Book Reviews

Tempting Fate by Jane Green

17934385[1]Number one bestselling author Jane Green gives a powerful portrayal of a marriage rocked by betrayal in the stunning Tempting Fate.

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?” ~ Goodreads


After coming off of reading The Other Half by Sarah Rayner (another new release about adultery) I was worried this was going to be too much. Too much emotion, too much adultery, too much heartache. But this was an entirely different story which put the protagonist and happily married Gabby in the midst of a moment in time which she can not undo.

Gabby’s story felt real to me. A woman in her early forties, happy in her life with teenage children and a secure, comfortable marriage. Really she could want for nothing. Except like many women at this age where your children need you a little less, marriage is in routine mode, career has been stalled, age is looming and yet there is something missing. Once upon a time this forty-something crowd was turning heads, maybe earning a catcall (despised but secretly loving it). Going out years ago meant dressing up and hitting the trendy scene. But now, forced to get out of the mom uniform of yoga pants and making an effort to stay current feels like work. These forty-somethings know what turns their husbands’ heads. They hear who they think is “hot”, how longer hair is “youthful” and stilettos are much sexier than the comfortable ballet flats. So they try. They make an effort. Maybe they are comfortable in their own skin. Forty and fearless. Forty and fabulous. No longer needing to prove themselves. But still.

“In their thirties, all her friends wore the same dull uniforms, but suddenly in their forties, these same girls are reemerging from their self-imposed cocoons, eschewing the dull blanket of motherhood and grind, emerging in a flurry of bright chiffons and silks as their children no longer needed babysitters, tripping out on girls’ nights out in impossibly high heels and blown-out silky hair they flick flirtatiously, wanting to be seen.”

So what if at the monthly GNO a man pays attention? A man ten years younger? The type who forty-something housewives text to each other secretly garnering a little sigh and a swoon. Those unattainable guys that end up on Pinterest boards (even the secret boards) with cute little “Hey Girl…” snarky captions. What if that guy paid attention? Not the creeper. Innocent flirting. Actually was interested in hearing your thoughts and feelings and paid attention to you. Tempting, right? No, you would never cheat. Never. Never be one of those types. But who exactly are those types?

Green’s story is one of real people. She touches on so many topics with honesty, humor and insight. Everyone plays a part. There is no one person to blame for this weak moment of judgment that can not be taken back. Instead of Gabby wallowing in her choice and a consequence she has to live with, she pulls herself up by her bootstraps and takes responsibility. Fully. I loved that about her. To err is human and all that. Maybe it is her stiff upper lip English ways, but I was cheering and rooting for her the entire story. The way she handled herself, her children, her husband and friends in the aftermath was a redeeming quality.

And I just love this quote by Gabby’s mother reciting Carl Jung’s quote in reference to being older, entering “the afternoon of life”:

“Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.”

There are many gender role topics to discuss about this story and I can see books clubs bubbling up with debates and discussion. (Wish I still had my book club for this one…I know I would be in the mix) If the husband was a jerk, would it have been OK? If the husband was the cheater, would it have been expected? Other things I can’t bring up to give anything away. Even in 2014, the stereotypes are still blazingly old school. A woman breaking up the home? How dare she? Can’t she sacrifice more for her family? It’s almost expected of men to be the dog in the relationship. Tempting Fate is beautifully relevant and covers topics that need to be discussed. Preferably with a bottle of wine. 😉

Jane Green is a wonderful Women’s Lit author and her writing seems to be maturing with her “aging gracefully” audience. The ending, some might say, was wrapped up in a neat little bow but I disagree. Nothing is neat and tidy about what happened in Gabby’s life after the affair. But I think what spoke volumes was the choice to be a family no matter what happened. Loving family members can consist of “exes” and “steps” and “halves” and friends and neighbors and cousins and whomever you want around you at the end of the day to share life’s journey. It takes hard work and struggle and forgiveness and acceptance, maybe even some humor, no matter what.

*Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the uncorrected digital galley of Tempting Fate. I was not compensated or required to review this title. All quotes might have been changed in final printed copy.

To learn more about Jane Green, her books and upcoming events, please visit her site here.

One thought on “Tempting Fate by Jane Green

  1. I enjoyed your review — I’ve never read anything by Jane Green, but I hear wonderful things and I’m hosting her for an author event in a few weeks. My ARC just arrived and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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