Title: Josh & Anna and Gabe & Claire
Author: Eliza Freed
Publication Date: Nov. 15, 2016
Find: Amazon | Goodreads
Other Books by Author: Forgive Me | The Devil's Playground | Full Share
No marriage is perfect.
Josh and Anna Montgomery are trying to have a baby. Well, Anna is. Josh is making the minimum contribution necessary, and it’s ruining their relationship.
Gabe Hawkins is trying to survive the wild ride that is life with his wife, Claire. It’s passionate everywhere but in their bedroom.
For these four friends, the difficulties of their marriages are camouflaged by hazy happy hours, extravagant vacations, picturesque weddings, and sleeping in. The possibilities of their youth are wilting in the light of their waning twenties, and on one fateful night, four friends become two. Survivors become lovers. Truths are told, and nothing seems like forever anymore.
Eliza Freed graduated from Rutgers University and returned to her hometown in rural South Jersey. Her mother encouraged her to take some time and find herself. After three months of searching, she began to bounce checks, her neighbors began to talk, and her mother told her to find a job.
She settled into corporate America, learning systems and practices and the bureaucracy that slows them. Eliza quickly discovered her creativity and gift for story telling as a corporate trainer and spent years perfecting her presentation skills and studying diversity. It was during this time she became an avid observer of the characters she met and the heartaches they endured. Her years of study taught her that laughter, even the completely inappropriate kind, was the key to survival.
She currently lives in New Jersey with her family and a misbehaving beagle named Odin. As an avid swimmer, if Eliza is not with her family and friends, she'd rather be underwater. While she enjoys many genres, she is, and always has been, a sucker for a love story…the more screwed up the better.
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Often times I underestimate a book based on its cover or description. It happens pretty frequently, actually. I did it here with Josh & Anna and Gabe & Claire.
It's not that I didn't think this book would be as good as it was. It's more that I expected another light, fluffy, romance read. Instead I got a much more complicated, nebulous story.
I'll admit that I had no idea what this story entailed exactly going into it. At about halfway through I realized that I needed to take all formerly-developed opinions and crush them. I'm not entirely sure that I'm going to stop thinking about this book for quite some time.
Josh & Anna and Gabe & Claire is in no way a fluffy romance novel. While there is romance involved, it's not what you'd call a "conventional" romance. That's not a bad thing, however.
Ms. Freed definitely did something different with this story. She made characters that are so multi-faceted and esoteric that it's impossible for me to compare this work to anything else.
The two main characters (I'm hesitant to give their names) go through something so dreadful that just imagining it makes me sad. But, at the same time, because of the unfortunate event that takes place, there's a hope for these two that the reader envies. It's a second-chance.
I'm not going to give anything away because I believe that half of why I enjoyed this story so much was that it took me by surprise. So, I'm just going to say that Ms. Freed knows how to write. She knows how to pull the reader into a story and then pull the rug completely out from under them. Even though I had some idea as to what this would be about, I really didn't comprehend the emotions it would evoke.
That's not to say it was perfect. There were a couple of parts that I think I had to kind of suspend belief for, but--it's fiction. That happens.
All-in-all, I'm encouraged by the fact that I can still be stirred and surprised in this day-and-age of regurgitated material.