Lise Cabot has it all. A successful realtor in Aspen, Lise is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of two great kids, Michael and Candace. To her two closest friends, Kitty and Cheryl, Lise’s life appears ideal, until her husband Scott is passed over for the partnership in the architectural firm where he works. At the party to welcome her husband’s new boss, a woman she’s determined to despise, Lise meets Juliana Rhodes. The attraction is immediate and unsettling for Lise, sending her perfectly balanced life into a tailspin –Amazon.com
I’m impressed and surprised. I didn’t realize until after reading the book that this is Jennifer Lyndon’s first and only novel. The story she has written is enthralling yet simplistic. There are dynamic characters. The plot is believable and relatable. There were no points where I felt the urge to skip ahead. Nothing is convenient or contrived. Lyndon does her due diligence in fleshing out the premise she has established with good dialogue, an interesting supporting cast, and a lovable, imperfect protagonist, Lise Cabot.
The story is told from Lise’s point of view, but Lyndon manages to keep her perspective from seeming limited. She uses flashbacks and conversations to make the reader feel like they understand the other characters as well. Juliana makes some rash decisions and behaves erratically, but at no time did I feel like I didn’t understand why. Lyndon outlines how Jules was raised and gives insight into her mindset through her parents and “family staff”. She pulls it off without it feeling forced. There are other characters that could have been explored more like Lise’s husband or her son Michael. But at the same time it was unnecessary for the development of the plot. This book almost feels like a glimpse into the lives of the characters. I like that the author didn’t try to tie up every loose end in an overly nice and neat way because that is not life. Lyndon has made the reader want to know more about every character. I think that is the hallmark of a well-constructed drama.
The attraction between Lise and Juliana is intense and leaps off of the page. You feel for them and their predicament; they are both with other people, but have fallen for one another. The story doesn’t glorify infidelity. Lyndon addresses effect on the family unit. The characters even talk about the poor decisions they’ve made along the way. They do crazy things, take unnecessary risks, and act in their own self-interest at times. They could have done a lot of things differently and with more care, but like real people, the screw up a bit. From a “Lesbian Romance” standpoint, this premise is hardly original. After having read it though, I don’t think I’ve ever read quite so intimate a portrait of a woman discovering who she is and dealing with the outcome of how her life inevitably has to change due to that discovery.
There are editing flaws, typos mostly. They are not a real barrier though. I alleviated my O.C.D. by making corrections in my Kindle app. Lyndon could easily pull another story out of this exposition because it is just that good, but I like where she left it. She uses an epilogue set nearly two years after the last page, and though it’s little more than a peek at how things sort of turned out, I think it was a good way to wean me off without that familiar lost feeling after a binge read. All in all, it could have been better, but it was great and worth the time.