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.
I was on my way back home from the Naughty Mafia author event in Las Vegas when I started reading Covet. I really shouldn’t have read it on the plane. I felt like my heart was very slowly being ripped apart and the only person I could talk to was the young college kid next to me who was already annoyed that I kept having to get up.
I hate reading a book and not having anyone that understands my pain! I wanted to cry, throw my Kindle, and scream at the top of my lungs. Those behaviors on a plane would have me arrested, so I put my hoodie on and curled myself up into a ball, bracing for more heartache as I turned each page.
“I’ve worked hard to keep the façade of this marriage, this life, intact, but only to avoid becoming fodder for the neighborhood gossip mill. Frankly, I’m exhausted.”
Claire is a stay at home mom and free-lance graphic designer who lives in an affluent suburban neighborhood. She has kept the family going when her husband Chris was out of work. Chris was out of work for a year and fell into a depression that she or the kids couldn’t pull him out of. He eventually finds another job, but the damage to their marriage has been done and Claire wonders if they’re beyond repair.
“He doesn’t look like any cop I’ve ever seen. He looks like a model pretending to be a police office for a photo shoot. Or maybe one of those cops who shows up to a bachelorette party and then strips down to his underwear.”
Claire meets Daniel, a police officer when he pulls her over. He is, as Claire describes, “ridiculously good looking.” A man in uniform? Yes please. He describes him as having a few flecks of gray in his dark hair and I immediately think Eric Dane aka McSteamy from Grey’s Anatomy. Then I just got mad because men get better with age and it’s so not fair. But that’s another subject.
Claire runs into Daniel again and is asked to design a new logo for the police department. Daniel becomes her contact person. It all starts with a few calls and text messages about the design. Claire finds herself becoming excited about the possibility of talking to or seeing Daniel again.
“You stumble upon something that helps you cope, fills a void. Makes you feel something different than what you currently feel. You know in the long run it probably won’t be good for you, but you do it anyway. Tell yourself you can handle it. And before you know it, you’re in so deep that you can’t find your way out.”
Their friendship evolves from having a business lunch, to motorcycle rides, to late night phone calls. She used to feel hurt when Chris would leave for his business trips, or fall asleep working instead of spending time with her. Now, she finds herself not caring about Chris’ absence and you know she’s skating on thin ice.
“We’re the Cantons. Sun-kissed, all-American, picture perfect. By all appearances, we’re the ideal suburban family. As long as you don’t look too closely.”
This is not your typical love triangle story. You hurt for each character and you want all of them to be happy. But it isn't possible, because someone's heart is going to break.
Tracey Garvis-Graves does it again. She writes a real book with real characters and real problems. At a blogger’s brunch, a publisher asked what kind of books us readers were looking for. Someone responded, more books with older characters. The new adult genre has taken over, and while I love me some new adult stories, I am so happy that this is a story about characters who are in their mid to late thirties and have a few years of marriage under their belt.
Like On the Island, Tracey Garvis-Graves switches points-of-view between chapters. The majority of the chapters are in Claire’s POV, but you get chapters in Chris and Daniel’s POV as well. I think it was so well done. I’m a self-proclaimed POV whore. I would sell my left leg to find out what all the characters are thinking, and in this book, I get it.
Love is not easy. Marriage is even harder. Nothing in this world is in black and white. You know you should hate Claire for what she’s doing. You know you should smack Chris upside the head for ignoring his wife. You know you should yell at Daniel to find himself his own woman. But you don’t. You get insight to why they do the things they do and you can’t help but sympathize with all of them. You feel every ounce of the pain that they are all feeling and you don't know who is right and who is wrong.
The tension in this book is built up slowly…but I don’t mean that the book is slow. You will keep turning the pages because you need to find out what is going to happen next, even though you can feel a knife going into your heart.
This is another 5-star book from Ms. Garvis-Graves. Well-freaking-done. I will be reeling from this read for at least a few days.
Source: ARC provided by publisher for honest review.
Release date: September 17, 2013
About the Author:
Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d love to hear from you.