Blog Tour: Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson

LieYouWantedtoHear.inddLies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson ( web | facebook )
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 404
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: marriage, betrayal, regrets, parenthood
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks Sourcebooks!)

Summary: A blind date between Matt (a cop) and Lucy (reeling from a horrible breakup) leads to marriage, and a life of contentment. Or so it seems. Bits of dishonesty crack at the surface as the years go on, leading Matt and Lucy to lives they never imagined.

What is it about those bad boys? They are the hardest to get over, aren’t they?

When we meet Lucy she is still in love with passionate and inconsiderate Griffin, who totally deserted her during a pretty crucial time in their relationship. In an effort to get over him and dig herself out of this rut, she finally listens to her best friend and goes on a blind date with a cop named Matt.

Matt is pretty much everything Griffin isn’t. He’s sweet, he’s caring, he wants commitment. Slowly but surely this first date leads to marriage and two children. While life feels safe and Matt is the poster child for a great husband, Lucy is never truly satisfied. It’s like she has one foot out the door all the time, and when Griffin reemerges in her life, an already rocky marriage crumbles into dust.

Okay, I know this doesn’t sound like the happiest story. It really isn’t. It’s full of mistakes and regret and too many important concerns and emotions left unsaid between a husband and a wife.  Thomson’s detailed backstory for both characters (down to their best friends and their parents) is superb and the see-sawing between Matt and Lucy’s perspectives was uncanny. I found myself totally swept up in their stories, in their fight to find happiness for themselves and also for their children, who were bearing the brunt of this off-kilter union.

Both Matt and Lucy made mistakes, and it was so intriguing because sometimes these mistakes felt like the right thing to do. Could their problems have been solved in a more logical way? Of course. But both of them felt so strongly one way or another that their dramatic actions really drove the pace of the story and had me finishing this book in one day. I could not sleep without knowing how it all would end.

Lies You Wanted to Hear spans many years, and morphs into this unexpected psychological thriller in some ways. What would be the repercussions of Matt and Lucy’s actions? Would karma come into play at some point, and would it permanently damage their bond with their children? Were their moves propelled by selfishness, desperation, or an extreme need to protect? Or all of the above? The material is so discussion worthy, and I felt like it was possible to root for either side at various points in the novel, making it that much  more of an enjoyable experience to gobble up.

I love when a book takes me by surprise, and I was even more shocked to see this was Thomson’s debut novel. It was so clear how much he cared for all of his characters, and worked to tell a well-rounded, detail-oriented story showcasing the grays of commitment and just how far we would go for happiness.

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Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing a copy of Lies You Wanted to Hear to one of our readers! Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only! Good luck!

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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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