Sunday, November 10, 2013

Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves

4 Star

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.

Lydia - 4 Star

I know there have been mixed reviews for this one, and I, for one, can say that I really enjoyed it. I think after any best-seller there are bound to be people who don’t like an author’s next book because their expectations are too high, and in Garvis-Graves’s case, the subject matter in Covet couldn’t be more different than On the Island, although she is still exploring something taboo. 

On the Island is hopeful and exciting while Covet portrays a normal marriage which can come across as a bit boring because, let’s face it, unless you’re all 50 Shades, most of them are or become that way over time. I thought Garvis-Graves does an excellent job at portraying the mundane day to day as well as the stressors, such as Claire’s husband’s job loss, that can undermine even the strongest marriage. And don’t even get me started on Claire’s loneliness which she portrays magnificently. Garvis-Graves depicts the scenario of a marriage on auto-pilot and about to go down if no one grabs the wheel and jerks it back to life excellently – even if you don’t agree with who Claire begins to find solace in.

The subject of a woman having an affair is touchy but women are human too, and I hate the double standard that men can have an affair and no one seems to comment, but a woman? Whoa, look out. Not that I condone affairs for either party in a marriage or any relationship. I think they are horrific for all involved, but it happens.  Marriage is tough. There are good years, there are bad years, and then there are those dreadful indifferent years which are probably the toughest and Covet expertly examines one woman’s journey during a bad marital spell. 

My one concern was that there were times I wasn’t sure about the “friendship” between Claire and Daniel. I didn’t really understand it. I wanted them to keep being thrown together instead of it being her choice. I think this would have made it more believable for me, particularly because her husband is actually a very nice man, which we see from his thoughts interspersed in the alternating narrative. If he’d been an arse, I would have understood it more, but because he wasn’t I found myself wanting a bit more of a reason for why she keeps being drawn to Daniel.

I found the narratives of Chris and Daniel interesting. They were short and while they brought perspective from the two men in the scenario, I wasn’t sure about them because of their brevity. I did find it amusing that they were short excerpts because I’m certain men don’t think and analyze as much as women do, so I often giggled at these whether the intent or not. And then I thought about just how much we women do tend to think. 

Overall, Covet is a fantastic read about a marriage falling apart at the seams, and Garvis-Graves does a magnificent job of portraying a modern marriage with all its intricacies. 

Thank you to Penguin  for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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