Monday, March 12, 2018

Book Review: Degrees of Love

By Sara Steven

Like the shiny new BMW parked in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two boys, Susan Sinclair exudes confidence and style. Newly promoted to a prestigious Senior Vice President position at her firm, Susan is the picture of personal and professional success.

Yet appearances are deceiving. With each advance in Susan’s career, Matt has grown more distant. But he refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had, forces herself to play along.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. She and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time, Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is.

In a moment of weakness, friendship becomes something more. Now, unable to stomach the fa├žade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

As the synopsis indicates, appearances are deceiving. Often, what we think we see, the image we’re given on someone’s relationship, a marriage, a family unit, is much more deeper than the first layer, the surface. For Susan, so much of her life is dictated by the appearance of her life, yet in reality, her marriage has been slowly unraveling for several years, a fact that she’s tried to keep hidden, in a sense, even from herself.

I really felt for the position she is in. She tries so hard to make it all work, because ultimately, she loves her husband, Matt. So much of Degrees of Love plays out like a deep internal struggle for doing what’s right, vs. doing what her heart tells her to do. I could appreciate that about her personality, that she wasn’t some tart who is out for a cheap thrill with her boss, Reese. Far from. And, above all else, she wants to keep the image of a happy, fulfilling life for her children, even if that means sacrificing her own happiness in order to protect the ones she loves.

I also appreciated the turmoil felt from all three major players in this story. It was genuine, a realistic response to being in a rather awkward and perplexing situation. How will Reese deal with the notion that he may never have Susan fully, that she’s always going to be tied to her family in a way that he won’t ever be able to penetrate? And, will Matt ever really come clean on why he treats Susan the way he does, and what would he do if he ever found out that she has forged a forbidden relationship with another man? And of course, the biggest question is, what will happen to Susan; her marriage, her relationship with Reese. What sort of life will she have going forward? This bruised and beaten love triangle was a chaotic mess with insane highs and lows, but that made it all the more interesting and real for me, because I always wanted to know what was going to happen next for all involved at every given moment.

Thanks to Lisa Slabach for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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