Review : Best Intentions

Best Intentions by Emily Listfield
Pages : 338
Genre : Women fiction, mystery
My Rating : 

In the last weeks, I have read many good reviews of this book, enough for me to add it to my list of books I’d like to read.  Sheri from Bookopolis had written a good review in which she presented this book as a mix between women fiction and mystery, which made me even more curious about it. When the opportunity to review this book was presented to me, I immediately took it – and I wasn’t disappointed!

After tossing and turning all night, thirty-nine-year-old Lisa Barkley wakes up well before her alarm sounds.  As Lisa looks over at her sleeping husband, Sam, she can’t help but feel that their fifteen-year marriage is in a funk that she isn’t able to place. She tries to shake it off and tells herself that the strain must be due to their mounting financial pressures. But later that morning, as her family eats breakfast in the next room, Lisa finds herself checking Sam’s voicemail and hears a whispered phone call from a woman he is to meet that night. Is he having an affair?

When Lisa shares her suspicions with her best friend, Deirdre, at their weekly breakfast, Deirdre claims it can’t be true. But how can Lisa fully trust her opinion when Deirdre is still single and mired in an obsessive affair with a glamorous photographer even as it hovers on the edge of danger? When Deirdre’s former college flame, Jack, comes to town and the two couples meet to celebrate his fortieth birthday, the stage is set for an explosive series of discoveries with devastating consequences.

The complete story is narrated to us by Lisa, and I thought she was a fantastic narrator. She felt inscredibly real; she worried, she cried, she laughed, and I could feel each of her emotions through the pages. Listfield’s prose translates Lisa’s feelings in a beautiful way that feels close to life and very honest, and she brings the reader to question everything with Lisa.

The mystery evolves slowly, but it builds the characters in such a way that I felt like I knew them. I could imagine them perfectly, both physically and emotionally, which made the questions and the doubts they face even more understandable. I also loved how she centered on the details of the everyday life, the routine. Those are exactly the kind of details that help you understand the characters in a more subtle way, as if you lived with them.  As the end of the story nears, you never stop wondering. Even when you think you know how it will end, an another detail is revealed and you question your judgement.

I have to agree with Sheri’s review; the book really felt like a mix of the two genres, and in a positive way. The “mystery” part seems to arrive late in the book, but it fact, it only makes sense; looking back to the beginning of the book, I realized how everything, every detailed matter to bring the reader to the end. It’s not really about who did it, but more about what led to this point. And like in real life, in the end, nothing is completely, magically resolved.

One last thing I’d like to share with you is a quote that made me giggle a little. Although it might not be the most representative of the book itself, I found it to be somewhat funny considering that I, myself, was a blogger reading this book for a review. This is said by Rita, a not really important character with really bad language habits as you can see (I assure you the main characters have cleaner tongues!) page 45 ;

“What is it with this blogging shit anyway?” she demands. “Who the f*** cares what a bunch of pasty-assed twenty-year-olds who can’t score real jobs think?”

Haha! Loved that!

I know I loved a book when after the last page, I end up on the internet looking for what else the author wrote, and where can I get it. It is exactly what happened with Best Intentions, and so I thank Lauren for sending it to me. 🙂 I’d give it more something like a 4.25, so maybe my rating will change from 4 to 4.5 once I’ve had more time to think about it, but I certainly enjoyed it.

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3 responses to “Review : Best Intentions”

  1. Megan says :

    I really enjoyed this one, too! It was very different from anything else I’ve read lately, which is awesome.

  2. emilylistfield says :

    I’m so glad you liked my novel! Thanks – and I love to hear what readers think so hope you all stay in touch.

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