Thursday, September 5, 2013

REVIEW: COVET by TRACEY GARVIS-GRAVES

CovetCategory/Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: 9/17/13
Format: ARC
Pages: 320
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 5 stars

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.
 


"Maybe love is like a pendulum. It swings back and forth, slowly, steadily, and sometimes you don't know where it will come to rest." 


Marriage is hard. Anyone who has ever been married will tell you that (if not, they're lying). It's a commitment that must be continually tended to and nurtured. In the best of times it is fun and easy. In the worst of times it is exhausting and infuriating. But scariest of all is when you just stop. Every marriage has its cycles of ups-and-downs. Children, health crises, money and jobs can wear you down. Moments will catch you by surprise when you look at that person and you wonder how in the world you ever thought it was a good idea to get married. And at others, you look at them and you fall in love again. So why does it seem like I'm writing an essay about marriage? I feel like to truly understand how much Covet impacted me, you have to know just how hard it is. How scary it is to look at the person you love, and slowly see them slipping away.

In Covet, Tracey Garvis-Graves has brilliantly portrayed the upheaval of a marriage, and the lives of Claire and Chris Canton. When Chris is laid off from his job, and then is unable to find another for months, his over-achieving nature takes a huge hit. As the months go on, depression hits, causing him to become both emotionally and physically withdrawn from Claire. At first understanding, Claire eventually becomes almost immune to Chris's indifference. Not because she uncaring, but because it is the only way she will remain intact. When she meets and gradually becomes friends with officer Daniel Rush, Claire begins to toe the fine line that keeps her from an affair. In Daniel, she finds a companion, another lonely soul who needs the anchor of another person. And though a physical affair is something Claire never intends to let happen, an emotional affair is born.

I need to be very, very clear about one thing: there are no "bad guys" in Covet. When you look at the issues as black and white, yes, what Claire is doing is wrong. But when you take all of the nuances of her marriage and relationships with Chris and Daniel into consideration, there is a lot of grey area. I'm not saying that this is right, I am saying that sometimes, you do what you have to do in order to survive. That everyone deserves a deep emotional connection to another person.

It would have been so easy for Garvis-Graves to have simply portrayed Chris as a bad husband. Using flashbacks, we learn how Chris and Claire fell in love, just how amazing he was to her and how happy they were. With the multiple points-of-view, we get to see just how desperate and upset Chris is about his situation. That he does love Claire and their kids, but is so lost in providing for them, that he loses his way. In Claire's perspective, we see how much she's always loved Chris and wants her husband back, but also how his seeming indifference slowly pushes her away. That she doesn't want to actually have an affair with Daniel, but she is attracted to him, is drawn to his personality, and just how good he makes her feel. In Daniel's perspective, we find a man who lost so much from a tragedy. We see a man who is not a predator, does not want to break up a family, but who finds himself so drawn to Claire that he doesn't want to stay away from her. In any other circumstances, these three might have never found themselves in such a precarious situation, but this is a perfect emotional storm.

I know this review might come across as too personally involved, but honestly, I could see no other way to do it. If I remained truly objective, I don't think I could have gotten my point across about just how remarkable I think Covet is. And even if you cannot identify with the characters in Covet, or their situation, the story is still not to be missed because Tracey Garvis-Graves is one of the most gifted authors I've had the privilege to read. Her writing was so, so subtle, yet incredibly powerful. Little moments in which she hit upon a raw truth or emotion took my breath away. Covet took me on such an emotional journey, and I will say that it left me sobbing, happy, and also with a thought: marriage is not a destination, but a journey.


Favorite Quotes:

  In all the years we'd been together, I'd never experienced anything quite as heartbreaking as watching the lights of my golden boy fade.  ~ARC, pg 72  

  "I'm sorry, honey. You have to hold tight to the things you love." I stand up and look toward the sky, but the balloon is a red speck I can barely make out.
  And at that moment I can't help but wonder if Chris realizes just how untethered I've become. 
 ~ARC, pg 105




Purchase Covet


About the author
Tracey Garvis-Graves is the author of On the Island and Covet. She lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband, two children, and hyper dog Chloe. She blogs at www.traceygarvisgraves.com using colorful language and a snarky sense of humor to write about pop culture, silly television shows, and her suburban neighborhood. You can e-mail her at traceygarvisgraves@yahoo.com. She’d love to hear from you.


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27 comments:

  1. I still can't believe that I've missed this book. I enjoyed On the Island so I must give this one a try. I usually avoid books dealing with cheating but it seems like that won't bother me here. Great review Andrea :)

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  2. I have kept an eye on this ever since the cover and the synopsis were released. I still haven't read her debut (I think On the Island was her debut novel.. Hmm..), but what I gather from your review is that she isn't afraid to push the boundaries. I don't really know how I'd feel about this book in particular, but I do know that what you describe is a perfect emotional storm caused by these characters and gorgeous writing. I think so, too, that marriage is a journey where you have to be able to compromise, tend it with love and care and feed it with passion--otherwise it probably won't survive. What do I know, though?! I don't even have a bf right now. Anyhow, I love your gorgeous thoughts and I'm happy you enjoyed this one:)

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  3. Wow. I don't think I've ever read a review that has brought me to tears before but this One did. Being the girl nobody wants to marry I can't identify with this subject but your review was so good I am going to read this now just in case something changes in my life. Thanks for such an honest review Birdie

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  4. This book has been sitting on my self for a few months now and I just havent brought myself to pick it up yet. After this review I'll have to bump it up the list. Fantastic review Andrea!

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  5. I love this review so much. Mine is scheduled for Monday. Marriage is no joke. Its hard and she captured it all so perfectly in this story. I love that you mention how there are no bad guys. There isn't. I loved them all and my heart bled for them.

    This is in my opinion, the best review you have ever written. I know I've told you before that you have a way with words. Seriously though, no review of this book could do it justice like yours.

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  6. Many that was a great review. I'm all over this book. I loved On The Island! xoxoxo

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  7. Wow...what a review. This brought tears to my eyes. I have this book pre-ordered. If she wrote it, I want to read it. I think this is going to be a difficult read for me because of things that have happened in my life (I was married before), but I still want to read it. Thank you Andrea for such a powerful review.

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  8. I was so worried about this, but it was so well done and you are totally right...there are no bad guys here. This author can bring it, and she has such an amazing capacity to make you see all sides. My review is scheduled for next week and I loved your heartfelt review!

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  9. Stunning review, Andrea! I completely agree with every point you make. There were no bad guys in Covet and I though Tracey painted such a realistic, emotional and heartbreaking story. I loved the flashbacks because they showed you exactly the extent of everything that was lost when Chris withdrew. This ended the way I wanted but I was still heartbroken for ALL of the characters, and what they went through.

    Your words about marriage? Truer words never spoken!

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  10. What a beautiful and heartfelt review Andrea. I can't wait to read this. I am dying to know how it ends.

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  11. Damn, Andrea! This is the second time this week you've had me in tears by the end of your review! I love everything you said about marriage, relationships, and Covet. I'm sooo anxious to read this one now. Thanks for your lovely words!

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  12. Babe, I saw first hand how this book affected you. Don't ever forget how much I love you, even through the rough patches where I tend to shut down... I still love you. We've had our ups and downs, but I like to believe we come out on the other side stronger, even when if we don't see it right away. Awesome job!!!

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  13. Wonderful review. Really glad you liked it :)

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  14. I was reading this, and stopped because I had to read a book for a blog tour, but I can't wait to get back to it. After reading your review I am even more excited to get back to it.

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  15. Great Review - I think personal reviews are the best because they show just how deep the book touched you!! :)

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  16. Wow, this def sounds like it explored all levels of gray ares.

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  17. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOOVE your review! Like April said, I think it's one of your best reviews yet.
    I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this -insert freaky squeal here- and I cried, laugh and just love how it ended. Tracey has a way with words and endings that I just adore.
    This topic is not something that I would normally read but it was THIS author, so of course I had to!

    I'm still torn on how to rate (don't know if I'll able to) because of some things, but what do I know if I'm not married so that is why I'm not sure yet. But I really loved it and the story and I need more books with Tracey's name on it.

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  18. I LOVE this cover! It’s gorgeous. I hear so many great things about this one and On the Island. I need to find time to fit one of these in. Great review!

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Andrea,
    This was yet another phenomenal review. It hit me on point. Your intro touched me to the core. Personal is always better. If you feel it, your followers will feel it too. That has always been my philosophy. You are a wonderful reviewer with so much heart. Thank You for the wonderful review. Keep being true to yourself. I loved it!

    Ro
    A Bookish Escape

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  21. Lovely review! I'm not married, but I definitely know that it's not easy and something you're always working on. I think this sounds like a great book and I love that it has the three point of views, so you can see just how much everyone is going through.

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  22. I'm really glad that you enjoyed this book Andrea, because when I first read the blurb I honestly didn't know what to make of it. I had made quite a few judgments too about how things would go down, but I'm glad to see that I maybe wrong. I think I may have end up giving this book a try, because you have me utterly convinced with your review! :)

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  23. I don't know why, maybe it's my hormones, but reading your review just made me sooo frickin' sad!!!!

    I hope you're journey's good, babe ;)

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  24. Great review babe. I'm starting this one tomorrow. I loved E's comment. It made me a little teary.

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  25. I have a copy of this one and I read the first chapter or two already. I like that things aren't just black and white here, cause that's how real life is. Not sure when I can read this, but I look forward to it!

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  26. Wow, I really loved your review, and insights in to marriage. It is very hard, but also very rewarding. I've heard this author is amazing, and I l know her book, "On the Island" is pretty popular. Covet sounds right up my alley. I think I would enjoy this one :)

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

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