Category Archives: Tracey Garvis-Graves

COVET by TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES

covet cover

 

SYNOPSIS

What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?

Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.

Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.

Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross

covet

Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte

JennyWell G, what a real and honest story this was. When we discussed Covet, there were two observations we both made immediately and that was:
1) Tracey Garvis Graves is a readers dream. Her words are a caress and the subtlety in which she unravels a story is truly beautiful.
2) Covet felt so real and a lot women will relate to aspects of this story.  In fact, we feel that every woman should read this story.  It was as if we were voyeurs to parts of our own lives to some degree, don’t you agree G?

Gitte: No doubt about it Jenny. Tracey’s writing is pure class. It’s flawless and effortless. I get swept up every time and just experience the story as I immerse myself in the lives of her characters. Absolutely beautiful writing. As for Covet, the story is as real as they come. I don’t think there’s any married couple out there who wouldn’t relate to some aspects of this story. And how refreshing to read about mature and settled characters with real problems rather than over the top drama’s.

Jenny:  It was a refreshing change Gitte and parts of Covet did feel quite personal to us at times didn’t it? After all, we’ve both personally been affected with the same issues as Claire in that , at some point in our married lives, we’ve had to deal with the absenteeism of our husbands, against theirs and our wishes for the sake of work commitments and their overriding need to provide for their families.  So yes, we could definitely relate to points in this story.  We’ve shared the lonely days the same as Claire and for this reason Covet really did resonate with us on a certain level, though thankfully, we were both blessed in the fact that our husbands didn’t shut us off emotionally as Chris did with Claire. Thank goodness Gitte. I don’t think I could have coped with Claire’s dire loneliness!

Gitte: It really is tough to live like a single Mum of young kids when your husband has to work away from home whether it be a necessity or a part of their job description. It’s a struggle and many of the problems Chris and Claire faced really rang true. Their story is real, but absolutely yes, at least you and I didn’t have the communication problems or that awful lack of any type of emotional connection that they did.

Jenny: Yes, unlike Claire, we were very fortunate in that regard.  Chris and Claire’s relationship issues felt very real because there is a stage in a lot of marriages, where the everyday become a bit of a struggle. The daily grind can wear anyone down and for some, like Claire and Chris, marriage isn’t all unicorns and rainbows every minute of every day.  Sometimes though, due to lack of communication those struggles can seem momentous. When a week without touching or talking becomes a month, a month becomes two months and so on, for Claire and Chris finding their way back to each other at that point, experiencing the helplessness of trying to claw back the happiness and bond they once shared appeared out of reach and for this once devoted and loving couple, unfortunately apathy found its way into their once blissfully happy lives.

‘In all the years we’d been together, I’d never experienced anything quite as heartbreaking as watching the lights of my golden boy fade’ Claire

When facing the struggles in married life it is the support you find in one another which solidifies your relationship going forward. Unfortunately for Claire, when Chris loses his job he feels somewhat emasculated. To Chris, being the man of the house he feels his responsibility to his family is that of the bread winner and if that isn’t happening then he feels his contribution to the family is somewhat redundant.  Little does Chris realise, the most important part of a relationship is the emotional and physical, not the material worth you bring to the table.  I really did feel so much for Claire and her despair at the loss emotionally and physically between herself and Chris and her loneliness really did pull at my heart. What about you Gitte?

Gitte: Yeah I did Jenny. I completely understand Chris’ need and urge to provide for his family. This need is instilled in most men from an early age and is socially seen as part of the make-up of a man’s masculinity. Anything less is perceived to be a failure as a man, I find this notion so archaic and ridiculous. It puts untold pressure on the man both psychologically and socially. It affects all relationships whether it be with their other half or children. However, not all men react the same as a consequence.

In Chris’ case he could only focus on this one issue, all others fading into the background. He lost his way and all focus went on making money to keep his family going. In my opinion his view was blinkered and rationale went out the window. However, sometimes you can’t see the woods for the trees. Material things come and go. If you can’t afford your house payments, you buy a smaller house. You can always buy a bigger one when you’re making the necessary money again. If you lose that all important emotional connection and communication with your wife because you’re too busy trying to stay in the lifestyle to which you’re accustomed, then sadly…that is not so easy to retrieve once lost. You can’t buy people’s attention and affection long term, the memories stay.

Jenny:  So true. While Chris begins to spend more and more time away from his family, and, can we point out,  there is nothing sinister or underlying here in the amount of time Chris spends away from home.  This man simply desires to feel needed and wanted by his family and feels working himself to the bone is the way to do it. But in the process Chris becomes so fixated on providing for his wife and children materially that emotionally and physically he becomes less and less a fixture in the family home.

‘I once read an article in a woman’s magazine that said it’s a really bad sign when you and your spouse stop arguing. It means that you’ve given up and no longer care about saving your marriage’ – Claire

I did feel for Chris when we heard his POV, but I was also frustrated with him and felt his detachment, especially in the email exchanges between himself and Claire, to be quite cold .  These emails had no warmth and came across more like a business proposition than the communication between a man and his wife, but  on the other I understood this was because of the disconnection he was experiencing between himslef and Claire and that made me sad. What about you G? How did you feel about the way Chris shut himself off from Claire?

Gitte: I have to be honest and say I struggled with Chris at times in this story. He was an excellent father and despite his skewered values, most likely brought on by feeling emasculated, he did love his wife. However, I just didn’t feel it as a reader. His POV’s helped somewhat as his absence is clearly not intentional nor is it through malice, however, his emails/phone calls and short visits at home never showed any evidence of love towards his wife.

“Aching for physical contact, I want someone to hold me…” Claire

Chris was an intelligent man and was aware of the divide, yet somehow he couldn’t see past the end of his own nose and realise its importance. When he did though, he pushed it aside to deal with another day assuming that the days of built up loneliness and hurt wouldn’t drive a wedge. No physical contact and no ‘I love you’s’ and ‘I miss you’s’….I completely understood why Claire needed someone to care.

“It will take me a long time to make it up to Claire. Not just for last night, but for last year. But I will if she can just hold on a little longer.” – Chris

Chris made a bad situation worse and Claire’s loneliness really got to me. I felt it and my heart ached for her. She was so lonely, yet was trying to play her part in keeping the ‘togetherness’ whilst trying to be there for her husband. Being rejected and pushed to the back of the queue does no one’s ego and heart any good. Routines and bad habits have a way of sneaking up on you and can seriously damage any already strained relationship.

“….Chris being gone is now what I’m used to.” – Claire

Despite my issues connecting with Chris I did feel sorry for him, I really did and I understood why he put such importance on providing for his family. But….I just didn’t see the evidence of his love for Claire, rather, it was monetary and security driven.

“I miss my kids and my house, and even though she probably wouldn’t believe me if I told her so, I miss Claire. I miss a lot of things.”Chris

Jenny: I completely and utterly felt Claire’s loneliness too G and it devastated me also.  Then Claire meets Daniel, the local police officer and he would become her savior at a time when she was at her lowest ebb. Daniel was beautiful in looks and nature and I have to say, I fell in love with him immediately. Well, we both did didn’t we Gitte, and herein lies my problem.  Here was a man who was emotionally available at all times for Claire, he was her light when everything around her felt so dark. He was invested in Claire, he cared for her deeply and he offered her solace from her loneliness.

“I’m not mad.” I’m lonely , which is a lot harder to see than anger. – Claire

Although I was invested in Claire and Chris’s marriage, I was, without question, invested in Daniel that bit more.  Daniel had survived his own pain and my heart went out to him.  I had these overwhelming feelings for him and I wanted this man to be happy.  It was at this point I became less invested in Claire and Chris as a couple because I was so invested in this beautiful man. What a wonderful character he was. What did you think of Daniel, Gitte?

Gitte: I fell in absolute love with Daniel. In fact this is why I got so cross for reasons I can’t say for fear of spoilers, this is going to be so hard to explain so I’ll try my best. I understand his importance in the story of Claire and Chris. What happened was real, easy and human. However, when reading such a beautiful flawlessly written story where you’re made to care deeply you can’t help but feel Daniel was a man used as an instrument to highlight the sadness and devastation of a marriage interrupted. Only to be discarded in the most awful way when of no use anymore and when he in turn needed someone.

“I have no right to say this and I’d never ask you to leave him….But I wish you were mine.”Daniel

I felt as if I was given the beauty of a decent, selfless and honest character who I was made to care for and love, then suddenly forced to have my feelings as a reader discarded because he’d served his purpose. If only he’d been given the fair dues he deserved so I knew he was okay. By writing such a beautiful character and me not connecting with Chris, I struggled to understand one aspect of the ending and what led up to it. I felt Daniel wasn’t given the justice he so deserved as a character, who was honestly a true gentleman, though I do understand why it had to be this way. This was Claire and Chris’ story, ultimately.

“I’ve always been fairly certain that this day would come, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.” – Daniel

Jenny:  This story was beautifully told, it felt real, it elicited some high emotions from me, and I understood the conclusion, though it did make me feel quite upset. I cried and I was saddened.  I know there are no winners in these situations, but for me I agree with everything you said above and echo your sentiments completely. I loved this one Gitte and felt Tracey Garvis Graves brought her characters to life in Covet. This author had me feeling every emotion, right there alongside Claire.

Gitte: I too loved Covet, Jenny. Tracey Garvis Graves has an ability to touch my heart and elicit such strong emotion through her flawless and beautiful writing. I think I went through every emotion possible…mostly though I just cried towards the end. Claire and Chris’ story is not an easy one and the fact that it’s so real, you can’t help but feel affected. Really, the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time, and mostly, that is what people really want and need.

Tracey deals with the topics of marriage difficulties, depression, job loss and emotional unfaithfulness and isolation with kid gloves and pure class. Covet stands out for so many reasons and is definitely a must read.

“Do you think it’s possible to love more than one person? At the same time? – Claire

“I think just about anything is possible when it comes to love.”Elisa

J&G:  Covet may not have the crazy plot twists, the heated sex on every page nor the angst of some books, but what it does have is truth, honesty and reality.  This is real life and will resonate with women everywhere.

“And I think to myself that maybe Chris talks to me the loudest when he says nothing at all.’ Claire

It’s about finding your way back. Reconnecting – even when the impossible appears improbable. It’s about rediscovering the important values in life. What truly matters! That is what Covet is all about and as we said, Covet is for every woman and we absolutely recommend picking this one up.

Jenny: 4.5 Stars
Gitte: 4.5 Stars

ARC supplied by publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Covet

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Tracey Garvis-Graves

UNCHARTED (An On The Island Novella #1.5) by TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES

ON THE ISLAND by TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES
Amazon us || Amazon uk

UNCHARTED – ON THE ISLAND COMPANION NOVELLA
Amazon US || Amazon UK


uncharted

 **NOTE: This is a companion novella to On The Island. On The Island should be read before reading Uncharted.

SYNOPSIS

Tracey Garvis Graves – and Anna and T.J. – return in this companion novella to the New York Times bestseller On the Island

When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all. 

Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl – on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James – made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind. 

But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago. 

And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined. 

uncharted

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

Gitte: I was so excited to read Uncharted and get some answers to the secrets ‘The Island’ held…like a jigsaw puzzle, by the end I felt satisfied that we had reached the end and gotten full closure. We needed this book and it didn’t disappoint.

This story is mainly about Owen, the previous ‘tenant’ of the Island. Owen’s at a cross roads in his life, at such a young age, and needs to cut all ties and spend some time with himself to clear his head and his heart of all the ‘rubbish’ that comes from life. Albeit it a charmed and successful life, what really matters, has gotten lost along the way and Owen wants to set things right. Owen wants to get away from everything and everyone so where better than a deserted island?!

Owen wants to be reminded that: “When you have nothing, everything feels like something.” He decides that being on his own on unblemished land is the perfect life for him.

“I guess I’ll stay here until I have a good enough reason to go someplace else.”

Owen is an integral player of a history shared with T.J and Anna. Owen feels enormous guilt and he needs to go visit them to apologise and explain. It is through this gesture that we find out exactly who ‘bones’ is and what really happened before they came to be there.

The diary entries and the story telling is captivating. We hear a story of solitude, love and tragedy which deeply impacted the rescue of T.J and Anna albeit unbeknownst and unintentional.

“I hope you are here to un-break my heart…I’ve been waiting so long for you to come and find me.”

The lives of Owen, T.J and Anna really is entwined and a past event sparked a consequence of heart-breaking isolation and despair.

“We’ve gone down the ‘if – only road’ and we decided a long time ago that there was no sense in dwelling on things we couldn’t change.”

Uncharted is Owen’s story first and foremost yet we do get to hear from T.J and Anna and get a glimpse into what their life is like now. I have loved them since reading The Island so I devoured every word by this brilliant Author. And Owen….what a man, I completely felt for him, admired him and understood him. This fab novella brought me as much closure as it did the characters.

“….There’s nothing I love more than a good happy ending.”

What did you think Jenny?

Jenny : Gitte, I too was thrilled when I heard Tracey Garvis-Graves was writing this book.  I wasn’t sure what to expect and to be honest I was perfectly happy with where we left T.J. and Ann in “On the Island” and content to leave them to live their lives so I was very intrigued to see where this book would take us.

I’m so happy we were treated to an “extension” of OTI, a different story if you like,  and listening to Owen recant his story was like taking a trip back in time to the Island with him. Uncharted fulfilled its promise to me to fill in the missing pieces and Owen answered those niggling questions that were present in OTI. I was always a little inquisitive as to just who and how had those bones been left, and exactly what the story was behind them.

“You’d be surprised what people can do when they have no other choice….”

I really did enjoy Uncharted because it offered me something new. Whilst Owen’s life did indeed intertwine with T.J. and Anna’s, it was learning the story behind the mystery that had me completely absorbed in Owen’s tale. Not to mention that I was overjoyed that I also got to catch up with two of my favourite characters again, even if it was in little snippets, to know that they were all okay and happy.

“The man sitting next to me on this couch is my equal, my confidant. The love of my life. He is strong in every sense of the word.”

The story Owen weaves is as sad as it is beautiful, it’s heart-breaking and moving and Uncharted is a must for every fan of On The Island.  It really is a companion novella in every sense of the word.  Revisiting these characters felt so special.  Hearing Owen’s story entranced me and only heightened the wonderful feelings I had experienced whilst reading On The Island over a year ago.  Uncharted served to remind me of why On The Island still remains one of my favourite books to this day and why I simply adore this author’s work.

“Then what happened?” “Then I kissed her like my life depended on it.”

Arc supplied by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Filed under 4 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Tracey Garvis-Graves

On the Island – by Tracey Garvis-Graves

on the island

SYNOPSIS

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments — instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

REVIEW – 5 STARS

Wow, I am completely speechless over this book!
I have only just finished reading this book and had to write a review now so that I won’t forget just how I am feeling at this moment.
I’ve loved some books over the years but I have to say this is one of the most amazing books i’ve ever read.
I have gone through every emotion over the past couple of days reading this book and only this morning had a bit of a cry whilst trying to talk to my sister in law about it…….it made me that emotional.
I had been recommended this book by a few people and am beyond glad that I read it – I feel very blessed that I was fortunate to have the opportunity to read such a beautiful story and I can’t wait to read future books by this author.
Her writing style and alternating pov’s were just wonderful.
I felt everything TJ and Anna went through and really took my time reading this as I wanted to devour every feeling and every word written on every single page.
For two days I was on that Island with Anna and TJ going through every hardship and triumph with them.
Thank you Tracey Garvis-Graves for making me realise why I love reading – when you find a treasure like this it reminds me why reading is my favourite pastime.
Amazing characters, amazing story, amazing author!
If a book should ever be made into a movie…this is it!

 

ON THE ISLAND by TRACEY GARVIS GRAVES
Amazon us || Amazon uk
on the island

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Filed under 5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Jenny, Tracey Garvis-Graves