■Synopsis <Excerpt from Goodreads>
I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.
Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.
I want it to hurt.
Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students. She gave up her dreams so he could make it. Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors. And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.
She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing. And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers. It will be her greatest acting role ever.
Revenge is sweet. Isn’t it?
■ My Thoughts
I was a bit ambivalent about this book in the beginning; it’s got a strong introduction, but the middle part felt a bit slowed and drag. It was the very last part of the book that made me had a change of heart. The remaining 100 pages to be more precise.
This book opens up with what I found a very strong first chapter where Paula finds her husband having an affair for God knows how long with Saskia, a co-starr for the show who ironically plays the role of Robert’s wife in the show.
This revelation (confession) part was really well done. Paula’s shock and devastation definitely registered and left a strong impression on me. I had a good feeling about this book.
However, the whole ‘revenge’ plot felt a bit hackneyed, immature and even over-the-top. Teaming up with Saskia’s husband who happens to be the producer of the drama and tweaking/rewriting the character settings/plot for the drama just in order to get even with them didn’t sit well with me. It even felt a bit unrealistic and implausible. I must admit I was a bit put off by it.
The middle part felt a bit plain and redandunt, too. In Part two, we start to follow the story from two POVs, one of Paula as in Part 1 and another of Saskia’s. The story is told by the very two people in the middle of the mess, you’d think things would only get interesting and entertaining. But for me, it didn’t work that way. Partially, it did. But I was just kind of along for the ride, I wasn’t emotionally stirred that much.
That being said though, there are some very strong scenes that totally entertained me. For instance, I enjoyed reading how Paula’s attempts to hold ‘bonding’ sessions with Robert to rekindle the flame of love fall through, how her attempts to carry a conversation like the old times fall flat by Robert’s curt one-word responses. I personally found it really well-done. Felt very realistic.
I also adore the unexpected waft of romance between Josh and Paula that springs from their concoction of revenge schemes; as time goes by their dynamics change and start to form a strong bond after the initial shock of their spouses’ affair. It was pretty heart-tingling and made me want to read MORE of this side of the story.
The author did a good job of developing totally different voices of Paula and Saskia. As I mentioned earlier, we start to follow those two voices from Part 2 and get to the bottom of things what is really going on.
Paula’s voice is compliant and down-to-earth while Saskia’s reflects her conceited, bitchy personal traits. I’m not usually good at following multiple perspectives (as you can guess), but their voices are so disctinct that I didn’t get confused for once. I particularly enjoyed following Saskia’s POV; she thinks she’s got the upper hand over Paula and that she wraps Paula around her finger, but in actuality… I won’t reveal the plot, but it’s glorious.
There’s not much to say about the characters, but Paula’s self-development was a joy to read. She used to be one of those who loathes any form of physical exertions, but with a strong resolve to get a revenge on Robert and Saskia, she engages herself in walking/running and even signs up for a gym. In the process, she becomes comfortable with her physique and gains confidence in herself. Character developments is definitely my thing; I loved that.
This book is basically unpredictable. Despite a bit lackluster middle-part, there are some surprising twists and turns of events scattered throughout the book. It’s like having a huge twist coming when you start to feel bored. Twist after twist after twist. I would probably have been on the verge of giving up on this book had there not been this sense of suspense; that was what kept me going and I am glad that I persevered. The last twist coming in the last 30 pages was totally engrossing, immersive. That sucked me in the story and made me flip-flop my mind about this book.
With a brilliant, rewarding ending, I decided to push up my rating from 3 to 3.75 out of 5 stars. What kind of rating is this, you think? But I’m still debating whether to give this book 4 stars…