Saturday, June 30, 2012

My take on: Monarch Beach

What if you thought your entire marriage was a sham? What if you found out you've been betrayed by the person you loved the most for years? What would you do to change it? All those questions and more come about in Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes.

Heiress Amanda Blick thought her life was perfect. She's been married for 10 years and has an adorable eight-year-old son. She's made a nice life for herself in the quiet town of Ross, California. But in one moment Amanda will call into question her entire marriage.

Tuesday was supposed to be a good day for Amanda. Her son Max is at school and her husband Andre is working at his restaurant. Tuesday was the day Amanda set aside for herself. No PTA meetings or fund-raising to occupy her time. Nope! Tuesday was all about yoga and a muffin at her favorite cafe. But the cafe is out of her favorite strawberry muffin. So why not drop in on her gorgeous husband? Unfortunately, Amanda finds her husband with his legs wrapped around another woman. Too stunned to say anything, Amanda runs off in a fog.

Is this the first time? Is Andre in love with someone else? Is their marriage over? Amanda doesn't know what to do. She has spent the past decade-plus putting the happiness of others ahead of her own. She once dreamed of being a fashion designer. She was even accepted at Parsons, her dream school, but turned it down when she learned her father was dying. Amanda didn't want to look back on her life and regret not spending those last moments with her father. Going to college locally wasn't her dream, but to Amanda it was the right thing to do. When she meets Andre, he sweeps Amanda off her feet. It's like she's living in a fantasy land. After they get married, it seemed like Amanda lost herself in Andre. She gave up her own dreams, and became consumed with his happiness. She supported his dream of owning a restaurant. He won't accept financial help from his wife or her mother, he wants to do it on his own.

When Andre's dream finally comes true, Amanda is consumed with motherhood and Max's happiness. But what about Amanda? She has a best friend in Stephanie, who also happens to be Andre's business partner. It's Stephanie who opens Amanda's eyes about Andre. What Amanda witnessed wasn't the first of Andre's dalliances with other women. Reading it I thought, how many women will never know about their cheating husbands? Especially, if their favorite cafe DID have their favorite strawberry muffin that day? You could go through life eating strawberry muffins and not know what a scoundrel you've married.

Andre chalks up his infidelity to being French. Huh?!?!?! Is that an insult to French people? Don't they believe in monogamy. He comes across as such a JERK!! It's all about him. When Amanda and her mom take Max away to Laguna Beach for the summer, it's still all about Andre. Everything will go back to normal once Amanda realizes how much she loves her husband!!! Right!!!

While on vacation, Amanda explores what life could be like without Andre. She begins a relationship with Edward, a divorced lawyer turned restaurant owner. Wouldn't it make more sense to step outside of her comfort zone instead of getting involved with another foodie? It's a rebound relationship, what kind of future could they have? It's comfortable to be with Edward because he knows the pain of divorce. But once again it seemed like Amanda was forgetting her original purpose for the vacation. The trip was so her mother could get physically healthy and so Amanda could get emotionally healthy. How healthy is it to jump into a relationship when you're not even divorced yet?

I was very engaged in the whole story. I wanted to see how Amanda would get away from her jerk husband. I'm not married, but I'm sure there is a lot married and divorced women can relate to. How do you move on? What about the kids? Was the marriage a sham? Can you love again? However, I did feel that the resolution to Amanda's problems came too easily. Not everyone has the advantages she has. To understand what I'm talking about you have to read the book!!

Rating: Superb

Note: I received an e-galley from the publisher (Macmillan) at the author's request in exchange for an honest review.

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