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Estelle: Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Covet by Tracey Garvis-GravesCovet by Tracey Garvis-Graves ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 320
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: recession, marriage, female/male friendships, love
Format read: ARC Paperback from Alexa at Alexa Loves Books! (Thanks!)

Summary: Unemployment and then long business trips start to take a toll on Chris and Claire’s marriage. Can things improve? Before they have a chance to work through things, Claire starts up a friendship with local cop, David. Will Claire give into the temptation she feels when she is around him? Covet is a look at marriage, commitment, and what could have been.

I went into Covet thinking I would be reading about infidelity and how a marriage does or does not heal afterward. And you know what? I was entirely wrong, and I’m so glad for that. Garvis-Graves, instead, gives us a story that made me so much more interested in why Chris and Claire’s marriage was on the rocks and why hearts have a mind of their own.

Even though the effects of the recession are all around us, I haven’t seen a lot of that infused in the books I’m reading. Garvis-Graves paints a real picture. A husband and father who is so used to taking care of his family, and what happens when he suddenly cannot. At first, he’s optimistic for new opportunities but when their savings account starts to show signs of wear, and Claire has to let go of their housekeeper, Chris starts to fall into his own black hole. It’s a funny thing. We like to think we are so past the times when husbands went to work and moms stayed home to cook and clean and take care of the kids. But that seed is still very much there for Chris and Claire. No matter how much support Claire shows Chris, his determination to support his family financially and and the failure he feels is the downfall of this family.

As I was reading, I was begging these two characters to just TALK to each other. But ya know, easier said than done.

With Chris traveling all the time for his new job (hoping to earn his keep), Claire is left home with the kids, her drama-filled neighbors, and obtaining more freelance graphic arts gigs. When she befriends local cop, David, she is instantly attracted to him and soon his attention is all she can think about it. She craves it, and who blames her really? Chris is totally wrapped up in his job, only takes a break to ask about the kids, and she is lonely. She is unbelievably lonely.

So Claire and David go to dinner and they talk a lot and they go on motorcycle rides. Their relationship borders on non-innocent and has the opportunity to cross the line, but does it?

I’m not telling you.

But whether they get it on or not is not really the point, and I applaud Garvis-Graves for bring this subject to light. We cannot control our hearts but we can control our actions. And if those actions are controlled, can we be punished for how we feel? I don’t know. Claire is an endearing character who loves Chris and her family. She tries everything to get him to open up to her but when he shuts her down the last time, she gives up. Time passes and they continue to grow apart. And with David, she feels a flicker of something that has been missing in her life.

Honestly, I had no idea how this story was going to end, but I was satisfied with it. This is my first Garvis-Graves book, and while it started a little slow and sometimes over-explained certain situations, she did a commendable job of creating characters dealing with huge changes within their home lives, neighborhood, and society. It’s a discussion worthy novel, and I’m interested to read On the Island and see how the two compare.

Food for thought: Marriage succeeds when you can communicate with your partner, and when you are willing to put in the work and the time each day. Is Chris’ ignorance due to his new job better or worse than Claire’s emotionally distracting friendship with David? Are they both at fault? Is one worse than the other?

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November 14, 2013 - 9:11 pm

Ellice - I LOVED On the Island, so I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. (I highly recommend On the Island. I think you’ll enjoy it. Also, if you read it, let me know so we can talk about it!! I still need to discuss this one with someone!). Glad to see that you enjoyed this one. I wasn’t sure if I would like this one or not, but then again, I really didn’t think I’d like On the Island, because survivor stories are usually not my cup of tea. I love it when a book is a pleasant surprise 🙂

November 14, 2013 - 4:56 pm

Alexa Y. - I’m glad that this story was written realistically, and that you liked it well enough. There is something intriguing about it. I like that it tackles issues that feel very real.

November 14, 2013 - 12:16 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I had such mixed feelings about this book. Mostly I sympathized with Chris, I felt like he was really trying to do what was best for his family, even if he was misguided. I get why Claire was frustrated and I don’t think hers was an easy position to be in, but she just got under my skin and seemed like such a spoiled brat. Plus after the first 50 mentions I was so tired of hearing about her damn diabetes.

But, I do think Tracy Garvis-Graves is as talented writer who’s great at writing complex, interesting, and, at times, difficult situations. I really, really liked On the Island and I think the fact that I thought that book was so amazing made this one less enjoyable.

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