Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Family Affair

A Family Affair by Robyn Carr
4/5/22; 336 pages
MIRA Books

A Family Affair by Robyn Carr is a highly recommended family drama.

Anna McNichol has just lost her husband Chad. Her three adult children, Jesse, Michael, and Bess are at his memorial service, as is a young pregnant woman that Anna doesn't know. She could be a patient of his or what Anna really suspects is that Chad was having an affair with her. He had been unfaithful before and he was keeping some sort of secret. At the same time Anna's mother's health is declining. While she and her children are dealing with their grief, Anna learns the truth about the young woman at the service and it will change her family.

The novel mainly unfolds through Anna's point-of-view, but there are chapters through her children's perspective too. The focus of the plot is the year after Chad's death. Grief brings with it a trunk full of issues and added to these are secrets, struggles with mental health, relationship issues, dementia, aging, anger, and even more secrets. The characters all work together and individually to overcome their issues which all leads up to a positive ending upholding family. The pandemic enters into the plot too and that is a disappointment as is the depiction of Bess.

This is a complex family drama and the characters are basically portrayed as realistic individuals struggling with their own flaws and shortcomings along with grieving. The infidelity of Chad is not covered as realistically as it would most likely actually unfold in a family. As a therapist, Chad should have considered the result of his actions on his family. Learning what they do about Chad as a husband and father would be an earth shattering experience for most people. Additionally, all the characters are professionals rather than average people in average jobs. There are some poor choices made that are likely due to their grieving.

The quality of the writing is actually excellent. Even when what is written might bring some other questions to mind, Carr captured some real truths about the complications of relationships, families, and aging. Early in the narrative there is some profound insight about cheating men who say they are unhappy to explain away affairs. Honestly, it is a bit too much of a romance for my tastes, but the forgiveness that Anna is willing to embrace to help her and her family move on is admirable. 3.5 rounded up

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA Books.

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