Author: Robyn Carr
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: BEA 2016 / Claire of Little Bird Publicity
Goodreads: #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr creates an emotional and uplifting ensemble of characters in this rags-to-riches-to-rags novel about women, friendship and the complex path to happiness
In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients’ life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband’s crimes. She is left with nothing.
Only one friend stands by her, a friend she’s known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn’t easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she’d rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.
Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can’t escape her husband’s reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she’d ever ask for help—her former best friend. It’s an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they’ve made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.
Ope’s Opinion: Let me just be honest upfront – I am a huge Robyn Carr fan, so I maybe a little prejudice when I review her books. She writes such wonderful characters and great stories. This book is no exception.
I liked how all the characters lives twist and turn around each other in this story. This story was different from her series stories. I like those, but this was also a really good read. I feel like her characters in this book were developed a little deeper then some of her other books.
This definitely is one of her best books. I am looking forward to her next one.
Little Bird Publicity sent me the following Q & A from Robyn Carr about The Life She Wants. Thank you Claire!
Q&A w/ Robyn Carr — THE LIFE SHE WANTS
Q: The damaged friendship between Emma and Riley is one of the central relationships in this novel. After having written so many successful romantic love stories, what was different or challenging about building your story around a fraught, deeply complicated female friendship?
A: I’m accustomed to writing “girlfriend books” that, from the beginning, have a very strong bond between the women, that the friends get each other through the tough times. I wanted to know how it’s different when the bond has been broken but the tough times are present.
You’ll find out what you’re made of when you go through a relationship crisis, when you feel scared and alone.
Q: Although this book focuses a great deal on the relationships between various female characters, there’s still plenty of romance to be had. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the leading men in this book? Riley’s brother Adam comes into play in Emma’s life…
A: Adam enters the story early on and we learn right away that he has always cared for Emma, but he was the older brother in the equation and when he was 18, 19, 20 – Emma was just a young girl and he kept his safe distance. When they were both finally old enough, he was too late – Emma was gone. To Adam it is miraculous that she’s back, that he has a second chance. And he’s determined to make good use of it.
There are other heroes, some of them hiding in plain sight. There’s Jock, the high school boyfriend that Emma and Riley lost their friendship over and the father of Riley’s teenage daughter. He was an irresponsible boy when he betrayed Emma with her best friend but he’s not a boy any longer, nor is he foolish and irresponsible.
And there’s Logan, a police detective who seems to keep running into Riley by chance. Or is it chance? He’s a very good guy who wants to be involved with Riley but given his role in her life, might be fighting a conflict of interest with his job.
Q: Emma and Riley are both people who have suffered betrayals and trauma in their romantic relationships. What makes Emma so open to finding love again, and what makes Riley so wary of it? Was it fun to write the two different sides of that coin?
A: I think Emma is surprised to find love and with, of all people, an old friend who she feels safe with. She was so alone in her marriage, so unloved and neglected. Riley, on the other hand, sees falling in love as a danger – the one and only time she fell for someone it destroyed her cherished friendship and left her adrift in a very difficult world as a single mother.
It was much more fun to write about a lost friendship than it is to live it! Everyone has had the experience of being dumped by a best friend and it’s horribly painful. And there’s always two sides to every story but we’re usually so determined to be right, we never try to understand the other side of the story. In this book I get to look at both of their perspectives without prejudice and it’s something to learn from. And I think the reader, like the writer in this case, will wonder to the very last page if they can resume their friendship.
Q: The concept of forgiveness is important throughout the book, and several of the characters struggle to find ways to forgive each other and themselves for past mistakes. Why do you think forgiveness is so crucial to happiness, and why do you think it sometimes takes people such a long time to forgive?
A: I think the idea of forgiving is not only crucial, asking for forgiveness is even more so! Who among us won’t forgive if someone makes sincere amends? Most of what has to happen to patch up a tattered relationship is admitting you’re wrong and asking to be forgiven. Forgiving in a vacuum doesn’t change much but what everyone wants to hear from someone we think wronged us is a real apology. We can say we forgive a hateful person, we can say that gives us peace of mind, but if that person goes on being hateful, we’ll keep experiencing the pain of it.
In the case of Emma and Riley, they both made serious mistakes. I knew what it was going to take for them to get each other back. What I didn’t know until the whole story played out was whether they would do it.
Q: We have to ask, what’s next for you? What are you working on right now?
A: I’m at work on the second Sullivan’s Crossing novel, no title yet. It should be ready soon and out the beginning of April 2017.
I also enjoyed it. And I think the detective needs a story of his own 🙂