Wednesday, October 16, 2013

REVIEW: Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves

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.


Let me start off by saying there will be a couple spoilers in this review. To me, they aren’t major but they may seem major to you. So here’s your last warning y’all… check yourself before you wreck yourself.

I picked up this book knowing it may be a little difficult for me to read. See, I don’t normally care for books that involve cheating. It angers me and then I end up disliking the characters so I don’t want them to be happy. (That doesn’t make a bad person, right?! Don’t answer that!) Of course there are a few exceptions to every rule, and I knew going into this book that there was a strong possibility it would involve cheating; I mean, the title is Covet for crying out loud. But I love Tracey Garvis-Graves’s writing, and I was willing to give it a shot. By the end of the book, I was so incredibly glad I did.

This is the story of Kansas couple, Claire and Chris, and their struggle to keep their marriage intact through depression, job loss, wandering eyes, and a husband who never seems to be home. There are no horribly damaged characters or huge, monumental moments that could make or break their marriage. It’s real. It’s something that could be happening to your neighbors. It’s something that is happening to so many families across the country. The family that seems to have it all, but behind closed doors, is holding on by threads. A quote from the first chapter describes it perfectly:

“We’re the Cantons. Sun-kissed, all-American, picture-perfect. By all appearances, we’re the ideal suburban family. As long as you don’t look to closely.”

While Chris is traveling for work five days a week, Claire develops a friendship with a local police officer, Daniel. It starts out innocent enough and gradually turns into something that could firebomb Claire’s family. They start having weekly “dates” at Daniel’s house, they text constantly, they talk on the phone before bed, they go for motorcycle rides, they go to lunch, they go to dinner – they start acting like a couple. While there were only a couple physical acts between Claire and Daniel that made me uncomfortable, their relationship as a whole did. I hit about 80% and started feeling resentment towards Claire. I was growing more and more upset with Daniel for acting this way with a married woman. (See, what did I tell you? This is what happens.) But do you know what kind of saved this book for me? The ending. It made me cry, it warmed my heart, and it shows you that the light of love may dim during your marriage at times, but that doesn’t mean you have to snuff it out before it reignites and burns brighter than ever.

Tracey’s writing never ceases to amaze me, and while I didn’t like Covet as much as I did her debut novel, On the Island, it’s still a terrific read. This story is simplistic in such a wonderful way and you’ll easily find yourself wrapped up in Kansas suburbia with the Cantons and all of their neighbors, who have just as many problems and secrets hidden behind the walls of their homes as Claire and Chris. Would I recommend this novel? Absolutely. I am forever a Tracey fan, and she earned some brownie points with Covet; not only is it set in Kansas, but Chris is a KU alum! I graduated from KU and am a die-hard Jayhawk, so I can’t think of a more appropriate way to end this review than by saying my three favorite words…. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK! :-)


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