Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.
Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie - a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance - and even, to some degree, friendships - believing that it is always safer not to expect too much.
Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.
In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.
When Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame lends her acting talents to chick-lit connoisseur Emily Giffin’s latest novel, the result is a pleasurable, intriguing, and emotionally intense listening experience. Teresa Russo, a 34-year-old mother of two, is married to Nick, a successful plastic surgeon. They appear to have the perfect, loving marriage until one fateful night when Nick gets a case that changes everything. His patient is a 6-year-old burn victim, whose mother Valerie is single, vulnerable, beautiful, and intelligent. A friendship quickly blossoms between Nick and Valerie and then slowly turns into something more. And Tessa begins to wonder where her once-perfect relationship went wrong. Told in turns from the perspectives of Tessa and Valerie, the story unfolds as if you’re watching a train derail in slow motion you know what’s coming, but are powerless to stop it, and you can’t look away. Never before has a novel cut so deep to the root of infidelity and the devastating emotional confusion of both the wife and the other woman.
It’s a treat to listen as Nixon delivers an emotionally wrought, pitch-perfect performance, easily transitioning between and identifying with each woman’s side of the story. She conveys emotion subtly a slightly cracked voice here, a quick exhale there clearly the mark of a studied actor. Her character voices from the young Charlie to the sexy and strong Nick to the snooty country club friend Romy are all realistic and believable. And Nixon’s pacing and timing, especially during the dialogue scenes, make the story come alive every scene, feeling, and spoken word are familiar, recognizable, and relatable.
Between Giffin’s talent for describing emotions purely and vividly and Nixon’s undeniable talent for delivering them, it’s hard to believe this is a work of fiction. Colleen Oakley
"Giffin excels at creating complex characters and stories that ask us to explore what we really want from our lives." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"Giffin’s talent lies in making her characters believable and relatable, and readers will be enthralled by this layered, absorbing novel." (Booklist)
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- Gayle Wayne