Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson

The Stuff That Never Happened
Author: Maddie Dawson
Published: July 28, 2010
Genre: chick lit
eBook: approx. 368 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

My Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from GoodReads): Annabelle McKay knows she shouldn’t have any complaints. She’s been in a stable marriage that’s lasted almost three decades and has provided her with two wonderful children, thousands of family dinners around a sturdy oak table, and a husband so devoted that he schedules lovemaking into his calendar every Wednesday morning. Other wives envy the fact that Grant is not the type of man who would ever cheat on her or leave her for a younger woman. The trouble is Annabelle isn’t sure she wants to be married to Grant anymore. The trouble is she’s still in love with someone else.
In the early tumultuous years of her marriage, Annabelle carried on a clandestine affair with the one person whose betrayal would hurt her husband the most. When it ended, she and Grant found their way back together and made a pact that they would never speak of that time again. But now years later, with her children grown and gone, and an ominous distance opening between them, she can’t help but remember those glorious, passionate days and wonder if she chose the right man. Then, when called to New York City to help care for her pregnant daughter, Annabelle bumps into her old lover. Offered a second chance at an unforgettable love, she must decide between the man who possesses her heart and the husband who has stood squarely by her side.

My Thoughts: For quite sometime, I've been walking through my library and seen this book on display and the cover, for some inexplicable reason, just drew me towards it. Unfortunately, I usually had quite a few books already selected so I would put it back down and decide to check it out another day. Then, when it popped up on my library's OverDrive console as available, I jumped on it. Following a woman who cheated on her husband many decades ago but stuck with him after the affair ended, Maddie Dawson tells a story that spans decades and generations, and leaves you wondering when it is okay to cheat on someone and how many people you are capable of loving at once.

Annabelle is the narrator for this story and she has a very strong, clear voice. While I didn't always agree with her actions, I understood her reasoning behind them and why she was making the decision that she was making at the time. There were times when she appealled directly to the reader, but it wasn't frequently enough to make you comfortable with it. All of a sudden, two-thirds of the way through the book, she would ask you, the reader, a question directly, and it was a little off-putting because it was a bit out of place with what was going on in the novel. The other characters in the novel are secondary to Annabelle, and although they contribute to her story, it's her thoughts and actions that move the story along.

Overall, this was a nice little read. The cover doesn't necessarily describe the book, but it does fit with what happens with Annabelle (at least in the beginning of the novel). It does start out a bit slowly and you have to give it about 50 pages before it really pulls you in. Dawson alternates the chapters between the past and the present, so that you are able to fully understand Annabelle's affair and her actions and thoughts at the time. I would be interested in reading more of Dawson's work in the future and hope that she is able to continue writing with that clear voice that she gave Annabelle.

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