Camille Harte makes her living as a matchmaker. When she receives the diagnosis she's dreaded and learns she has only six months to live, she decides to do the unthinkable: Find a replacement wife for her husband. It's a set-up only international mega-bestseller Eileen Goudge could concoct. Goudge's consistent sixteen New York Times bestsellers include Garden of Lies, Once in a Blue Moon, Woman in Red, Domestic Affairs, and The Diary.
©2012 Eileen Goudge. All rights reserved. (P)2012 AudioGo
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
My goodness this was a long book filled with numbingly unnecessary details. I was attracted to the book for its premise, but I was unable to connect with the characters because I found the writing stilted and self conscious – I doubt the author ever met an adjective she didn’t like. The dialogue resembled the arch and self-aware conversations between soap opera characters, which this plot (for me) resembled. A major flaw was the habit of darting down rabbit trails in the form of overly detailed back stories on minor characters whom we see in a single scene and never again, and who do nothing to progress the storyline. It felt as though Ms. Goudge tried to make the characters real by sheer weight of information, when finding a way to portray their hearts would have done. A strong editor was needed to trim this down to size.
Accentuating the disappointing writing was the reading by Susan Boyce. If a reading style had posture, this story was told with the upright posture of a whaleboned corset. When Camille's husband's shoulders slumped in discouragement, it was pronounced with hearty "can do" determination. Boyce pronounced every word with the clipped precision of an elocution teacher, constantly inserting little micro pauses commonly used by TV news magazine reporters for ear catching emphasis. Ok for a news story, but ineffective in creating empathy for a character. Would have been better to read in print.
Or that other platitude applies: "we make plans and God laughs".The premise of this book is either the epitome of micromanagement from the grave, or the best way to take care of your loved ones after you're "gone", i.e. dead. Only trouble with that idea is that what if you get waylaid on the way to your funeral, and get to live, and actually see your spouse hook up with someone else?
I love unusual hypotheticals like this, books that explore the "what if" factor. That's one of the reasons I read, to find out what happens when you stir the pot, test an alternative idea or two, get stuck in a tree and then try and get down.
I can see the sense in the idea from the children's perspective - why not interview your prospective replacement and make sure your family is kept intact, loved and cared for, and continues as before? But the thing is, people tend to have minds of their own, and what if your spouse takes the problem off your hands and you lose control of the plan?
The only fault I can find here is that some of the plot lines were way too detailed, and I couldn't make myself care about all the minor characters and their stories. Goudge does a good job of keeping it all under narrative control, but I kept wanting her to go back to what I thought was the "main" story, and became impatient with some of the meandering.
Anyway, I'll close with another platitude: be careful what you wish for.
Formulaic, predictable storyline and insipid characters.
If this had been a library book I would have abandoned it before finishing. But since it was audio and I needed something for the commute I stuck it out. It was a relief to finally get to the predictable end.
Thoughtful, insightful, emotional
The characters were really brought to life and made one pause as to what they would do in a similar situation.
Camille was so strong.
What a tedious, predictable soap opera. A successful career woman (Camille), with two beautiful homes, a handsome, "George Clooney" lookalike for a husband (Edward), and a darling son and daughter, battles cancer. Camille (please Eileen, don't insult our intelligence in the future with such an obvious name choice) decides to find a wife to replace her after she dies.
I guess she assumes that after her husband loses his wife, and his children lose their mother, they will immediately embrace wife/mommy #2 and then the good times will roll. No mourning period necessary.
Although Hubby is initially against this crazy plan, he eventually gives in to Camille, (what, he has no backbone?), and surprisingly hearts are broken and he ends up having an affair with another woman (Angie), who works as a caterer hired by Camille for her matchmaking parties. Sure didn't see that one coming.
And then, miracle of miracles, a new experimental drug treatment puts Camille's cancer in remission. Oh no! Hubby has fallen in love with Angie! Although he tries to hold the marriage together by dumping Angie and attending counseling sessions with Camille, he just can't get the new and improved model out of his mind.
Dearest readers, can you guess how this story ends? Camille and Edward divorce, and the handsome doctor marries Angie, who is expecting a baby at the end of the story. Camille realizes that although she is alone now, she's been given a new start and life goes on.
I could not sympathize with, nor did I like any of the characters in this book. Camille is a control freak who was trying to manipulate her husband's and children's lives from the grave, Edward is a self-absorbed narcissist, but then so is Angie, who uses every excuse in the book to rationalize her behavior as a cheater.
A total waste of time, and the only reason I finished this book was that I didn't want to feel as if I'd wasted my credit. Now I realize I've lost 17 hours of my life I'll never get back. Don't waste your time or your Audible credits. There are much better books out there.
I really didn't know if I would like this book, but I decided to give it a try. Despite the strange premise, it was well written, and up until the end I was not sure how it would end. I was conflicted about how I Wanted it to end, which is a nice change from most books that become predictable two thirds of the way thru. Nice pick.
The story was ridiculous. I didn't like a single person. But what was the worst part was the narrator. She had The. Most. Stacatto. Voice. Ever. and it DROVE. ME. CRAZY.
Hated this book. Didn't finish it.
Not write it
Her voice was AWFUL. Every. Word. Was. Like. A. Sentence.
Absolutely nothing! As always Eileen Goudge is at her best.
The dying wife who didn't die! Been there!
She's a great reader and I totally loved listening to her!
sadness a bit of anger, but overall, a great book with lots of life-lessons!
Great book just as I knew it would be!
This story evoked some powerful emotions, which, I suppose means that it was done well. I have to say I was thoroughly engrossed. If not an enjoyable experience (difficult subject matter) it was certainly interesting, and the reader did a good job.
I could see the ending of the book from the very beginning. It made me angry the way the author protrayed the wife as the victim when she was the one who came up with the brain storm to find her husband a
Pleasnt to listen to.
The scene in the counseling office when Cam yells at Edward regardin his cheating on her.
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