Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Woman Betrayed by Barbara Delinsky *

ARggghh. I bought this book - 3 novels by Barbara Delinsky in a large hardcover - for a buck at a library sale. I have liked Barbara Delinsky's books, her voice, so who knew how this one would affect me?

Even though there are, if you look at it clinically, a number of HEAs for some of the characters, really, I hated this story. Let's be honest = if you define HEA as a couple considering marrying at the end, then yeah, HEA. But if you try to figure out who the H/H were, no.

I started it last night, figuring with 3 novels in an 800 page book, it couldn't be very long. (It was 300 of the 800.) Then, when the story took so many bad turns, I felt compelled to read it until I finished this morning. I need the HEA. I needed to have these people's issues resolved, to know what happened, and why. Everything that was happening was so awful, I just had to know it all worked out.

And now that I'm done, I feel awful that I read it. It wasn't a romance. I guess it was just fiction, maybe women's fiction. The "heroine" Laura was such a flawed woman. I'm sorry for her very existence, fictional or otherwise, because she made so many wrong choices and was involved in so much hurt. The endings - offers of marriage, foreshadowings of things working out in the future - were so bleak. The resolutions were so unrealistic. Laura needs major therapy, and new friends. Her easy forgiving of her husband and her best friend was just not RIGHT!

First - her perfect accountant husband, always punctual, doesn't show up for dinner. Then he's gone for several days. Her two perfect teenage children, one in college, gather close by for the vigil - then the IRS sends in an agent because, Mr Perfect Accountant aside, there's evidence he's been filing fake taxes and collecting fraudulent refunds for years.

We get Jeff's, Mr Perfect Accountant, POV as he hides out in a shack he bought several hundred miles away - apparently he's never felt like a real man with Laura. She's been busily arranging their lives without any input from him, complete with vacations to beaches when he hates hot weather, for 20 years. Now he knows the IRS is onto him, and he just splits with no trace. Who cares what the repercussions are for his family, his children? Not him.

We meet Laura's mother, the cold academic bitch who does nothing but criticize and psychoanalyze Laura with every word.

We meet Jeff's brother Christian, the badass who's wrecked so many family gatherings - and learn that Christian and Laura had a youthful love affair before she met Jeff, and both still carry a torch for the other.

We meet Daphne, Laura's best friend and lawyer - and it's transparent she's the one who had been having an affair with Jeff before he left. Then Daphne jumps into bed with the IRS agent. Oh yeah, she's a good friend, huh?

What a sucky story this was - Christian comes in to help Laura, the two of them get back together before Laura even files for divorce (now we have 2 cases of adultery). Her teenage son gets accused of date rape. The town paper smears their family name in every issue. Why? Well, the answer to that solves another mystery - who is Christian's real father?

How can all this be resolved?? Oh I'll tell you. After revealing himself one last time to Laura, Jeff fakes his death - he'd already set up a new identity and the FBI searched for 6 weeks and gave up. Christian asks Laura to marry him. The IRS agent asks Daphne to marry him (even though he figured out she was the one having the affair with Jeff...). Jeff takes up with a simple-minded brain-damaged woman. Three HEAs, all wrong, all doomed, in my opinion.

Who was the woman betrayed? ME for reading what I thought was going to be an uplifting story by an author whose other works I've read were.

Gawd. Now I need to find something good to read to cleanse the palate of this awful, Peyton Place story. I want ROMANCE!!! 1 star. Gawd.

No comments: