Tuesday 25 August 2015

Book ~ "The Stuff That Never Happened" (2010) Maddie Dawson

From Goodreads ~ What if you were married to a wonderful husband for twenty-eight years but in love with another man? What if you were in love with them both?

Annabelle McKay knows she shouldn’t have any complaints. She’s been in a stable marriage that’s lasted almost three decades and has provided her with two wonderful children, thousands of family dinners around a sturdy oak table and a husband so devoted that he schedules lovemaking into his calendar every Wednesday morning. Other wives envy the fact that Grant is not the type of man who would ever cheat on her or leave her for a younger woman. The trouble is Annabelle isn’t sure she wants to be married to Grant anymore. The trouble is she’s still in love with someone else.

In the early tumultuous years of her marriage, Annabelle carried on a clandestine affair with the one person whose betrayal would hurt her husband the most. When it ended, she and Grant found their way back together and made a pact that they would never speak of that time again. But now years later, with her children grown and gone and an ominous distance opening between them, she can’t help but remember those glorious, passionate days and wonder if she chose the right man.

Then, when called to New York City to help care for her pregnant daughter, Annabelle bumps into her old lover. Offered a second chance at an unforgettable love, she must decide between the man who possesses her heart and the husband who has stood squarely by her side. 

It's 2005 and Annabelle and Grant have been married for almost 30 years.  Their oldest, Sophie, is married, pregnant and living in New York.  Their youngest, Nick, is away at university.  Annabelle is feeling a bit lost because she doesn't have her children to take care of and Grant is preoccupied with writing a book on a subject she has no interest in.

When Sophie is bedridden 'til the end of her pregnancy and her husband is away working, Annabelle jumps at the chance for a change of scenery to go back to New York where she'd lived when she and Grant first got married and take care of Sophie.

Annabelle tells us how she and Grant met and married in California in the late 1970s and moved to New York.  Needing a place to stay, they lived with his colleague, Jeremiah and his family for a couple years.  Being young and feeling neglected by her new husband, she spends too much time with Jeremiah and they begin an affair.  When the affair ends, she and Grant are able to pick up the pieces of their marriage and move on.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I thought it was interesting.  I liked the writing style.  It was written in first person perspective in Annabelle's voice ... it was if she was sitting with me and telling me her story.  It jumps back and forth from the present (ie 2005) to the past but it's obvious because the dates are at the beginning of the chapters.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

I must say that I didn't really care for the characters.  It's been almost thirty years and though she has had no contact with him, Annabelle is still hung up on Jeremiah.  I was hoping it was more a feeling of "what could have been" but it wasn't ... she felt that she still loved him.  I found this unbelievable.  All Grant cared about was writing book.  How do you spent 30 years with someone and be that inconsiderate?  I didn't find Jeremiah charming or attractive ... he sounded like a user.  I know that Sophie was going through a hard time but I got tired of it always being about her.  Her mother had dropped her life to be with her and all she did was whine.  The only character I liked was Nick.  He was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life and his parents weren't really open to listening.

Despite not liking the characters, I look forward to reading others by this author.

No comments: