Book Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach
Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Release date: Dec 1, 2017
Tour dates: Jan 3 to 31, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Adult themes including infidelity, occasional F-word, non-explicit sex scenes)
At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She's just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.
Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt's work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.
Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.
A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.
Degrees of Love is an emotionally gripping story of one woman's life as she gets caught up in an affair of the heart that turns into infidelity and changes her whole life. Slabach's character development and psychological portrayal of a career woman and mother who is emotionally starved caught my attention and didn't let go until the last page was turned. I read this book in almost one sitting. It was like sitting in a train that picks up speed to the point where you wonder how bad the crash is going to be and how unscathed you'll be from the ride.
Although I strongly believe that loyalty in marriage is sacred and I don't condone adultery, I can certainly understand that when it happens it is a signal that there is something wrong with a marriage. From a psychological perspective, I could empathize with the main character, even as I disagreed with her actions. I could still feel compassion for her emotional pain. And as a woman, my own emotions were all over the place as I became invested in the story.
It's been awhile since a book did that to me. Got me so carried away into a woman's life as she got caught into a love affair so intense that it overrode everything else even as she struggled with protecting her children and not hurting her husband. It emphasized to me the truth of how important it is for married couples to fulfil each other's physical and emotional needs.
Regarding content, this book explores the theme of infidelity, not as a light fun topic for a romance story, but as a sign of a broken marriage and the consequences that avoiding the painful process of fixing it can bring. And, oh yes, there are passionate sex scenes, not too explicit but "hot" nonetheless!
It's hard to believe this is Lisa Slabach's debut novel. To be able to build such tension, so much emotional upheaval and bring it to a realistic ending takes writing talent. This is an author to watch out for and I will eagerly be waiting for her next novel. Degrees of Love will be added to my best of 2018 list!
Praise for Degrees of Love:
"Slabach crafts a relatable, heartbreakingly real story that will no doubt resonate with those at a similar station in life: women who love their families yet yearn for just a little more—to feel wanted rather than needed, to feel passion rather than complacency. In engaging prose and through skillful storytelling, Slabach captivates with an all-too-familiar story that raises questions with no easy answers."
- Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"This does not read like a debut author’s book. Slabach shows herself to be adept at portraying the complex emotions of the human condition. Her characters live and breathe on the page in a way that every author strives for, but few actually manage. Susan’s struggles ring true, and the way she handles everything makes her a very likable and relatable character."
- Sarah Perry, San Francisco Book Review, 5 Stars
"Profound, heart wrenching and very emotional, it is hard to believe that Degrees of Love is a debut novel by Lisa Slabach. This is one of the best novels I have read this year."
- Rabia Tanveer, Readers' Favorite
To read more reviews, please visit Lisa Slabach's page on iRead Book Tours.
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