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She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.
Source: advance e-galley provided by Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review
Infidelity is not a pleasant matter, period. Even to read about it can make my skin crawl. I've definitely had strong opinions about it in the past, being of the mind that once that trust has been broken then there's nothing left to salvage.
What Results May Vary has shown me is that it's not as simple as that. In Caroline's case, there's one moment when everything is perfect bliss and then the very next, it's wrecked. Even though she is blindsided and humiliated by her husband's betrayal, she's not entirely convinced that she should give up on her marriage. She spends her energy combing through their history, desperate for signs or clues that she missed. Her approach is analytical, like a CSI investigator, gathering the broken pieces to put together a new picture of her husband who is now a stranger to her. Caroline experiences everything from anger to disappointment to hurt and every other emotion in between. She surprised me with perspectives to ponder on and I must admit that this book was a learning curve for me.
I've been taken with Bethany Chase since her dazzling debut from last year, The One That Got Away. I just loved that she wrote about a smart, talented and ambitious heroine. I feel that she continues that theme here though she's giving us a heroine with a broken heart who is rebuilding herself from the debris. I liked the pace at which the story developed as it gave me a proper sense of the time that elapsed between the initial fallout and her eventual renaissance. She also has a core group of friends including her sister, who offer her comfort, support and gives her a little push when she needs it. They add substance to Caroline's narrative so it doesn't seem like she's in a vacuum. I also like the way Caroline marks key moments in her life through visuals. For example, the day that she learns of her husband's unfaithfulness, she describes how earlier in the day when the sun was at a certain point in the sky, her life was perfect and the world was the way she knew it. Hours later when the sun was at a different point in the sky, her world had changed. Marking that shift in such a way is so like something I'd do, how I'd think. It was kind of cool to see that put to words so poetically.
I adore Results May Vary and if you're looking to champion someone, Caroline is a brilliant character to root for. I think there's something in her that's in all of us; that resilience that we don't realize we have until we're forced to confront the worst imaginable. And sometimes remaking ourselves anew is the best thing that can happen to us but we'll only appreciate that after we've made it through that heartbreak.