Book Review: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

after i doReviewer: Allie

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Lauren and Ryan have been together for eleven years, six of them as husband and wife.  They met and fell madly in love when they both were nineteen.  Then one day they realize that the love was gone.  In a last ditch effort to save their marriage, they decide to take a break by living apart for one year – anything goes, including dating other people.  The one rule is that they’re not allowed to contact each other, under any circumstances.  Lauren is devastated.  She spends the beginning of the year trying to heal her broken heart and figure out what she really wants for her life.  Lauren’s mother, sister and brother offer their support and she’s able to reconnect with her family in a way that wouldn’t have been possible if she were still with Ryan.  Lauren has been with Ryan for so long that she’s forgotten how to be her own person.  As the year comes to a close, Lauren begins to believe she may be better on her own.  And where does this year lead Ryan?

Wow.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve started and finished a book in one day – and I wasn’t even on vacation!  Jenkins had me from the beginning and I couldn’t stop turning the pages.  The story opens with a seemingly simple argument between Lauren and Ryan about where they parked their car (while at a Dodgers came), but the argument is far from simple.  I could feel the tension on the pages and easily read between the lines – these two people do not like each other.  After the argument, the author shares Lauren and Ryan’s love story by revealing moments of their life together over the last eleven years:  how they met, their first date, the proposal, the wedding, finding their first home.  I was scratching my head trying to figure out how a couple so devoted to each other could end up in this place.

What I loved about this story was that Lauren and Ryan are atypical for a modern young couple, because they don’t just give up.  They honestly try to figure out a way to bring the love back, albeit in a very unconventional manner.  Lauren is a well-developed character, I truly liked her.  Getting to know her family gave me great insight into how she got to be Lauren.  I also appreciated how each person in her life, from her grandmother to her best friend, had different opinions of what constitutes a good marriage and of the value of happiness.  It was very interesting.

Jenkins’ narrative is engrossing and realistic.  I’ll miss Lauren and her family.  There were no bad guys in this story, just flawed people desperately trying to do the right thing.  I couldn’t put the book down, because I didn’t know what was going to happen and I was vested – I really cared about how the story would end.  Honestly, both possible outcomes would have been plausible and believable in this author’s hands.  I know what I wanted, but…that’s all I can say.  I cannot recommend this book enough!

5 stars

taylor reidAbout the author:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She graduated from Emerson
College with a degree in Media Studies. Her first novel, Forever, Interrupted, was named one of the “11 Debuts We Love” by Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog,
Rabbit. Her forthcoming novel, After I Do, will be published July 1, 2014.
Connect with the author:

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/QCF5T8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tjenkinsreid

Website: http://www.taylorjenkinsreid.com/
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1uZBWfi

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July New Book Releases

Contributor: Allie

after i doAfter I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid – July 1, 2014.  Lauren and Ryan are a couple who’ve been together for over a decade, but sadly, the magic is gone.  Despite their shared history, they don’t feel the love for each other that they once did.  To save their marriage, they decide to break-up for a year and see if they can find their way back together.  There’s a lot of prepublication buzz surrounding this book.  Post Script:  I’ve read it, and the buzz is warranted.  Fantastic read!

one plus oneOne Plus One by Jojo Moyes – July 1,2014.   Moyes’ latest novel sounds like a new twist on the Jennifer Lopez movie, Maid In Manhattan.  Jess works as a housekeeper for Ed, an obnoxious millionaire technology executive.  Jess is a struggling single mother who, of course, is barely scrapping by.  When her math whiz daughter gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in the Math Olympiad, it’s Ed who comes to the rescue by offering to take Jess and her family.  On their adventure, Jess and Ed get to see the world through each other’s eyes – those who have money and those who don’t.  It turns out to be quite a journey!

the house on mermaid pointThe House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax – July 1, 2014.  Wendy Wax is back with her third installment of the 10 Beach Road series.  The ladies, Maddie, Avery and Nicki, are back for another remodeling project – this time in the Florida Keys.  Their reality show has assigned them the project of converting an old Florida house into a bed-and-breakfast.  The house belongs to a notorious past-his-prime rock star who isn’t thrilled with the camera being on him once again.  But he is intrigued by the newly divorced Maddie.  I loved the first two books in this series, so I’m eager to read this one!

landline rainbow rowellLandline by Rainbow Rowell – July 8, 2014.  After two very successful young adult novels, Rowell once again delves into adult women’s fiction with a tale of a marriage falling apart.  Georgie is a successful TV writer who has been so focused on work that her personal life suffers.  When Georgie tells her husband that she has to cancel their Christmas trip to see his parents in Omaha, he husband decides to go anyway – and takes the kids with him.  Talk about a wakeup call!  Left alone, Georgie tries to figure out a way to save her marriage.  The novel takes a paranormal twist when Georgie discovers a landline that can connect her to the past.  Will this portal enable her to change the state of her marriage?

big little liesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – July 29, 2014.  A Moriarty novel always promises love, humor and intrigue.  Her latest story won’t disappointment.  After a parent ends up dead at an annual school event, life in the suburbs will never be the same.  The story focuses on three women and their complicated families, including spouses, children, ex-spouses and second wives.  I loved last summer’s popular Moriarty chick lit mystery novel, The Husband’s Secret, and I’m certain this one will be page-turner.

In My Mailbox: Week of June 16

when girlfriends let goTitle: When Girlfriends Let Go

Author: Savannah Page

Received: CLP Blog Tours

Synopsis: A novel about love, self-discovery, and realizing sometimes you have to let go.

Jackie Kittredge is the consummate drama queen living the charmed life. She’s enthusiastic, outspoken, and is always looking for a good time. At twenty-seven she’s got a swanky Seattle townhouse, a wealthy husband, a designer wardrobe, the best of girlfriends, and a calendar filled not with meetings and deadlines, but spa appointments and happy hour reminders. On the outside, she’s got it all.

On the inside, though, Jackie’s charmed life isn’t as it seems. She’s seeing a therapist, battling the demons of coming from a broken home and a past of promiscuity and heavy drinking. She can be selfish and demanding, sometimes even wearing her best friends thin. And now her marriage—what she thought could be her solid foundation—is on the rocks. Her husband Andrew spends nearly all his time at the office (and possibly with his secretary), and apologizes for his absence with lavish gifts and empty promises.

Miserable and desperate, Jackie questions if her marriage is worth fighting for. Then a string of events begins to put things into perspective…into a perspective she didn’t quite anticipate. With her best friends by her side and some tough love, Jackie finds herself not only asking if she’s where she belongs, but if she’s who she’s supposed to be.

This is a passionate story about having to answer some of life’s most important and difficult questions. It’s a story about fear, courage, and personal growth. About what happens when girlfriends let go.

While this Women’s Fiction novel is Book #6 in the When Girlfriends collection, it can be read as a stand-alone.

 

the hope listTitle: The Hope List

Author: Chrissy Anderson

Received: Chrissy Anderson

Synopsis: When she was just sixteen, Chrissy Anderson made a life list…

…It’s been long forgotten and replaced by one filled with hope. But with all of Chrissy’s lies, a lover she’s horribly betrayed, and an ex-husband with secrets of his own; it might be too late to rely on her new list for happiness. In fact, it might be too late for Chrissy to ever have the truly, madly, deeply love she has always craved. Follow Chrissy as she hits rock bottom, dusts herself off, and fights harder than ever to finally have her wedding cake and eat it too.

In book THREE of The List Trilogy, Chrissy Anderson is confronted with her worst fears; a fatherless child, the pointless “death” of another friend, and a bump in the road at her beloved business that could destroy all of her hard work. Unlike Chrissy’s challenges in the past, there’s no longer a choice between love and obligation. It’s too late for that. In The Hope List, the only thing that can put Chrissy on the right path is honesty.

Everyone makes mistakes, but all will pause as they follow along on Chrissy Anderson’s new journey to ask, “Is she worthy of forgiveness?”

The Hope List picks up where book TWO, The Unexpected List left us hanging on the edge of our seats. The long-awaited conclusion finally reveals the outcome of a married woman’s chance encounter with her soul mate that took place many years ago in book ONE of Anderson’s romantic saga, The Life List.

CHRISSY ANDERSON spends her life doing exactly what she always wanted: doting on those she loves. A former fashion executive, she is a writer, wife, and mother whose own life events inspired The Life List. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with the love of her life and her beautiful daughter.

 

autumn getawayhTitle: Autumn Getaway

Author: Jennifer Gracen

Received: BookTrope

Synopsis: Author Jennifer Gracen brings together a colorful cast of friends and family in Book One of the Seasons of Love series, Autumn Getaway. Newly divorced mom Lydia is just getting back on her feet. Her college roommate’s wedding promises a much-needed getaway weekend with old friends, at a beautiful manor in Connecticut.

When she meets Sam, a handsome friend of the groom, she’s nearly overwhelmed by a confusing mix of hope and trepidation. Their instant connection feels intensely real, to both of them, but the ink is barely dry on her divorce decree. It takes all her nerve, and more than a little prodding from her girlfriends, to convince Lydia to give her heart — and Sam — a chance. But when the magical weekend comes to a close, Sam must return to Chicago, while Lydia heads back to her complicated life and young son in New York. Can their newfound connection survive the trials of physical distance and years of emotional baggage?

Written with an appreciation for the day-to-day struggles of a newly single mom, Autumn Getaway explores the burdens and blessings of family, revels in the spirit of friendship, and celebrates the power of romance and hope as Lydia and Sam take a second chance at love.

 

after i doTitle: After I Do

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Received: BookSparks PR

Synopsis: From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as “moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching”—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.