My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After loving Bethany Chase's first novel, I was so excited when I heard about this book!
Here is a synopsis of the book to help set the stage for my review:
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.I thought this was such a great premise and I was eager to dig into this world. [AND have you SEEN the cover ... LOVE IT! Just so eye-catching!] I found this one very engaging from the first page. The pacing of the entire novel was spot on for me - not too slow but not too fast. I loved following Caroline on this journey of self exploration, as she ultimately decided what she really wanted for her life. The side characters, particularly her sister and best friend, were the perfect foil for Caroline's character! Some of my favorite scenes in the novel took place when those characters were front and center.
Although the content was emotionally heavy, I didn't feel like it was an emotionally heavy novel. I felt like the characters dealt with the things that came their way pretty well, without too much craziness. I was worried that the emotional heart of the book would become a bit hysterical, given the subject matter, but I didn't find that to be the case myself.
I absolutely loved the 'side' aspects of the novel including the location (the Berkshires) and the focus on the art world. I learned quite a bit about both of those things and found they made the book more rich and nuanced. These aspects were woven so effectively into the story that I almost didn't notice their impact until I finished! So well done!
All in all, I highly recommend his book (as well as Bethany's first novel - The One That Got Away). They are both fantastic reads with great characters, lively settings and strong storytelling! Can't wait to see what she has for us next!
As part of the Blog Tour for this novel, I wanted to share a short essay that Bethany wrote about the importance of art that I think you'll enjoy given the role of art in this particular novel!
The novel is on sale now where books are sold ... I highly recommend you pick this one up!The art world setting of Results May Vary, like the architectural backdrop of my first book, The One That Got Away, came from my own personal background. My love for art has its earliest origins in my upbringing in a family of artists—my mother, father, aunt, great uncle and great-great-aunt were not only talented artists, but were celebrated within our family for being so. Visual creativity, and the appreciation of it, are in my DNA.That being said, though, it took a long time for me to realize how much art really meant to me. I was a writer, and then an English major, with a soft spot for pretty old houses. And then, my junior year of college, I went to Europe for the first time. I spent the year studying among the golden spires of Oxford, and traveled from there to London and Paris and Rome and Florence, where I prowled some of the finest art museums in the world, and I fell in love. Standing in the Indian and Islamic galleries in London’s Victoria & Albert museum, staring dumbstruck at the richness of pattern and color on display everywhere I looked, I felt something catch fire inside me that hasn’t gone out since. I came back from my year abroad and, since I’d managed to finish nearly all the requirements from my English major in my three first years of school, I took seven art history classes in my senior year. Indian & Islamic art; East Asian art; Egyptian art; a two-part introductory survey of Western art; medieval European art; 18th & 19th century European art. I devoured everything I could get my hands on; and then, belatedly, considered how I might go about trying to get a job in this field I loved so much.It wasn’t until several years later that, while still trying to channel my obsession with art and color and pattern into a viable career, I discovered through interior design classes that I did have some artistic talent of my own, after all. But, very much like Caroline, I know that talent is modest; and the need to create art for its own sake has never pushed at me. I am quite happy to study it and marvel over it and interpret it and feel it, the way it was meant to be felt. And now, as an author, it gives me deep delight to tap into that passion and meld it to a story I can share with readers. It is something that I hope my books will always do.The art world setting of Results May Vary, like the architectural backdrop of my first book, The One That Got Away, came from my own personal background. My love for art has its earliest origins in my upbringing in a family of artists—my mother, father, aunt, great uncle and great-great-aunt were not only talented artists, but were celebrated within our family for being so. Visual creativity, and the appreciation of it, are in my DNA.
NOTE: I received the ARC of this novel from the publisher for an honest review.