Published by Ballantine Books on August 9th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a manÔÇöa revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an ÔÇ£IÔÇØ instead of a ÔÇ£weÔÇØ; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpectedÔÇöand potentially disastrousÔÇöattraction she canÔÇÖt get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husbandÔÇÖs other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that storyÔÇÖs ending will mean forgiving the man sheÔÇÖs loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.
5++ Stars and 2016 #MustRead
Three weeks and a second read through of Results May Vary and I feel as torn up as I can be. It was the second read through where I experienced the big ÔÇ£ugly cryÔÇØ which has only happened with a book a handful of times this year. The second read through though? How is that possible IÔÇÖd cry harder knowing what I already knew? Mostly everything the main character Caroline experiences is foreign to me, yet I GOT every emotion. Bethany Chase has most definitely set a new bar in women’s fiction. Results May Vary is an outstanding book about relationships; marital, sibling, and friendship, but most importantly the about the relationship we have with ourselves and how our identities are formed through romantic partnership.
Caroline (Care/Caro) Hammond has been in a happy little bubble, which makes her husband Adams’ betrayal referred to in the synopsis all the more shocking. As I reflect on the story I can feel my blood pressure rise. I wanted her to want to take him back, but then a line is crossed and a huge realization that sheÔÇÖs never really had him hits~ OUCH! Adam gave her a ÔÇ£portraitÔÇØ of what he thinks she needs, creating his version of who she is, one she seems to live up up and leaves her second guessing her identity – almost everything of who she is , who she understands herself to be, is questioned. This can be a good thing but getting to the space in one’s head and heart is pure torture. I stayed with Caroline as she takes a stand, as she tries to move on, as her emotions backslide, and then the grim reality hits home once again. I couldnÔÇÖt imagine how she would ever heal from the breach of trust and tries to reason through what this means to she is.
ÔÇ£…leaving would mean losing the entire narrative of my future as I thought IÔÇÖd known it.ÔÇØ
Adam Hammond narrative is so much more complex and it left me reeling. I felt every bit of CarolineÔÇÖs confusion about what heÔÇÖd done TO THEM. Yes, that’s my stance and Caroline is well justified in labeling his betrayal this way. His biggest problem is that he lacks the ability to be honest and itÔÇÖs the one thing that he owes Caroline. He is confounding at┬áevery step of the way. HeÔÇÖs selfish and has this need to be the expert all things ÔÇ£CarolineÔÇØ and it seems to be his way of justifying his betrayal. He believes that she belongs to him, but he doesn’t seem to understand the concept on the flip side and thatÔÇÖs what makes this book so complex. Chase tackles this boldly and in subtle twists in the story line and with CarolineÔÇÖs ever shifting emotions:
ÔÇ£The thing I had forgottenÔÇö if I had ever really realized it at allÔÇö was that breaking up with Adam didnÔÇÖt only mean removing myself from a source of pain; it meant removing myself from a source of deep-seated joy. It meant actually losing him. Actually being without him, every day.ÔÇØ
It took a lot to make me go from despising him to feeling sympathy for him but Chase manages just that and simply put, Caroline’s capacity for forgiveness is astounding and inspirational.
Caroline is surrounded by some wonderful secondary characters and having her life flipped upside down means that all her close relationships shift in some ways. One bright spot is the change in her relationship with her sister Ruby. I simply adored her. SheÔÇÖs painted as a mostly flaky younger sister but sheÔÇÖs more pragmatic than she lets on and really helps to guide Caroline through the some of the hardest moments. And Jonathan – dear, dear Jonathan. HeÔÇÖs the friend that has ALWAYS been there, for both Adam and Caroline, but bless his southern gentleman’s heart as his loyalty is firmly with Caroline. And then thereÔÇÖs Neil. He was another shining light and a delightful surprise. Although the situations are different and the primary motivating feelings very far apart, he and Caroline share a unique emotion in that they are both grieving the loss of their spouse. Caroline questions if that a good emotional to have between them and in the end I’d like to think so.
Results May Vary is probably one of the most heartbreaking reads about the implosion of a marriage that I’ve read. It’s layered with complexity of personality changes and for Caroline it leads to the celebration of finding a new path, one thatÔÇÖs real. ItÔÇÖs a tough journey for sure and Chase keeps it feeling authentic. IÔÇÿm not a BIG fan of stories centering around infidelity but I tend to read them almost seeking out the angst. Results May Vary had me interested as the premise is unique and I wanted to see where it would go. I suppose I wonder how forgiveness will work – is it really possible to to get past it without holding onto the hurt and doubts? What is the affair about; love, sex, a connection missing between the couple? These stories will never be light and fluffy, but invariable I tend to romanticize things and want the couple to be together and I end up spending the entire read fretting about it. It takes a skilled author to guide me through these feelings and who can authentically capture the emotional intensity that the betrayal surrounding infidelity invokes. This book has left me with the mother of all book hangovers and is one of my 2016 5++ Stars and a #MustRead.
~Review By Cyndi