Hi there, readers and read-ettes!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today's featured title is celebrating its book birthday today and let me tell you, it's a doozy! No, really. I JUST finished this read less than 24 hours ago (okay, try 3 hours before midnight) and though I was going to wait on posting the review until after the new year, there was no way I could wait. Nope. So, are you ready to meet the birthday....book? Grab your party hats and horns, it's time to cut the cake for today's book of choice...
About the book...
Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.
To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.
This book really took me by surprise.
At first read, I was thinking....wow, this is SO obvious! How am I ever going to reach book's end with the storyline laid out in front of me only THIS far into the book? Ah, but you see...the proof was in the continued reading.
I stick to a statement I made initially on my GoodReads update about the book; it reads like the movie Single White Female. HOWEVER, though that is a truth, it is not THE truth. It has a shadowing of the film to a degree for certain, but with a few added twists. There are seeds planted along the way to make you doubt your certainty of what is actually transpiring. Is Ted having an affair? Did Beth really steal the scarf? Were the plans for the fundraising event really cancelled by Grace though she's no recollection of doing so? Is Grace becoming her mother in the most horrific way she can imagine....losing her mind? All of these questions and more float to the surface as you continue to read, lending mystery to a story that otherwise seemed forthright. My response to these questions? First of all, I hold strong to my initial convictions about Grace and her character. Second, BRAVA to the author!
This is my first read of Ms. Green's work and while she's an accomplished author, to a newbie the first taste is something you really remember. This one satiated my reading palette, in more ways than one (there are recipes for all sorts of delicious bits included!), leaving behind the essence of goodness one expects when embarking on a new adventure through the pages. I bonded with her characters; some for better, some for worse. Grace, the Proppers as a whole, Sybil, even Clemmie...I adored! I was enraged however by Ted. The abuse he would dish out, the stupidity of his choices, his inability to listen to reason....ugh! How Grace ever put up with that man, I've no idea....familiarity or not. I won't even get started on Beth because really, is she the bad guy or not? I'm not telling. ~whistles~
In conclusion, there are many things to love and several things to learn from this read. There are big topics covered such as spousal abuse, many psychological diagnosis', as well as the overuse/prescribing of prescription medicine, and there are those of the everyday variety such as self image, safety, and love. I will say this of the ending though, it came as a welcome surprise. I was SO WORRIED for a while there but it made the world of difference for me to see it close the way it did. Recommended read for Fiction and Women's Fiction fans of the adult variety; simply due to topics covered...there's only a little steam.
About the author....
Jane Green...a former feature writer for the Daily Express in the UK, Green took a leap of faith when she left, in 1996, to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, there was a bidding war for her first book, Straight Talking, the saga of a single career girl looking for the right man. The novel was a hit in England, and Green was an overnight success. Most weekends see her cooking for a minimum of twenty people in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, filling her house with friends and looking after their animals, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks.
Special thanks to Meg at Tandem Literary and the folks at St. Martin's Press for the ARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, publicity team, or any other wanderings your mind might be curious about in relation to this post, feel free to click through the links provided above. Once again, this book is IN STORES NOW as we speak, so be on the lookout for it or order a copy from your online retailer of choice.
Until next time...happy reading!