Publisher and Publication Date: Broadway Books. 2017.
Source: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Blogging for Books is no longer in the book review business. For several years, I’d signed up for books through their program. This is the last book and review I’ll do for them.
Marianne is age 60. She’s been married to Lothar for 41 years. They don’t have children. They live in Germany. She has one friend. Marianne’s life is void of intimacy. She is in a dark place. To say she is unhappy is an understatement. Lothar is selfish and controlling. He’s treated her as chattel. She and Lothar travel to Paris, France. She attempts suicide by jumping into the Seine River. She is rescued and hospitalized. In an impulsive moment, she leaves the cruel life behind and relocates to the Brittany coast.
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, Marianne’s life and turnaround kept me immersed. I read this book in about two days. I had to know what would happen to this little mouse of a woman. I wondered if she had the perseverance to reinvent her life? I wondered if she planned to attempt suicide again? I wondered if she would eventually return to Lothar?
Another aspect of the book I loved is the opening line:
“It was the first decision she had ever made on her own, the very first time she was able to determine the course of her life.”
I loved the scenery descriptions of Brittany, the coastline, and the town where she resides.
What I did not like is the predictability of the story. What I hoped to read is she reinvented herself internally without the need to find happiness in another person. In my opinion, there is joy in life without depending on a romantic interest. She had a wonderful vocation, friends, and a dreamy place to live. She had a new outlook on life and a new view of herself. She had the chance to enjoy understanding who Marianne is at this point in life. I am disappointed she focused outside herself to find that happiness. Stories like this are a dime a dozen. Why not have a heroine who becomes strong without depending on a man? Why not focus on her developing character?
I want to clarify. I love romantic stories, but Marianne had spent over 40 years in an abusive relationship. I feel she needed to find herself, and drink in the life she’d not even noticed before.
My favorite quote from page 24.
My husband neither touched my soul nor charmed my body.