Beth Thomas has the perfect life. At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and teaches part time at the local university. But when a friend persuades Beth to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with twenty one year old Dave, one of her former students, changes the course of her life. Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen. As she tries to put the memory behind her, Dave’s pursuit leaves Beth torn between her loyalty to one man and her lust for another.
Lydia - 4.5 Star
Is This All There Is tackles a sensitive subject with tact, grace, and impeccable emotion. Beth’s thought-provoking journey will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions regardless of whether you can relate to, or disapprove of her actions.
I don’t have children myself, but I know many who do and I can see that Beth is like every mom. She’s doing the best she can for her family, she doesn’t take time for herself, and things have grown a little stale with her kind, wonderful husband. So when she bumps into a former student, a decade her junior, and things turn flirty, Beth suddenly doesn’t quite seem like the average soccer mom anymore. She confused, conflicted, and trying to do the right thing. But the right thing isn’t always the most pleasant and we somehow always gravitate to pleasure rather than pain and the hard road. And Beth is no exception.
Beth’s journey to find herself and ‘is this all there is’ is a real, raw and gritty journey of self-discovery. She’s lost herself as a wife and mother, sacrificed herself for her family, and suddenly wants to find herself again, and not in the most socially acceptable of ways. She doesn’t take a class or start taking time for herself by going out with friends. She starts flirting with a much younger man which comes with heavy consequences.
Is This All There Is seemed so real to me. The emotion was palpable and even though I didn’t agree with Beth’s choices, I followed along realizing how easy it is to grow apart from your spouse, how easy it can be to fall into infidelity, and how easy it is to turn things around, easier even than turning to someone else – if you take the initiative. But this might not be nearly as fun as the new spark that draws us like a moth to a flame for that new relationship spark, which is where Beth turns.
I worried about Beth throughout this novel and rooted for her to figure out how wonderful her life is at home. There are many lessons in this novel and Mann takes us on an exploratory journey whether the grass is in fact greener on the other side.
Thank you to Patricia Mann for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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