Hello everyone, today I am please to be hosting one part of the blog tour for the fabulous debut of author Lisa Slabach! I hope that you enjoy my review along with the interview with the author herself. And of course, don't forget to check out the amazing giveaway. I hope you enjoy!
Book Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach
Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Release date: Dec 1, 2017
Tour dates: Jan 3 to 31, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Adult themes including infidelity, occasional F-word, non-explicit sex scenes)
At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She's just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.
Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt's work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.
Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.
A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.
Praise for Degrees of Love:
"Slabach crafts a relatable, heartbreakingly real story that will no doubt resonate with those at a similar station in life: women who love their families yet yearn for just a little more—to feel wanted rather than needed, to feel passion rather than complacency. In engaging prose and through skillful storytelling, Slabach captivates with an all-too-familiar story that raises questions with no easy answers."
- Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"This does not read like a debut author’s book. Slabach shows herself to be adept at portraying the complex emotions of the human condition. Her characters live and breathe on the page in a way that every author strives for, but few actually manage. Susan’s struggles ring true, and the way she handles everything makes her a very likable and relatable character."
- Sarah Perry, San Francisco Book Review, 5 Stars
"Profound, heart wrenching and very emotional, it is hard to believe that Degrees of Love is a debut novel by Lisa Slabach. This is one of the best novels I have read this year."
- Rabia Tanveer, Readers' Favorite
To read more reviews, please visit Lisa Slabach's page on iRead Book Tours.
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Now, on to my review:
*I received a free copy of this book but that does not impact my impression of it. Everything that I say is completely unbiased.*
Degrees of Love tells the story of Susan Sinclair, a Silicon Valley soccer mom whose life could best be described by nice. Nice husband, nice children, nice friends, nice car, yet she still can’t help but yearning for something more in life. Not only has the niceness been wearing her thin, but since she has been married, she has been unable to show and be her true self. So, when her new promotion introduces her to a handsome new boss that she struggles to resist, Susan must decide whether her own happiness is worth more than her family’s well-being.
I really enjoyed this book, though I didn’t always think that way. When it first began, I found it to be boring an uneventful but I was quickly proven wrong. Perfectly timed jokes and romantic gestures littered this tale as the author expertly wrote a story of love and marital hardship. Despite this being Slabach’s first novel, it felt like she was an expert at her craft. One reason for this was the research the author had done. Making sure to make everything feel as real as possible, it was clear that the author put a lot of time and effort into each chapter. Examples of this were seen in the bits of Shakespeare that the characters quoted at each other along with the deep insight the author gave into the feelings of each character; which leads me to the next aspect of this book that I enjoyed: the characters.
Slabach truly succeeded in writing in-depth and fully thought out characters. Throughout the book, I felt moved by Susan’s decisions and motivations as she struggled to find happiness and love. Each of Susan’s moves felt thought out and genuine as I constantly wondered what she would do this. Not only that, but Slabach made me feel invested in Susan and made me wish that I was there in the story to help her. At the same time, Slabach withheld no expense with crafting Susan’s boss, Reese, into a fully thought out character. I really respected her ability to do this as Slabach provided great character development for her full cast of characters, including those that might have seemed unimportant.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Throughout its twists and turns that constantly leave you questioning whose side you are really on, Slabach painted a realistic and fully picture of the pains of modern day women. Even with the setting of a plain corporate job, Slabach still found a way to make every word one that you would not want to miss. I recommend this book to romance lovers looking for a new take on the genre as this is a book that you do not want to miss.
Last but not at all least, here is the interview with Lisa Slabach herself!
Tell us about your latest book.
Degrees of Love: A Novel is about a modern, working mother who early in her marriage gave up an acting career and bottled up aspects of her personality in exchange for peaceful co-existence with her husband. Now, after years of the mindless motions of life, the habits of living as a wife and mother, her new boss taps into the side of her nature that is hungry for attention. I think of it as an exploration of love, which includes love of family and self as well as variations of desire.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing fiction in 2008. Prior to that, I did quite a bit of business writing, and when I was involved in theater, I wrote study guides, program descriptions, and the like. Writing fiction is quite different, but in many ways, writing fiction feels more natural. That isn’t to say I haven’t put in a ton of hours, worked hard to hone my skills, or grinded over word choices, because I have done all those things.
There are many books out there about infidelity. What makes yours different?
Yes, there are and I make reference to several in Degrees of Love. One of the key differences is the strength of Susan Sinclair. She is a successful, accomplished women and is the major breadwinner of her family. In no way is she inferior to Matt, her husband, and in most ways, the equal of Reese, her boss. Neither of the men can wield financial power over her. Another difference is that Susan is not disdainful of Matt. He can anger, hurt, and frustrate her, but she does love him. The choices she makes are ultimately matters of the heart and stem from the desire to love and be loved in equal measure.
Degrees of Love is a contemporary novel. What kind of research did you do if any?
Well, I have been married for over thirty years, which has given me a wee bit of insight when it comes to married life! Seriously though, I gleaned ideas from several books about marriage, including John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, and a great book about loneliness called Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John C. Cacioppo. Aside from that, I bushed up on my Shakespeare, reviewed passages in the Bible, and read a load of articles and personal testimonies on infidelity.
Given the subject matter of Degrees of Love, have reader reactions surprised you in anyway?
I definitely anticipated the story not being palatable for some readers and have been pleasantly surprised by how much sympathy readers have shown Susan. The most surprising reaction though has been by male readers. Men were not my target audience when I wrote the story, so it has been incredibly gratifying to have men reading and enjoying the book too.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I am currently working on a novel about a woman who married her high school sweetheart after becoming pregnant in high school. In her mind, they have a successful, happy marriage and is completely blindsided when he leaves her the day after their daughter graduates from high school. The working title is First Time Single. Themes of love, marriage, and forgiveness are explored, but the tone is much lighter than Degrees of Love.
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Ends Feb 7
I hope that you enjoyed this review! I really enjoyed reading this book so let me know if you picked it up as well! If you enjoyed this special post, comment down below and let me know!
Until next time,
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
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