A Family Affair blog tour – Excerpt + Review

A Family Affair
by Robyn Carr
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher:  MIRA
Standalone
Number of pages:  320
Kindle Edition
Source: ARC from NetGalley and publisher
Women’s Fiction
Ages 14 and up
CW: cheating

Book Summary:

An exceptional storyteller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr beautifully captures the emotionally charged, complex dynamics that come with being part of any family. Readers will laugh and shed a few tears as they discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

When a woman notices a young pregant woman attending her husband’s funeral she realizes his mid-life crisis went far beyond his weekend warrior lifestyle. But Carr’s story of a family dealing with their grief is full of surprises and as everyone examines their own beliefs and behavior, they become closer than they ever thought possible. Carr tackles the serious issues women face with humor and heart.

A FAMILY AFFAIR
Author: Robyn Carr
ISBN: 9780778331742
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: MIRA

Excerpt:

The celebration of life was not held in a funeral parlor or church but rather in a fancy clubhouse in an upscale Mill Valley community. It was furnished with comfortable sofas, chairs, small round accent tables, thick carpet and carefully chosen art. Its primary purpose was for hosting parties. Resi­dents in the community could rent it for events, which Anna had done. There was a huge viewing screen upon which the pictures of Chad’s life played, a hundred and fifty of them, carefully and lovingly chosen by Anna with a little help from the kids. Every picture had Chad in it, starting from old child­hood prints she’d inherited from Chad’s mother years ago. She’d glance up to see one of him in a high school football uniform looking the worse for wear with a big grin on his dirty face; she caught a huge blowup of their wedding picture; there was one soon after of him with baby Jessie asleep on his chest. There were many pictures of Chad alone, a few of Chad and Anna, one of a young Anna gazing lovingly up into Chad’s face, several family groupings. The focus was Chad, his life, his accomplishments, his achievements, his happiness, a few of the important people in his life. Chad, Chad, Chad. Just like before he died.

Things had been tense lately, but she remembered those younger years fondly because, although it hadn’t been easy, they had been deeply in love. They met through what can only be described as fate, as destiny. In fact, their meeting was a legendary family story. Anna had been in San Francisco, shop­ping on her lunch hour down at Fisherman’s Wharf. Shopping but not buying, which was typical for her as she had been and still was very frugal. She loved the sea lions, enjoyed watch­ing tourists, sometimes found bargains at Pier 1, enjoyed the occasional meal on the pier.

On that day, something strange happened. She heard a pan­icked cry rise from the crowd of tourists on the pier, saw a food truck trundling across the pier without a driver, picking up speed. A man in work clothes and apron was chasing the truck. She only had seconds to take it in. It seemed the food truck, its awning out and moving fast, was headed toward a group of people. Right before her eyes the truck knocked a man off the pier before the truck was stopped by a barricade.

The man, completely unaware, flew off the dock and into the water below, startling a large number of fat sea lions who had been sunning themselves nearby.

The sea lions scrambled into the water and the man was flailing around in a panic. Someone yelled, “He can’t swim!” Hardly giving it a thought, Anna dropped her purse, kicked off her shoes and jumped off the pier, swimming to the man. Getting to him was no challenge; she practically landed on top of him. But he was hysterical and splashing, kicking and sputtering. “You’re okay, come on,” she said, grabbing his shirt by the collar. But he fought harder and sank, nearly pulling her under with him.

She slapped him in the face and that startled him enough he could let himself be rescued. She slid her arm around his neck and began pulling him to the dock where a couple of men seemed to be standing by to pull him in.

There was a lot of commotion, not to mention honking noises from sea lions. Anna was shivering in her wet clothes and all she could think at the time was how was she going to locate a change of clothes for her afternoon at work. Then there were emergency vehicles and a handsome young police officer draped a blanket around her shoulders and took a re­port. The near drowning victim was taken away in an ambu­lance and Anna was given a ride to her apartment by the cute policeman. She was delighted and surprised when the police officer called her a week later. She almost hyperventilated in hope that he’d ask her out.

“The man you pulled out of the water has been in touch. He wants your name,” the officer said.

“He isn’t going to sue me, is he?” she asked.

“I don’t think so,” he said with a laugh. “He seems very grateful. He won’t have any trouble tracking you down but I said I’d ask. He probably wants to thank you.”

The man’s name was Chad. He was finishing up his PhD at Berkeley while she was working in a law office in the Bay Area. She was twenty-three and he was twenty-seven and she was not prepared for how handsome he was and of course much better put together than when he was dragged out of the water.

He took her to dinner and, as she recalled, their first date was almost like an interview. He wanted to know everything about her and was utterly amazed to learn she’d had a job as a lifeguard in a community pool for exactly one summer when she was a teenager and yet jumped in to save him with total confidence. They fell in love almost instantly. The first time they made love, he asked her to marry him. She didn’t say yes right away, but they knew from the start they were made for each other. What they didn’t know was how many fights they’d have. Very few big fights but many small ones; she thought of them as bickering. They fought about what was on the pizza; a scrape on the side of the car that was not her fault, not even remotely; what kind of vacation they should have and where they should go. As Anna recalled, they always went where Chad wanted to go. They fought about what movie to see, where to eat, what was grumbled under his or her breath.

They fought seriously about his affair. That was in the dis­tant past but it took a long time to get over. Years. But when they finally pledged to stay married, to do their best to make it good, they fell into bed and had the best sex of their lives. And they had Elizabeth.

That experience was how she knew that all the excuses for this current marital rift, no matter what he called it, was probably about another woman and not them growing apart or having divergent needs. He wouldn’t admit it and she had no proof, but she had better than average instincts. She be­lieved he’d gotten all excited at the prospect of falling in love and was rewriting their history to make that acceptable. He was looking for an excuse that would make it reasonable to step outside the bonds of marriage. She could feel it; he’d been involved with someone else.

Excerpted from A Family Affair by Robyn Carr. Copyright © 2022 by Robyn Carr. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

My Review:

This story seemed not be about anything. I mean, I know it was about the fallout of secrets revealed when a man (husband, father, friend) dies. But there didn’t seem to be an actual point to the story. Other than Anna, who is for all intents and purposes the main character, and the family friend Joe, the characters are not likable through most of the book. On top of that, here’s another book where the author felt the need to include the pandemic when it was not at all needed for the plot. Truly no reason to bring it up at all. Why are authors so keen on including the pandemic, especially since it’s not truly over yet?

Like I said, Anna is a very likable character. She has a lot to deal with after her husband’s death. Their adult children were all very close with their father and she knows none of them are really dealing with things very well. She has a mother who is in a nursing home and sliding into dementia more and more, she has a high stress/high profile job as a judge, and she knows her marriage was on the rocks when her husband died. That’s a lot for one person to have to handle alone. Not to mention the huge secret her husband was hiding.

It doesn’t take long for Anna to find out her husband’s secret, but it takes forever for her to tell her children. That was the main thing I had an issue with in regards to her character. It seems to me that so many of the issues her kids were having could have been solved if their father was knocked off that pedestal they had him on.

There is a lot going on in this book. Possibly too much. There are mental health issues to be dealt with, some I felt were handled well and others not so much. There is a neurodivergent character that almost seems as though she’s included to just tick a box of having said character included in the story. And again, some of her issues were dealt with and portrayed beautifully and others go a big nope from me.

I’m sorry to say that this book just didn’t do it for me. I was happy to see the characters grow, but it felt an awful lot like telling with very little showing.

2 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

*************

Author Bio:

Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women’s fiction such as Four Friends, The Summer That Made Us and The View from Alameda Island, as well as the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit her website at robyncarr.com.


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About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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3 Responses to A Family Affair blog tour – Excerpt + Review

  1. Louise H says:

    Sorry this wasn’t better for you. I can see why this didn’t work for you and know I wouldn’t have enjoyed it either from your description.

    • Cheri says:

      There are many of her books I’ve loved, but I’ve found that lately I haven’t been connecting with her writing. I don’t know if it’s a change in me or her or both.

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