Published: April 1, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.
Honestly, I'm torn about this book. There are things I really liked about it, and things I really did not. When I read a book like that, I'm left with a lingering frustration about the whole thing--not a way you want to finish a story.
On the plus side, McKenzie has a very readable style. It is almost as if someone is sitting there telling you a story rather than you reading it. That isn't to say that her prose is fluffy--but, rather, down to earth. I also found her ability to craft characters to be mostly admirable. While I had reservations about the motivations of some of the characters, I did find them to be believable.
McKenzie also has success with the three-person narrative in this book. Using multiple narrators can be tricky, and it is especially so when one of the narrators is, well, dead. I was a little apprehensive with her use of Jeff as one of the narrators, but she makes it work--as longs as you don't question it too much.
For me, though, here is the problem with this book. I didn't like the subject matter. Adultery--phsyical, emotional, or even just implied--is a hard sell for me and, on this count, McKenzie did not succeed. While I found the three main characters to be mostly believable, I never really believed that any of them had the motivation or reason to contemplate any adulterous act. Unfortunately, just this subject matter was enough to leave me frustrated at the end of this book.
I don't think I would recommend this book to others, but I would not write off Catherine McKenzie. I think, with different subject material, her books could be quite enjoyable.
I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.