Title: Results May Vary by Bethany Chase
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From Bethany Chase—whom bestselling author Emily Giffin calls “a great new voice in fiction”—comes a wise and delightfully relatable novel about a woman’s journey to rebuild her life, and her heart, after a stunning betrayal.
Can you ever really know the person you love?
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, art curator Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a 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 “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.
Compassionate and uplifting, Results May Vary is a bittersweet celebration of the heart’s ability to turn unexpected troubles into extraordinary strength.
Heartwarming with a wonderful cast of vibrant characters, Results May Vary by Bethany Chase is a beautiful journey of self discovery and healing for lead protagonist Caroline Hammond.
Caroline and Adam have been together for sixteen years and their ten year marriage is seemingly perfect. Completely devoted to one another, they are courteous and thoughtful to each other and they seem to know each inside and out. When Caroline discovers that Adam is having an affair with photographer Patrick Timothy, she is beyond stunned. Needing time to process this inexplicable information, Caroline retreats to their home in the Berkshires where her best friend Jonathan and her sister Ruby provide her the support she needs to decide what to do next. Wavering back and forth on whether or not she wants to save her marriage, Caroline tries to make sense of who she is without Adam by her side.
Caroline is shocked, hurt, angry and betrayed after she learns about Adam’s affair. Completely blindsided by the fact her husband is attracted to men, she cannot help but wonder how well she really knows him. Of course the biggest question is whether or not their marriage can be saved, and her initial reaction is absolutely not. Once some of the shock and pain subside, Caroline realizes she loves Adam enough to give him a second chance, but she learns he has been keeping another secret from her. This discovery stops their tenuous reconciliation in its tracks since Caroline knows she will never be able to trust him again.
Although Caroline knows her marriage is truly over, she misses being part of a couple and while he hurt her deeply, she continues to miss Adam. She is quite reflective as she looks back on her life with Adam to see if there were hints or clues about him she might have missed or overlooked. She wants to understand why he broke their wedding vows, but Adam is frustratingly unable to provide her with an explanation. As time passes, Caroline begins to recognize the cracks in foundation of their relationship and she views Adam in a much more realistic light.
The secondary cast of characters is well-developed and for the most part, quite appealing. Caroline’s sister Ruby is fun-loving and vivacious. Her enthusiasm and zest for life are infectious and she easily convinces Caroline to step of her comfort zone. She has some pretty insightful observations about Adam that help Caroline understand her soon to be ex-husband much better. Caroline’s best guy pal Jonathan is larger than life and a straight shooter who tells it like it is. Caroline’s co-worker Neil Crenshaw is also absolutely wonderful and he is instrumental in helping her move forward. Despite the fact that Adam cheated on Caroline, he is a surprisingly sympathetic character. He is not completely honest with her until the novel’s conclusion and once they have a sincere heart to heart, Caroline is not only able to understand why he was unfaithful, but she is able to begin working on forgiving him.
Results May Vary by Bethany Chase is a captivating novel that is emotional yet gratifying. Although Caroline’s husband cheated on her with a man, her reactions are universal as she deals with feelings of inadequacy as she tries to make sense of this shocking discovery. The added burden of trying to understand his attraction to a man adds another layer to the complex and fascinating storyline. All in all, it is an engaging and insightful novel that I highly recommend to readers of contemporary women’s fiction.