I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book since the moment I heard it exists. Naturally, after reading On the Island, every word written by Tracey Garvis-Graves (let’s call her TGG, shall we?) is a word that must be read. So here I am, trolling new titles available by NetGalley, and Covet is there with a nice, green “Request It” next to it. I can’t even remember clicking it happened so fast.
If I’m honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I know two more people who received an ARC from TGG at the ALA last month and read it (and yes, failed), but I didn’t read their review and only knew it’s a 5 stars review. Duh! And the blurb of most books doesn’t really reflect what’s happening in the story. Or if it does, the impact is normally SO. MUCH. DIFFERENT!
And it was.
Blurb (taken from Goodreads)
What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?
Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.
Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.
Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross.
I never thought I’d feel so deeply about a book dealing with marital issues. I’m not married yet and haven’t had the chance (and hopefully I won’t) to deal with married life crises, whatever level they come at you. Every emotion, every twist in the plot, every crack in the characters’ life affected me. I felt like I was going through every single one, right along with them.
Claire and Chris Canton have been married for 12 years. They live a charmed life in a Kansas City suburb, nice neighborhood, 2 beautiful children, both have jobs they love and are financially sound. And then Chris loses his job. The surprising thing is that at this point, he seems optimistic about the future and his chances to find another job, even if they are right in the heart of the financial crisis; the year is 2009.
Claire meets a new, handsome cop, at traffic stop. Daniel Rush is immediately taken with Claire, and goes out of his way to help her with a neighborhood issue, and pretty much hands her a graphics job for the police department. Their friendship slowly grows and they get close. And things get dangerous. At this point I’m all flustered – I want something to happen with Daniel and I don’t want Claire to cheat. And I’m… WHAT. IS. GOING. ON.????? <— of course, no one is helping me figure it out, so I keep reading. LOL
The months that follow seem to be taking their toll on the couple. Chris is more and more withdrawn and is shutting Claire out. He won’t share his problems, he won’t share his thoughts and he won’t share his frustrations. And worse, he lashes out at her when she tries to reach him. And then Claire puts her foot down and demands he talks to someone, see a doctor, because his clearly developing depression is affecting her. And the kids.
But Chris loves her still, and he fights for her without even knowing the extent in which she’s slipping away (please note the quote is taken from an advanced copy and is subjected to changes):
“I came home early because I missed you, and I couldn’t stop thinking about you. The other night, when we talked on the phone – after we hung up I laid in that hotel room bed all alone and I couldn’t remember what you smelled like. How you taste. I couldn’t remember, Claire.”
Although Claire is the main narrator of the story and her POVs worked my heart into so many twists I thought it’d shrivel up and end up a prune, there are also alternating POVs of Chris and Daniel. And believe me when I tell you: each of them will make you want to make their life better, the best you can make it. All three are so unique, so touching and so vulnerable… the FEELS. I wanted to hug them. Constantly.
If I had to pick one word to describe what the book is about I’d say “Loneliness.” All three characters are lonely. Chris with his dealings with the financial problems and finding a job. Claire with her need to be there for Chris and being constantly shot down. She loses her best friend, her partner, her intimacy, she practically falls out of love. Daniel’s loneliness stems from a horrible tragedy I won’t discuss here, because, you know – you ARE going to read the book. I think the other minor characters in the book, the neighbors and friends of the Cantons have their own version of lonely. And it’s all so real and profound and touching.
I adored the way the three main characters were depicted. They were to blame and not to blame with their problems, with the loneliness. And the way all the minor stories were entwined with the main plot beautifully complimented it and made everything so much more real.
Claire’s parts in the story are littered with flashback to how things were during the time Chris was out of job (more than a year) and the time they met, and TGG draws from those flashbacks to center the current events in Claire’s life. It helps tie the various parts of the storyline and the different conflicts beautifully. It all comes together and concludes their story, their stories, actually, in a real, heartfelt way.
Maybe love is like a pendulum. It swings back and forth, slowly, steadily, and sometimes you don’t know where it will come to rest.
TGG made me flail, more than once *coughs* ok, more than I could count *cough* and made me cry and feel so many things reading this book. And again, if I were married, I’d have probably felt it all amplified exponentially.
Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Group – Dutton Adult for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Add this to your goodreads list (top shelf, please). The links to buy it are below. I think there aren’t many ways I can say MUST READ, so I’ll let this review do the talking for me. Don’t be afraid, just read it. It gets all my stars.
Go. Preorder. And. Read!