthew Werner and Fatima Amir board a private plane in London en route to Geneva.  The plane crashes in the Alps with no survivors.

Matthew is a banker for the powerful Swiss United Bank affording he and his wife, Annabel the high life in Geneva, Switzerland.  She maintained a solitary existence while he traveled for work and didn’t share much intel on his clients.  Shocked by Matthew’s death Annabel finds out Fatima was his client and tied to a corrupt regime.  Is Swiss United Bank representing criminal clients?  Was Matthew involved or was he about to blow the whistle?  Authorities quickly rule the crash an accident leaving Annabel on her own to sift thru highly sensitive information hidden by her husband.

Meanwhile, investigative journalist Marina Tourneau wants to quit her job and marry her rich fiancé.  On the same day Matthew dies she winds up with a USB storing information on powerful and dangerous people and her editor-in-chief is murdered.

THE BANKER’S WIFE is a gripping international financial thriller.  As an accountant I appreciate an author who can take a boring subject and craft it into a twisty and suspenseful trip without the gore.  I also loved that Alger created two strong, intelligent women to take the lead without making the story feel like it’s for women only.  I think plenty of men would enjoy this one too.  I was invested in this compelling page turner from the get-go!

Review: Regrets Only

Regrets Only - Erin Duffy - Book ReviewTitle: Regrets Only
Author: Erin Duffy
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Synopsis from William Morrow

Review: Suburbia, infidelity, paybacks and friendships are the crux of REGRETS ONLY, a thought-provoking and at times funny look when life throws you a curveball.

Claire has given up everything for Owen; she’s uprooted from Chicago and relocated to his native Connecticut and put her career on hold to stay home with their infant son Bo.  She’s exhausted and mentally stalled and Owen wants to make it up to her with a spa day – Claire feels like the luckiest woman in the world.  Until she’s not.  She absently leaves the house without her wallet and upon returning to fetch it she finds their realtor and Owen’s high school sweetheart, Dee Dee in their kitchen scantily dressed in lingerie indulging in champagne and waffles.

With no chance of moving back to Chicago and Dee Dee’s mean-girl friends around every corner Claire reinvents herself with the help of her childhood best friend Antonia and new friend Lissy.

I’ve been there – relocating, trading in a career to stay home and raise children, physical exhaustion and mommy brain!  I laughed at Claire’s antics to get back at Owen.  Personally I’ve not gone thru a divorce so who am I to say whether Claire handled things the right way.  As a mom I totally related to her ‘death folder’ as I’ve often told my husband about should anything happen to me!  I adored the introduction of the stationary store S.W.A.K. and thought it brought a charming element to an overall great story.

If you are looking for a beach read that is sharp, witty, gossipy and snarky then pick this one up!

Review: All We Ever Wanted

 

All We Ever Wanted - Emily Griffin - Book Review
Title:
All We Ever Wanted
Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary | Women’s Fiction
Synopsis from Doubleday
Free copy provided by publisher.

Review: Wealth, privilege, lies, scandal and heartbreak are the brutal framework of Emily Giffin’s emotional novel, ALL WE EVER WANTED.  This story packs a punch that I didn’t see coming when I read the synopsis.

Kirk and Nina Browning run with Nashville’s elite crowd. Their son, Finch has never wanted for anything and his recent acceptance into Princeton is the cherry on the top of his privileged upbringing. Finch is the stereotypical product of this type of rearing – spoiled, narcissistic, and manipulative.  Finishing up his final year at prestigious Windsor Academy, he gets drunk at a party and makes a horrible, racist and sexually degrading decision that threatens his academic future but has long-ringing effects on Lyla the victim, and near-death experience for Finch’s ex, Polly. Moreover the event causes Nina to question the moral thread that ties she, Kirk and Finch together.

Told in alternating narratives, the reader hears from Tom, Nina and Lyla but it’s Nina’s story that weaves the complexity of parenting, morality, betrayal and a mother’s love for her son into this provocative plot.

This book is borderline YA and may be appropriate for a mature teenager.  It’s a timely story around the recent #metoo movement, this one is a stellar page-turner touching on social class and misogyny.

Review: Other People’s Houses

Other People’s Houses Abbi WaxmanTitle: Other People’s Houses
Author: Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Women’s Fiction
Synopsis from Berkley
Book provided by PRHC

Review: I devoured OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES in two days.  It was filled with so much familiarity – if you are a middle aged parent you will totally get this book!  Waxman takes family dysfunction, which I’m a sucker for, and puts a humorous spin on it and boy does she hit the nail on the head.  Frances Bloom is a stay-a-home mom of three children, drives the carpool on her block, and enjoys her role as the dependable neighbour.  When she walks in on her neighbour, Anne, on the living room floor with a man who is surely her husband Charlie, Frances flips out when she sees a considerably younger looking man.  This singular event unravels the neighbourhood – the insecurities mount and tensions rise as every couple questions whether their spouse could be cheating on them also.

I adored Frances and found her completely relatable.  I’m a stay-at-home mom to three children also and this paragraph brilliantly summarizes a day in my life:

Walking out of the kitchen she looked at her house as if seeing it in a catalog, and decided if it were a catalog it would be called House Hopeless.  There were drifts of clutter in every corner, like sticks and leaves in the edges and eddies of a stream.  Half finished craft activities.  Library books that had become so overdue it would have been cheaper to buy them in the first place.  Invitations to parties that had taken place three years prior.  Then, of course, there were the epic Pinterest fails of an actual life: a mantelpiece where she’s attempted a “curation” of photos and keepsakes, which for three days had been photo ready but then had been overtaken by school forms and Fisher-Price Little People and the registration sticker for Michael’s car, which didn’t need to go on for another month and would be every single place she looked until she actually needed it, at which point it would have fallen into a crevice in the earth’s crust and be lost forever.  And everywhere, everywhere, single socks and dog hair.  Oh well.

Waxman weaves in a couple of lesser strands where neighbours Bill and Julie deal with cancer and Frances’ cousin, Iris tries to convince her wife, Sara to have another baby – without detracting from the main plot line while keeping the wit and satire flowing.

I think any fan of women’s fiction will take pleasure in OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES.  Pack this one for your next vacation or beach read and get ready for some laugh-out-loud moments.