EXCERPT: Sarah’s gaze travelled to the darkening sky just outside her classroom windows. It was one of those days when the grayness felt suffocating. After nearly ten years in Seattle, she longed for the abundant sunshine of her Southern California hometown. She never imagined she would settle here when she came for college, or that she’d end up teaching high school English, but here she was. Life never turns out how you expect. There are always unexpected turns and detours along the way.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Sometimes the most enviable life is really a private hell.
On the surface, Sarah Jenkins appears to have it all: a handsome, wealthy and successful husband, a precocious five-year-old daughter, and a beautiful home in an affluent Seattle neighborhood. Her quirky best friend and fellow high school teacher, Maggie, marvels at her luck—and envies her happiness.
But Sarah is far from happy. She feels empty and on edge, harangued by a critical inner voice—and as the truth about her marriage and details of her past emerge, her “perfect” life begins to crumble. But just when it seems all is lost, a long forgotten, unopened letter changes everything, and with the support of friends, Sarah begins to rebuild her life. Can she quiet the critical voice in her head and learn to value herself instead?
MY THOUGHTS: Just as life doesn’t turn out as you expect, nor did this book.
Better Than This by Cathy Zane examines a marriage that should never have happened, the build up of resentments and animosities, and the resulting destructive behaviors, made all the more tragic by there being a small child involved. This story, with minor variations, plays out constantly in real life and Cathy Zane has done well to capture it in all its disintegrating ‘glory’.
What I didn’t like was the way Lizzy changed from a petulant five-year-old who blames her mother for her fathers leaving to one who adores her mother with the telling of just one story. While Sarah would have been struggling to come to terms with all that happened, Lizzy would also have been struggling, and no acceptance of the situation would have been quite that easily achieved. Lizzy would have placed far more pressure on Sarah’s already fragile state of mind than what is depicted here.
A lovely cover.
THE AUTHOR: Cathy Zane is a writer, psychotherapist, and former nurse who draws on her many years of working with women and families to create narratives of growth and empowerment. As a lifelong reader, she believes in the power of story to not only entertain but inspire, connect us to our common humanity, and instill hope.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to She Writes Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Better Than This by Cathy Zane for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.
This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2465654706