“Her Unexpected Life (Treasures of Briarton Book 1)”
Release Date: October 26, 2016
The trauma of divorce is never easy even when you can see it coming. To have it thrown at you from left field…by text message…is unthinkable. But this is what happens to Valerie Cooper. With her life suddenly thrown in upheaval, Valerie seeks to keep her head above water … and her sanity intact.
This well-developed read captures another side of the spitefulness of divorce, and the devastation it leaves in its wake. What Valerie first believes to be a joke, turns into a nightmare. Soon-to-be-ex-husband, Curtis, has not only left her, he’s moved in with another woman. The devoted stay-at-home mom beats herself up for not seeing the signs of trouble in her marriage. Or did she see them and convince herself otherwise? I lean towards the latter, because Valerie Cooper is simply too nice … and it’s a problem … for her and for me.
Without trying to, and without realizing that she has, Valerie has pushed everything out of her life except for her husband and kids, and extended family. She’s built a wonderful home life for her family, and loves nothing better than chauffeuring her girls around to their activities. The only thing Valerie has for herself is her love of writing and dreams of becoming a published author. But, now that Curtis has walked away, Valerie realizes just how ‘empty’ her life is. Pushing her dreams to the back burner, Valerie brainstorms on how to support her girls, Paige and Amelia, who are far more intuitive than Valerie gives them credit for. Still, Valerie, with the best of intentions…and for all the wrong reasons…chooses to keep the impending divorce from the girls until the end of the school year.
And this is when the fight breaks out between me and Valerie.
Slimy, arrogant, scum-sucking Curtis has waltzed on to his new life, told Valerie she, their girls and everything connected with them are no longer good enough for him and his new woman, and yet …she still allows him to control her life!!! She cannot tell anyone about his leaving or the eventual divorce until HE’S ready! And Valerie AGREES! WTH? I wanted to scream! I think I did scream…for women and the sisterhood everywhere! I have respect for Valerie, and I do not dislike her, but how many times must you be kicked in the face before you fight back?
Valerie would take two steps forward; slime ball Curtis would show up and send her four steps back. To be fair, and in her defense, I honestly don’t believe Valerie knew HOW to fight back. She had great running internal monologues, but the only ones that came to fruition were the “mom outfits” – dressing ‘down’ and plain to keep her sexy new friend, Luke, from becoming interested in her. Those scenes made me laugh out loud! Luke is a good as Curtis is bad, yet Luke has revealed his past transgressions to Valerie. Will he revert to his old ways if she allows him into her life?
Luke becomes a good friend to Valerie, partly because she doesn’t have any, and partly because of his own past. He does what he can to make her situation less stressful, but of course, good old Val is her own worst enemy, and exacerbates things every time. When slime ball Curtis is seen out and about town TWICE with his new woman (okay, okay – her name is WENDY) by family members, and Valerie begs them to not say anything to anyone else about it, I knew for a fact she didn’t live in Briarton, but in STEPFORD! *Shaking my head. *
Valerie Cooper chooses the high road on the way to her new life (which is good, since Curtis has a lock on the low road), and navigation is not easy. Most of the situations and predicaments Valerie hopes to avoid, she ends up smack dab in the middle of. But Valerie finds that even when she gets the worst-case scenario, it doesn’t break her and life goes on. Valerie has an “interesting” assortment of family that supports her…in their own way. I’m just a bit in awe at how accepting everyone was of Curtis’ behavior AND stipulations, and no one gave him a good smack upside the head.
Trying to reconcile her feelings for Luke, Valerie’s internal thoughts are a jumbled mess. She spends too much time trying to second-guess everyone else, especially Luke and his motives. It is only when she learns to trust herself, that her confidence grows and Valerie can trust others again.
Curtis gets off too easily for me. His mother was right, and he gets an excuse…a reason, after upending the lives of his wife and children. I would have loved to see the “new” Valerie give him a come-to-Jesus-talk! And what of his wom-, er, I mean, Wendy? Karma is waiting.
Definitely an enjoyable read that I quickly became invested in. Take the trip to Briarton, and tell Valerie Cooper I sent you!