Degrees of Love
To any outsider, Susan Sinclair has it all: a successful career, good looks, a husband who loves his family, and two wonderful sons. At 37, Susan is living the American dream. She gets a well-deserved promotion and, with it, a new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Not only is Reese handsome, but he sparks something in Susan the moment they meet. The chemistry is undeniable, and soon Susan finds herself realizing that she’s been lonely in her marriage for years. With no close girlfriends to fall back on, Reese gladly fills the role of friend, confidant, and romantic interest. Susan is forced to deeply evaluate her needs, wants, and desires both for herself and her family.
This book is a finely honed piece of writing. From the very first page, the reader is pulled into Susan’s head, and we see, feel, and agonize over everything she does. The pacing is spot-on perfect. The plot and characterization build naturally and flawlessly, which keeps the pages turning. Susan is a richly developed and nuanced character. The subtle, yet realistic, changes in Susan’s thoughts and actions feel entirely genuine. Although the story is told in first-person from Susan’s point of view, even the actions and words of the other characters are rich and realistic. Both Reese and Susan’s husband, Matt, are well-developed and change over the course of the book.
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.
This book would make an excellent choice for book discussion groups or even a group of girlfriends who want to get together and talk books. Although all aspects of the relationships between Susan, Matt, and Reese are explored to some degree, it leaves the reader with plenty to consider and talk about.
There was nothing about this book that was lacking in any way. Slabach has proven herself as a writer to watch. This is an extraordinarily well-written book that will leave readers turning the pages as fast as they can to see how it will all turn out. The ending is surprising and satisfying all at the same time. Very highly recommended.