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  • Hannah Fielding - Romance Novelist

From the blurb:

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him – even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt . . .

Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.

Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?

Gabby is having a mid-life crisis. She loves her husband, but has itchy feet:

I am a doctor’s wife, she thinks. Which is exactly what it sounds like. Stable. Safe. And just a tiny bit dull. Briefly, she indulges in a fantasy. What if she were a dot-com billionaire’s wife?

When she meets Matt – the dotcom billionaire – she develops something of an obsession for him. She tells herself it’s okay, but of course she’d never have an affair. And yet she does, and the results of just one intimate moment together destroy her family.

I was delighted to receive an advanced proof of this book from the publisher, having read and enjoyed bestselling women’s fiction author Jane Green before. I found this to be an intelligent, thought-provoking, true-to-life book. Amid Gabby’s story, there’s a lot of commentary about adultery and divorce and what it means to be a wife, a mother, and a woman of a certain age.

It’s a book that depicts an emotional journey – don’t expect a packed, twisting plot with lots of action, but instead plenty of exploration of feelings. There’s also some quite down-to-earth erotic content that allies with Gabby’s need to be outside of her usual, safe realm:

Gabby is no longer a forty-three-year-old housewife, no longer a mother, no longer dull, well into middle-age. She is thirty, twenty, eighteen. She is wild and ferocious. She doesn’t care about stretch marks , or sags, or pouches; she cares only about pleasure, giving and receiving more pleasure than she had thought possible.

My one struggle in the book was with the character of Gaby. After her affair, when she realises the mistake, I found it easier to like her and empathise with her. But before, when she’s rushing headlong into it all the while protesting loudly that she’s still a loyal wife and a good mother (despite the fact she’s rather inconsistent in her approach to her children, partly adoring them, partly wanting to keep out of their lives), I was uncomfortable in the reading. But I think that’s exactly the point – exactly how the reader is meant to feel. Without worrying about Gaby at the start, we can’t celebrate with her at the end when she is wiser and more appreciative of what she has; when she finally accepts, as her mother tells her:

We are exactly where we need to be.

A wonderful read, especially for those women with experience of marriage and children. And without wishing to spoil the read, if you’re put off this book because you think it will be depressing with a sad ending, don’t be.

Tempting Fate is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.

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