Thursday, June 16, 2011

PRECIPICE by Melissa Luznicky Garrett

"I've been trying to convince myself since the first day we met not to go down this road," he says, "but I don't know how much longer I can keep up the charade."

I hold my breath in anticipation of what I hope he will say, knowing that I'm balancing on the precipice of a great betrayal.

When Julia said "I do" to her husband three years ago, she thought it would last forever. But when she finds herself in a dead-end marriage and in love with her best friend's boyfriend, she begins to question those relationships and everything she once believed in.

Now Julia must either do what's right . . . or follow her heart.

* * *

Confession: Normally, I am very wary of any books about marriage gone wrong, people considering affairs, or any storyline - be it book, movie, or song - dealing with the idea of following one's heart. This is because "following my heart" typically means "making an excuse for doing something bad," and I just can't get on board with that.

Fortunately, Melissa L. Garrett's debut novel for adults is not a story about making excuses.

Even though my marriage is quite happy, I found myself identifying and empathizing with Julia, the main character. She's a teacher in her mid-twenties with hardly a thought to spare for her own happiness - and zero awareness that she deserves much more from her marriage than she's getting.

When her husband is involved in an accident on a business trip, Julia must leave town to care for him. While in the hospital, she is hit with a startling revelation: she no longer loves the man lying in the hospital bed.

In fact, she's not sure she ever loved him. And she's starting to wonder if he ever loved her.

Combine that with the sudden appearance of Wes, the new music teacher, and Julia's struggling to remain faithful to a man who can't seem to keep the vows he made to her. He does not love her. He does not cherish her. In his sickness he is ungrateful to her, and in his health, he is emotionally abusive.

What I loved about this story was the way Julia does not say, "Oh well, my marriage sucks so I'm going to leave." Without giving too much away, I'll say this: She really fights for her marriage and her husband - not to mention her best friend, who's dating Wes. And in the end, she has a very hard decision to make: Work on the marriage and save her relationships with husband and best friend, or leave the marriage and ruin two people's lives in the process.

Please believe me when I say I could not stop reading this book, and I know you'll feel the same. A wonderful debut from an author I think we'll be seeing a lot of in the future.


  1. I'm also VERY leery of books that explore the idea of leaving your spouse for something better, but your review has me curious. I might have to check it out. Thanks.

  2. Anne, thank you for such a wonderful review! Trust me when I say I had a very difficult time writing this book, and it took many revisions to get the thumbs-up from early readers.

    I've been in a wonderful marriage for twelve years now, and I can't imagine either one of us bowing out. PRECIPICE really is not a story about Julia contemplating leaving one guy for another, but rather about the incredible emotional struggle she goes through. I want the reader to ask, "What would I do if I were Julia and in the same situation?" I still don't know the answer to that . . .

  3. Wonderful review! Right on the money/marriage! And, agreed, regarding this book one can't judge it merely on the subject matter - because the circumstances and issues blur the line of black and white though, Julia is struggling to keep it drawn. :-)