April 2, 2010
Review of "Love in Mid Air" by Kim Wright
Synopsis: A chance encounter with a stranger in an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly, Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the church. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find--and follow--her own path to happiness.
This is author Kim Wright's debut work and if this book is any indication, she is looking at a successful career as a writer. Because this book is a literary grand slam.
From the first page, I was hooked. Hooked on Ms. Wright's writing style, hooked on the story and hooked on the characters. I literally snuck reading in whenever I could, so anxious was I to find out what was going on in Elyse's world, putting off sleep and household chores to read.
Elyse was a complex character. On the one hand, I liked her and felt for her predicament. On the other, she is nothing like me and I sometimes wanted to beat my head on the wall in frustration. Ms. Wright did a smart thing in making Elyse's husband Phil a likable, decent man, a good father and good provider but a man she simply did not, and could not, love.
Elyse's girlfriends, members of her book club, were a wonderfully varied bunch, each one an individual in her own way, from best friend Kelly, to the "perfect" pastor's wife Nancy, to recently divorced and recently outcast Lynn, to sweet and somewhat left in the shadows Belinda. So vivid were these characters I could actually visualize them and hear them talking as I read the book. Ms. Wright has proven herself to have an excellent ear for dialogue and none of the conversations in Love in Mid Air sound scripted or pretentious. You could be listening to your own girlfriends while thumbing through these pages.
While the seemingly obvious love interest in the book would be Gerry - - the man who convinces Elyse that her marriage has gone stale, or always been stale - - I felt that the real love story in the book was the friendship between Elyse and Kelly. These two were friends that truly loved each other, that depended on each other through thick and thin. They had a real understanding of each other that neither woman shared with any other person in the book. It was a welcome diversion to have two such devoted people, with their individual flaws, who weren't a romantic couple.
Despite the subject matter of Love in Mid Air (because adultery would hardly be a fun subject), I thoroughly enjoyed the book. In fact, I didn't realize until I had finished the book that the story was relatively sad - - a woman who felt trapped in a marriage that everyone else considered successful and happy, and a husband who believes everything to be fine and can't grasp the seriousness of his marital situation.
For the more conservative readers, this book may be a bit too much to handle. There is the obvious adultery, and there is a smattering of sexual situations and strong language. This is definitely not a book for kids. Love in Mid Air is, however, a perfect read for a book club as there are so many debatable discussions and issues that would spark conversation for hours.
I would highly recommend Love in Mid Air to anyone looking for a read that will get your mental juices flowing and really make you think. Is any affair forgiveable? Is Elyse a bad person? Is Gerry?
Love in Mid Air isn't your typical love triangle story - - it sets the classic love story on its ear. Elyse may not be an easy character to root for in some cases and the same could be true for Phil, for Gerry or for any of the characters in the book. But it's a story that will have you quickly turning pages, staying up into the night to finish it and it will remain with you after you turn the last page. While I found the ending debateably happy, I was satisfied with the book and left with an appreciation for my husband.
Love in Mid Air is available at major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Author Kim Wright's other tour stops can be found HERE.
Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!!! Thanks to the lovely Miriam Parker at the Hachette Book Group, I have THREE copies of Love in Mid Air up for grabs.
To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know if you've ever found love in an unusual place, like an airplane seat! Just leave me your name and email address and you're entered to win your own copy of Love in Mid Air. That's it! U.S. and Canada only (my apologies to our overseas friends) and no P.O. boxes. Contest to end on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 11:59 P.M. EST and the lucky winners drawn on Sunday, April 18, 2010.