by Tracey Garvis-Graves
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From the author of the New York Times bestseller On the Island. 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.
Despite trepidation over the subject matter, last year I read and enjoyed Tracey Garvis-Graves’ novel On the Island. I enjoyed it so much that I bought several copies for friends and family as holiday gifts. Imagine my delight when they enjoyed it as much as I did. As a result Covet was one of my most anticipated releases in 2013. I approached it with both excitement and nervousness, as once again Graves touches on a taboo subject. It focuses on relationships and dealing with stressful situations that test the sanctity of marriage. While boundaries are pushed it is important to note that no actual physical cheating occurred. Graves has become a must read author, whose talent at capturing human emotion is breathtaking.
Three Four word review: honest, captivating, heartbreaking and beautiful.
Clair and Chris Canton’s marriage has been suffering since Chris lost his job. There are no shouting matches, but tension is high as Chris suffers depression and closes himself off from Clair and the children. Chris eventually lands a job, but the position requires traveling. Despite Clair’s concerns about their fragile marriage, Chris takes on the job with vigor. From the outside their world looks picture perfect; with two kids, and a beautiful upscale suburban home. Clair is lonely. Chris is losing sleep in order to keep up in the dog-eat-dog competitive world of sales. Daniel Rush is a police officer who used to have it all but now comes home every night to an empty home. A routine traffic stop, and a graphics job opportunity, helps to create a friendship between Clair and Daniel. The story that unfolds is beautiful, heartbreaking and truly captures the human emotion.
The tale is broken up into three POV’s and it was brilliantly done. The first belongs to Clair, and you cannot help but admire this woman and her patience. She struggles with loneliness and mourns the loss of intimacy that she and Chris once shared. Chris grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet. He prides himself in taking care of his family. An A type personality, whose whole identity revolves around being number one in his career and taking care of the people who matter most. The loss of his job is a blow to that identify. While he appears completely without emotion to Clair, his POV shows the turmoil and emotional struggle this noble man faces. Daniel, is drop dead gorgeous, and a real sweetheart who has his own deep battle wounds. All of the characters were fleshed out, and I identity with each of them. We meet other couples in the neighborhood and Graves gives them voice showing their struggles reminding us the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere.
I was worried as I began Covet because I loathe cheaters. I have always believed that you fix it or walk away and that using relationship trouble to cheat is a cop-out. The synopsis is pretty clear that a line is never crossed regarding infidelity despite the emotional involvement. Graves made me see another side, and while lines weren’t crossed I understood why things were unfolding, and how these relationships developed. The pace moved slowly but I appreciated how fleshed out the characters were. I laughed, I cried, and I screamed in frustration. I wanted Chris to wake-up and express his emotions, or for Clair to get seriously pissed off. Daniel worried me the most, this sweet, sweet man never crosses the line, but you know he is falling for Clair. Graves slowly revealed Daniel’s past and gads..tissues please! What I found to be remarkable was that even though each character had reason to piss me off, Graves made me connect and understand. I felt compassion for each and every one of them. It was brilliant. Despite everything that was happening the tale is surprisingly low on angst and by the end Graves had me smiling and full of hope.
Fans of chick-lit, human relationships, and fleshed out, flawed but lovable characters need to add Covet to their reading lists. Ms. Graves if you read this I would like Daniel’s story. Please pick it up from where this one ended. That is All.
Four and half cups of coffee out of five