Title: When Girlfriends Let Go by Savannah Page
Publisher: Pearls and Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 537 pages
A novel about love, self-discovery, and realizing sometimes you have to let go.
Jackie Kittredge is the consummate drama queen living the charmed life. She’s enthusiastic, outspoken, and is always looking for a good time. At twenty-seven she’s got a swanky Seattle townhouse, a wealthy husband, a designer wardrobe, the best of girlfriends, and a calendar filled not with meetings and deadlines, but spa appointments and happy hour reminders. On the outside, she’s got it all.
On the inside, though, Jackie’s charmed life isn’t as it seems. She’s seeing a therapist, battling the demons of coming from a broken home and a past of promiscuity and heavy drinking. She can be selfish and demanding, sometimes even wearing her best friends thin. And now her marriage—what she thought could be her solid foundation—is on the rocks. Her husband Andrew spends nearly all his time at the office (and possibly with his secretary), and apologizes for his absence with lavish gifts and empty promises.
Miserable and desperate, Jackie questions if her marriage is worth fighting for. Then a string of events begins to put things into perspective…into a perspective she didn’t quite anticipate. With her best friends by her side and some tough love, Jackie finds herself not only asking if she’s where she belongs, but if she’s who she’s supposed to be.
This is a passionate story about having to answer some of life’s most important and difficult questions. It’s a story about fear, courage, and personal growth. About what happens when girlfriends let go.
While this Women’s Fiction novel is Book #6 in the When Girlfriends collection, it can be read as a stand-alone.
I take a long, slow drag on my cigarette as I lean against the ice-cold, steel railing of the balcony that wraps around my luxurious townhouse. The muffled post-five-o’clock traffic sounds that travel up these twelve floors have retired for the evening. At quarter past eight on a Friday most businessmen, however stressed and strapped, are home from the office.
Those unsettling thoughts of my marriage that crept up at Randy’s are still plaguing me, nearly a week later. They were there before—long before, actually; perhaps a little more light was shed on those thoughts during the discussion of Nathan and Lara. Right now, it’s just me and these disconcerting thoughts as I stand alone in the crisp winter night. Just me, wondering how the hell I went from the altar as an excited, blushing bride, to a woman too often unhappy in her marriage—looking for a fix, maybe even a way out.
The story of how Andrew and I met and fell in love wasn’t exactly something out of a Cary Grant film. No meet-cute, no coy romance, no charming repartee. Yes, there was me, a damsel so often in distress; yes, there was the knight, Andrew, in very shiny armor. There was attraction, there was fondness, there was love—but an affair to remember? Ha!
No, the way I met, fell in love with and eventually married my knight was not in the style of one of my many beloved romantic, black-and-white films. It was me, Jackie Anderson, a twenty-six-year-old hostess, desperately trying to hold onto one of the only jobs I’d survived long enough to earn a full payroll, always on the prowl for a potential relationship—someone to save me from myself, or at least boredom…or poverty.
And then there was Andrew Kittredge, a successful, attractive, and sophisticated businessman, nearly twice my age, looking for a bite to eat but ending up getting much more than he paid for. There was a bit of flirting, a wad of cash handed to my boss to get me off my hostess duties that night for a date, and sparks that danced spiritedly over drinks, dinner, and dancing. Lather, rinse, repeat—you get the picture. Hot attraction and flirty fun, but certainly not a classic Hollywood romance.
Taking another drag, I survey the deep blue Elliott Bay, on past to Puget Sound. Two ferries are leaving the city, probably filled with happy couples who have made plans for a weekend of R&R in Bremerton or a romantic evening on Bainbridge Island. I blow out a steady stream of smoke and lightly chuckle at the imagery of a damsel in distress, high up in her tower, waiting for her knight to ride on in and scoop her into his arms. Oh, irony and it’s not-so-subtle ways.
Some might think our love story is actually charming in its own way. Some of my best girlfriends think it a bit crazy that I was kind of “bought” for our first date. I think it set the precedent for what would eventually become our marriage. Andrew sees what he wants, he goes after it, and if that means paying whatever price, so be it. When I see a man who’s willing to offer me love (and lasso the moon), I’m no fool. When we fall in love and exchange vows, well, maybe we’re both the fools, then.
I rub out the nub of a cigarette and immediately smack another one out of the pack.
Whatever started back at that jazz bar two and a half years ago eventually culminated into what is, thirteen months later, my marriage to Mr. Andrew Kittredge. Often they call marriage “taking the plunge,” but I think the plunging begins a couple months into the marriage. I don’t know; every couple’s different. God knows Claire, who’s been married to her college sweetheart Conner for nearly half a year now, would say that “the plunge” only applies to people who aren’t marrying their soul mate.
Even if some plunging does occur in my marriage, and regardless of when, I honestly do believe that Andrew’s my soul mate. I’ve dated a lot of assholes and wasted plenty of time on men who were boys. Andrew’s the real deal; the best I’ve ever had. I do believe he loves me, he does try to treat me like a princess, and I know he’d never allow for another man to come between us…or for someone to hurt me. And I love my husband. I married him for his charm, his care, his passion, and his expressed and deep love for me. And, yes, I won’t lie—his copious amounts of wealth made signing that marriage certificate a little easier.
I come from a broken and poor home. Getting showered with expensive gifts and whisked off on exotic trips is the royal perk of being the apple of a rich man’s eye. But it certainly isn’t what made me decide to marry Andrew, no matter what those judgmental onlookers might think when they see a mature man with a twenty-something on his arm. If I was looking for marriage for money, I could’ve run off to Vegas with Phil the thick-walleted car salesman from West Seattle or decided to “take the plunge” with the U Dub golfer and Tau Sigma honors student senior year, trust fund, adenoids, and all.
No, I love Andrew. He’s the one I was meant to marry. Can I stay married to him, though? That’s the question that’s gnawing so deeply at me.
Is being soul mates enough in a marriage? Does it mean you stay together when the relationship that made you believe you were soul mates to begin with has changed beyond recognition? When people change, when situations change, when life changes… Can you love someone with all your heart but let go and love from afar? What do you do when your marriage becomes a stranger, when you begin to think you just might be better off alone?
Savannah Page is the author of the seven-novel When Girlfriends collection, heartfelt women’s fiction that celebrates friendship, love, and life sprinkled with drama and humor. When she isn’t writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat.
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