posted at Sunday, August 4th, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Adult, Sadie Hawkins
I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Published by Dutton Adult on September 17, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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.
First Sentence: “I’m on my way home from dropping off the kids at school when he pulls me over.”
Though I was curious enough about Tracey Garvis Graves to lug Covet back from BEA, I certainly felt a healthy dose of skepticism about whether her writing would really be for me. The blurb of the book only exacerbated my hesitance, because it hints at a torrid affair and melodrama. While on the surface, the blurb is true, it’s also misleading. Covet does deeply examine infidelity, but it’s understated and realistic, and never once angered me, despite infidelity being a huge no no for me.
The first thing that impressed me was Graves’ writing. She really excels at writing people, full and vibrant and realistic. She focuses on Claire’s family, and really captures Claire perfectly. You can feel Claire’s every emotion and sense how much she cares about her family. There are myriad little details that really make the house therein seem like a home and everyone within it a believable person. Covet is very domestic and very family-oriented.
Claire loves her husband deeply, but things have not been the same between them since her husband lost his job a year ago. A golden boy, life always came easy to Chris, and he never expected to be job hunting for months. During that process, money gets tight, Claire becomes their sole earner with her freelance graphic design, and Chris has to go on antidepressants. Though Chris now finally has a new job, circumstances have not improved between them, as this job requires him to be on the road for weeks at a time. Claire and Chris barely speak and the gulf between them doesn’t seem to be shrinking.
At about the same time Chris is beginning his new job, Claire meets Daniel Rush, a cop, when he pulls her over to inform her that her taillight is out. They meet again coincidentally and he helps her get a speed limit sign put in on her street to keep people from speeding. After that, he helps get her some freelance work for the police station. From this foundation, they form a friendship, mostly trying to hide their mutual attraction.
I’ll tell you right now that there is no torrid affair, but everything’s not necessarily innocent either. Graves really explores infidelity, what it means, and why it happens. Claire, lonely, seeks out companionship when its offered, but she doesn’t immediately abandon her senses either. She’s very aware of her situation and careful not to cross the line. Though my opinions on cheating are pretty well set, Graves really made me look at infidelity in a new light and from a different angle. I’m not saying I think it’s okay now or anything, but I understand why Claire behaves the way she does.
There were some elements that I wish had been flushed out better. Julia’s got some close female friends, and I would have liked to see a bit more of them. One has a philandering husband, another a drinking problem, and the third a husband with a gambling addiction. Their interactions are all about their men or children, and it would have been nice to see the women get to show a different side.
Covet‘s told from multiple perspectives, which is decently well done, but not perfect. Daniel and Chris have very short chapters, two pages or less generally, whereas Claire’s are more expansive. I would have liked to see that a bit more even, but I suspect keeping the male POVs terse was a way to make them sound less like Claire. The POVs weren’t especially unique, but I had no problems keeping them apart either.
Tracey Garvis Graves’ portrayal of family life and investigation of a relationship on the rocks in Covet had me eager to read more. Covet‘s a very character-focused read with most of the drama taking place in Claire’s head, rather than in a bed.
“I’d much rather be here in this hotel room in Denver, employed, than be without a job. Actually, I’d rather be employed and at home with my family, but it didn’t work out that way.”
The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. That series was recommended by Steph and Lynn! Obviously, I’m excited about this because it’s supposedly the best and the series. Also, spoiler, I’m reading it now and it’s awesome. So yeah. Check back next week for that and another SHS post as well.
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