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4.3 out of 5 stars31
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 8 June 2014
I wanted an easy read to start the weekend off and once I started reading this novel I couldn't put it down and ended up finishing it. The plot is of a woman called Martha, who seems to have it all; the career, a loving husband and two beautiful children. However the plot thickens and she founds out something which rocks her world into turmoil and you take the journey with her and her feelings.
Its very thought provoking as you are made aware of all parties feelings and their own turmoil's in dealing with the decisions they have made. There were a few times that the words on the page went blurry and I had to reach for the tissues. Its definitely well worth a read and I will look forward to reading the next one written by Helen Warner.
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on 30 June 2014
I rushed to buy the electronic version of this book because I became a big fan of Helen Warner (HW) after reading her other novel, RSVP. Also, after reading another book that annoyed me because a cheating husband "got away easily" (Jennifer Smith's The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight), I was interested to see how HW will handle the character of a cheating husband.

Like in RSVP, HW's strength is how she writes her characters - she doesn't make them one-dimensional but instead humanizes them by showing both their good and bad sides. I was pleasantly surprised as to how, in the beginning, I was ready to hate Jamie, the cheating husband. However, as the novel unfolds, I found myself sympathising with him and agreeing with the assessment of one of the other characters : he was just a "good guy" who made a terrible mistake, was truly sorry for it and was trying hard to make amends for it.

Martha, the wronged wife, began as someone I could totally sympathise with, but as the story progressed, I started becoming annoyed by her "I'm-the-martyr" attitude. The speed she becomes instantly attracted to and become emotionally dependent with the actor, Charlie, seemed a bit fast. While Jamie was trying to redeem himself, she spent most of the book whining and yearning for Charlie, but showing off that she was such a good wife/mother for sticking with Jamie for the sake of the children and not sleeping with Charlie (at least in the beginning). This pissed me off. Granted she was justified to be really angry with Jamie, the fact remains that she herself was having an emotional affair with Charlie. For someone angry for the betrayal and dishonesty of her husband, she herself was being dishonest by staying with her husband when she would rather be with someone else. My point is, why then didn't she just make a clean break when it seemed unlikely she would ever get over Jamie's betrayal? (I mean it showed, despite Jamie's efforts, she didn't seem to respond to them at all, and truly make the effort to reconcile.) Why use the children as an excuse and prolong the inevitable?

Apologies for the SPOILER, but I have to say it to express my review honestly...

I suppose in the end, this is why I didn't like the book so much. To me, I didn't feel that Martha really had an "agonizing" decision to whom she would end up being with. Martha choosing between Charlie and Jamie was like trying to pick the winner in a race between a well maintained Ferrari versus a beat-up VW Beetle. Charlie was just too perfect - successful handsome actor who was supposedly always faithful to his spouse who dumped him for another actor and who remained friendly to his ex-wife despite what she did and was also a great Dad. Wow! On the other end is Jamie who is a Mr. Mom, a great Dad but has no career, completely dependent on his wife financially and had an affair with a tramp. Seriously, the contrast between these two men was so staggering that it made me wonder - what if Jamie didn't have an affair? Isn't it highly probable (given how quickly she became attracted to Charlie) that it could have been her who could have been unfaithful to Jamie and would have dumped Jamie for Charlie? On the other hand, it also made me wonder, what if Charlie wasn't so perfect? What if he wasn't a successful actor? What if he was just an "average Joe"? What if he was also like a Jamie who made a similar mistake? Who would Martha choose or would she actually choose someone?

I suppose what I'm getting at is that for a book advertised as a woman trying to make a decision between two men, I would have preferred a "fairer race", not where the other guy seemed to have ALL the "goods".

The big twist in the end - I know a lot of readers thought the ending of the book was great because of the great big sacrifice Jamie did. In fairness, I did like it in the sense that it drove home the point that overall, Jamie is a really nice guy who just made a terrible mistake. On the other hand, I disliked it more because it was again another dishonest act. I just didn't see the point of him doing it, because the only thing it did was to make himself look worse in front of his wife and daughter and verify their fears that he would just cheat again (even though he didn't). Wouldn't a heartfelt conversation/clean break-up with his wife suffice? Seriously, if I was the daughter and I learned what he did, I would have been more pissed. I would have appreciated more the truth that my parents broke up because my Dad really did something stupid and despite his efforts of trying to make up for it, my Mom couldn't forgive him for it and found love with someone else.

Will I recommend this book? Honestly, I would rather point readers to HW's other books, RSVP and IOU. As a married mother of two young children, I am getting fed up reading one chick-lit (or even young adult) book after another that always seem to have characters with cheating spouses and marriages breaking down because of them. Seriously, after reading a lot of these books, I'm beginning to wonder why bother getting married at all?!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 February 2014
This would make a really good beach read. It is an easy to read drama about successful celebrity interviewer Martha who finds out that her gorgeous husband Jamie, who has always been her rock as he is the one who has stayed at home to look after their two children, has betrayed her in the worst possible way. Reeling from the pain she accepts an assignment to interview Hollywood heartthrob Charlie Simmons. The story switches between the UK and Hollywood and you really feel for Martha in her situation. I found it very easy to empathise with her, almost as if I was sitting in the same room listening to her pouring her heart out to me. Things get complicated when it becomes apparent that Martha and Charlie have a strong attraction – will she throw caution to the wind and follow her heart or will she try and repair her broken marriage?

On the whole I really enjoyed the read with just a couple of reservations. I did get a bit fed up listening to Jamie, who spent the most part of the read begging for forgiveness and promising to make things up to Martha. It got a little repetitive unfortunately. My other main gripe is the “saga of the dress” at the start of the book. Whilst it made quite funny reading, I really doubt whether any woman would have gone out without noticing the problem with her dress!

That having been said it is an enjoyable read, which flows nicely with a good set of characters. It kept my interest well as I just wanted to know what would happen in the end. I really enjoyed the way the author rounded it all off, with a few little surprises tucked up her sleeve.
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Martha has a pretty good life, and she's happy with her lot. She loves her job as a newspaper journalist, writing things about celebrities, often interviewing them as well and she's good at it. She's happily married to husband Jamie, and the pair have two young children. Jamie's a stay-at-home dad, and the set up works well for the pair. But when Martha finds out a devastating secret, her world is rocked to the very core. She decides to see through her interview with actor Charlie Simmons, and ends up confessing all. She decides she needs to escape her life for a bit, and ends up in LA with Charlie, running away from her problems rather than dealing with them...

This book was an easy read from the beginning, and I didn't struggle at all to get into the story. I found myself absorbed into Martha and Jamie's home life, seemingly a perfect marriage. The pair are happy in their roles, their children are settled and things are looking good. But when Martha uncovers a secret, everything is thrown into disarray. The secret is uncovered fairly quickly in the book, and I'm pleased that the pace was kept up. There was enough story before it to give us an idea of their family life before the secret throws it all apart, so we can really see the difference of how it shatters not only Jamie and Martha's marriage, but their general life too.

I really did feel so sorry for Martha. She did absolutely nothing wrong, she was entirely faultless in what happened and is clearly a broken woman when she finds out what has been happening. I admired how she was able to put on a brave face for her children, but could totally understand her shocking reactions when they aren't about. Jamie on the hand, well, he has an excuse for everything but I wasn't buying it. There were times later in the book when I did feel a little bit more sorry for him, but my main emotions laid with Martha and her children, she was going through so much and was confused by everything. Warner writes her emotions so well, you are almost feeling them along with Martha, and I certainly had a few choice words for Jamie!

The part of the story when Martha confides in famous actor Charlie and beyond, well that was a fantastic part of the story that fitted in so well. It really allowed us to see a nice side to Martha, one who could try and forget her troubles for a while, and her lifestyle in LA with Charlie was like a dream come true. I loved the addition of Charlie and his back story too. Once an actor famous on TV in the UK, his career took him to Hollywood with his wife and young son until their marriage fell apart, much like Martha and Jamie's. Therefore he related to Martha, and the pair's relationship quickly becomes very intense. I enjoyed this storyline a lot, I didn't know where it was going, and thought it was very well handled. Charlie seemed like the perfect gent next to Jamie, you can see why Martha liked him so much.

Overall, this was a brilliant read and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Helen Warner's writing was really easy to read, and she brings the story to life on the pages so well, I could almost feel Martha's emotions along with her, sadness, sorrow, anger and love despite everything too. I want to also say that I felt Martha and Jamie's children were well written too, some authors don't know how to write realistic children in their books, but this wasn't a problem here and there were several touching scenes with them that really made the book for me. Travelling from the UK over to the bright lights of LA, this book has a bit of everything for you to enjoy - it's a fantastic, well written read that I can definitely recommend, I'll look forward to more of Helen Warner's novels!
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on 24 May 2014
A must read, couldn't put it down. Never read a book by this author before but would certainly recommend this book. Excellent from start to finish !!!!
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on 2 June 2014
Really good plot and an excellent writing style. In the great tradition of all page-turners, I couldn't put it down.
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on 19 February 2014
This is yet another addictive page turner from Helen Warner. She has the ability to draw you into her characters' world and make you believe you are sat watching them over their shoulders at the family dinner table or looking out at the views over the Hollywood Hills. You care about what happens to them all and I defy you not to shed a few tears along the way.

The plot is well structured with plenty of surprises to keep you hooked until the last page. I read it in two days as I couldn't put it down and thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in Martha Lamont's world and her life-changing decisions.

I'd give it more stars if I could - read it!
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on 19 February 2014
Another brilliant read from Helen, I couldn't put it down. (It's certainly not "just a good beach read")

It certainly makes you think about the effects an affair have on a vast amount of people, not only the individuals concerned, but all their family and friends.

I thought the story was fantastic, even if very thought provoking and quite emotional at times. I love the way Helen adds her final twist at the end, keeps you guessing all the way through, "will they, won't they"!

Well done Helen, I can't wait for your next book :-)
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on 5 March 2014
I saved this book to read on a half term trip as a "mummy treat" and it didn't disappoint. The last sentence of the first chapter is a great twist, that ensures you'll read on. This book, like Helen Warner's previous other novels, is quality entertainment. All her books can be described as grown up "women's lit", but if you take it on holiday, don't be surprised to find your partner reading it if you leave it on your sunbed when you go for a swim. It delivered the ending I had hoped for, but the journey there wasn't predictable. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 11 March 2014
I really enjoyed reading the latest Helen Warner offering, as I have RSVP and Stay Close to Me.

Helen writes in descriptive, but unpretentious manner which brings all the scenes/locations to life, I could vividly picture the LA skies, the pool at The Four Seasons, the family sitting round the kitchen table, the scene unfolding at at Jamie's desk.

I also particularly enjoyed the unexpected end to Chapter 2.

I just wished I'd saved this book as a treat to read by my villa pool at Easter!
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