Sunday, March 23, 2014


 Tempting FateGenre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 3/25/14
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 stars

Number one bestselling author Jane Green gives a powerful portrayal of a marriage rocked by betrayal in the stunning Tempting Fate.

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him - even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt . . .

Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.

Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?

I am a long time fan of Jane Green's, and was a bit blown away when I received a request to review Tempting Fate. Green's novels  played a huge part in my early to mid-20s, and I will always hold a lot of affection for her work. However, despite my being a fan, I did go into Tempting Fate with some hesitation due to the subject matter. I don't typically have a lot of luck with books about cheating within a marriage, with Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves being the only one that I can remember truly loving.

When I was younger and considered myself to be quite smart, I thought the world was black-and-white. Right is right and wrong is wrong. If you cheat you are a filthy person and you deserve everything coming to you. And while that is often true, I now know that there are many, many shades of gray in the world. And when I see this happen in a relationship, I now first say to myself "I wonder what was going on behind closed doors". I honestly don't try to give other couples relationships too much thought, it's enough responsibility to make sure that my own is in a good place, but I do realize now that many different elements can contribute to leading people down a different path.

However, I cannot connect with a book with this subject matter when it is romanticized, when the character(s) do not face realistic consequences, and when it feels as if the events are meant to be salacious or erotic rather than portraying a crisis of character, a moment of weakness, and examining how the protagonist ended up in that situation. For me, it can't just be "the guy is hot, and no one understands me". I want to know what has driven the character to risk everything, and what are the consequences. The reason I am apparently writing an essay on marriage and infidelity is that I feel as if I need to explain why Tempting Fate worked so well for me. It's weird that I feel as if I need to explain or defend my position on the subject matter, that's not my responsibility. But I do know that many, many readers will look at the book description and immediately make snap judgments and assume the book is not for them. And, I respect that opinion. But I do know that it worked for me and it will work for many other readers, particularly those who enjoy Women's Fiction.

Once again, Jane Green has delivered a novel that many women will connect with. While we may not all undergo the same circumstances, I think many will see pieces of themselves in Gabby and in her marriage. Let me be clear, Gabby makes multiple wrong and hurtful decisions. She goes into the situation innocently, but soon realizes that she's flirting with disaster, does not stop herself, and hurts the ones she loves. It's sad, and it can be infuriating. But what makes Gabby such a sympathetic character is that Green gives her a strong sense of self-awareness. You see all the small moments that lead Gabby astray. They don't excuse her behavior, but you understand her. No one can be as hard on Gabby as she is on herself.

When I began Tempting Fate I assumed that the story would be leading up to Gabby's presumed betrayal of her marriage. While that is the impetus for the plot, Tempting Fate is just as much about the aftermath, and every decision and consequence that comes after. What happens with her husband, her children, the other man, her best friend, and even her mother. What makes this interesting, is that despite the bad decisions, I never felt as if there was a true "bad guy", even in regards to Gabby and the Matt, the other man. They're misguided and make selfish decisions, but are essentially nice people who feel remorse. And her husband Elliott, he is a great man. As far as the marriage goes, hurtful decisions were made and some things can be unforgivable. But I also know a shared history, a deep bond, and the love that comes from knowing someone as well as you know yourself can also overcome a lot. And in the end, that is what Tempting Fate was about for me. Every aspect in regards to the betrayal and the marriage are handled thoroughly and carefully. No one gets a pass and I appreciate that Green did not rush.

I recognize that this review is more about my personal feelings, and the aspects of Tempting Fate that I connected with, more than the technical aspects of the plot and writing. But to be honest, when I read this book, that is what I was truly focused on. The third person present tense that Tempting Fate employs actually isn't my favorite narrative style, but I was so focused on the story that it didn't even register after the first paragraph. And maybe the ending was a bit too tidy, but by that point, I was truly satisfied with the way things turned out. I had traveled a huge emotional roller coaster with Tempting Fate and when I reached the end, I was happy that I got on.

I realized Tempting Fate will not work for all readers. But I do believe that if you do enjoy give it a chance and allow the entire journey to play out, you might end up like I did, happy to have read such a honest and emotionally captivating story.

Favorite Quotes:

  Elliott was what she was looking for. From the minute he started talking to him he made her feel peaceful. It was as if she recognized him. There were no violins, halos, no crashing stars and bolts of lightning. It was simply a quiet recognition.
  You, she thought, I know you.
  And it is peace that has been the defining factor of their relationship. Unlike her childhood, where she never felt particularly wanted, or noticed, or happy, or safe, she feels all of these things with Elliott.
  They have built a beautiful life together, with beautiful children, a beautiful home.
  Why on earth, Gabby thinks, as she closes the front door after the girls have gone to school, would I do anything to screw this up?

  She became addicted to the thrill, the roller coaster of highs when he emailed, the lows when he didn't. Looking back, which she tries not to do, she can only think of it as an addiction; short-lived, intense, unmanageable. It poured over her, leaving no room for reason or rationale. She couldn't have stopped it even if she'd wanted to. And she did want to, she never wanted it to go as far as it did. She just wanted to feel beautiful for a bit longer; to feel alive; to feel wanted.

Audiobook lovers: I have a sample of the Tempting Fate audiobook to share with you, narrated by a author Jane Green. This sample is courtesy of Macmillan Audio.

Purchase Links
About the author
Jane GreenJane Green (born in 1968 in London, England) is an U.S.-based British author. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, four children under the age of 5 - including a set of twins - and dog Palmer. She attended the University of Wales, Aberystwyth from 1987-88, although she left without completing her degree and worked as a journalist throughout her twenties. At the age of 27 she was inspired to write a book about a woman being single in the city. This paid off and she published her first book, Straight Talking three months later.



  1. I like that this review was more of your personal feelings, I think it helped understand the book and where it's coming from. I see the cheating thing pretty much the same way. I know couples first-hand in situations that are ... unconventional for various reasons. This actually sounds really good. I don't think I've ever read any of Green's books.

  2. Oh, geeeeeez. This cover is absolutely gorgeous! Yeah, agreed. Not every relationship where cheating happens is due to one party being a bitch or the other just a douce. Sometimes it's more complicated so yes to gray bits. I'm glad that Gabby isn't just a gullible, innocent party in this, but self-aware as well and sypmathy doesn't hurt either. Oh, I thought it was about leading up to it as well not the aftermath. Hmm. I think the missing "bad guy" is something that makes this novel so hard to reead. Gahhh. I don't want to read about cheating per se, but I do think that this sounds like a read that pulls at your heartstrings and makes you think. I'm so happy you enjoyed, hon!

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  4. Great review. I can see why you'd be hesitant about reading this one, I am too, but I can see how people change in relationships sometimes. Your review has made me curious about this book, and while I've never read Jane Green's work before, I am very interested now.

  5. I love this review Andrea and you really have me curious. I don't read much Women's Fiction, but I will pick it up every now and then. This sounds like a great read and one that really gets under your skin.

  6. I agree with others- I've enjoyed reading your review and agree with your thoughts about this sensitive subject. The book sounds great, even though I also usually avoid books with this theme, especially if I'm not familiar with the author, but I might give it a chance in the near future.

    The one book I loved with similar subject is Tear Me Apart by Megan Hart, don't know if you have read it.

  7. I think people (and I include myself in this) don't like to read about infidelity because we don't want it to touch us in any way. Maybe there's something we will recognize in ourselves/SO's or maybe we'll see the shades of grey and realize it can happen to even the best of marriages. (that's just one of my theories - of course every one of us is different)

    I'm glad it was handled well. IT's always difficult for me to read about because I hurt along with the characters and I just like to read to escape lol

    I enjoyed Covet & another one I like from a male POV is Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman. That was hard to read, I think it's easier for me to relate to a woman straying, rather than the guy in that situation, but it was so honest.

  8. I loved this review, Andrea. I can tell that the book really made you feel. I typically tend to shy away from books with cheating because they rarely ever work for me, but I realize that people cheat for various reasons that I probably don't and won't ever understand. I'm glad to hear that it was handled well in this book and that the main character realizes how wrong she was.
    Lovely review, Andrea.

  9. You're right - the blurb would be enough for me to pass this one by but if you say it still worth the read then I believe you. Great review.

  10. Fantastic review, and I too don't typically enjoy cheating and broken vows but liked Covet, and I like the sounds of the way the author handled this. It seems it is more about the marriage, and love then the cheating.

  11. What a pretty cover! I have never heard of this author, surprisingly, but I love the sound of her writing. I love what you wrote about cheating. I'm still too young and for me it's all still black and white but I guess with years it changes. So glad you were able to enjoy this one. Great review, Andrea :)

  12. Excellent Review Andrea! I love how you put so much of yourself, your opinions, and experiences in your reviews. I like the way you approached the review by telling us your personal feelings on the subject of cheating in a marriage. For me it is difficult to read about cheating, as I can't help but put myself in that spot of how it would feel to be the one being cheated on. At the same time, it is a reality of life, and like you said many subjects aren't black or white, but have many shades of gray, and we don't know what goes on behind the closed doors of other people's marriages. Your review has me very curious and intrigued about this story. Great Job!!!

  13. I was like you, I didn't like reading about cheating either. Until I read a book for a blog tour and it was but.. it was different and in this one the way it was done, was tasteful I guess? as tasteful as it gets. So I guess I probably wouldn't mind this one either.

  14. Yup, this is my kind of pushing the envelop read. I've read a bunch of cheating novels and I can say that I hated all the characters (predisposed) but its how the author presents it that I pay attention to. I feel like I'll like Ms. Green.

  15. I'm glad it satisfied you in the end. Like I said standing in your living room a few weeks ago... "hard pass"

  16. I think books like these can be done quite well for the reasons you stated - they have to show how people get to these points and it's important to make characters seem realistic and not simply vilified or idolized.

  17. Glad you enjoyed the journey in this one. It is hard to wake up one day and realize that the world isn't as black and white as we thought!

  18. Cheating is a tricky subject. A writer must make us understand and empathize with the cheater. As a reader you may not condone actions but if done right you don't hate the character for their course.

    I felt the same way you did when I first got married, that the world was black and white and if someone cheated they were terrible. Now after years of being married and going through many ups and downs you can certainly see how someone could find themselves in a position where they craved certain feelings: to feel wanted, exciting and appreciated. It takes work to beat off outside influences and to keep your marriage fresh, and to fight against taking each other for granted. Something that didn't even enter my mind when I got married! It sounds like this story tackles some of those struggles, and I appreciate realistic stories like this.

    I loved Covet and I though TGG did an amazing job writing about emotional cheating without making any of her characters unlikeable. It sounds like this is the case here. I'm truly curious about this book now! Brilliant review, Andrea! :)

  19. Wonderful, in-depth review :) Will definitely be purchasing a copy of this. It's not something I would normally read, but feel I should start to become a bit more adventurous about which books I read! :)


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