Review: Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Format: ARC
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 320 pages
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
From the author of the New York Times bestseller On the Island.
What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?
Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.
Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.
Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross.

I knew Covet was going to be a hard, uncomfortable read for me since it deals with marital infidelity and I avoid most books that deals with any sort of infidelity. To be honest, I wasn't going to pick up Covet for that reason but it's by Tracey Garvis-Graves. I loved Tracey's debut novel On the Island (one of my favorite reads of 2012) and the follow-up novella Uncharted. So, I was like what the heck and began reading.

I was right. Covet was not an easy read. It dealt with such a taboo subject in a stark way, but it was told very well, with Tracey Garvis-Graves' signature writing. The three main characters, Claire, Chris and Daniel, were very human and very real. While most of the story was told in Claire's first-person perspective, we also get a little bit of Chris and Daniel's perspective.

Initially, I thought I was able to take sides and expected to take Chris's side and pour all my sympathy for him and was prepared to hate Daniel and Claire but I understood where all three characters were coming from, and why they did what they did and felt what they felt. I felt bad for Claire and Chris and what they were going through. I felt bad for Daniel. I even felt bad for Claire and Daniel's situation even though I rooted for Claire and Chris to work out their relationship. There was no "bad guy" in this book and I applaud Tracey for writing a novel that really grabbed my emotions and twisted it in a different way that I expected.

I thought Covet was a really excellent and intimate look at marriage and love, partnership and unfaithfulness within a marriage as well as the age old question of whether men and women can be "just friends." Besides Claire and Chris's marriage, we also get a glimpse of the marriages of their neighbors--all of whom were also going through some sort of marital problems.

MAJOR SPOILERS: Avoid reading this section if you don't want to be spoiled.
My only issue with Covet was that I wish there was more focused on Claire and Chris's marriage towards the end. We get to read a lot of Claire and Daniel hanging out at his house, going to rides on his motorcycle, flirty late night phone calls and texting--you know, their relationship through all the months was the bulk of the book. I didn't mind that so much. We had to see them get really close and become something a lot more, no matter that Claire tired to deny it to herself--that's one of the major points in the story. But I just wish we got to see more of Claire and Chris in the end, more of them trying to get their marriage back. I would've liked to see more happy times with Claire and Chris. It felt rushed in the end.

So, okay, if you're like me you probably want to know how much cheating occurred on this book. Well, I guess it depends on your definition of cheating or infidelity. If you're against reading any kind of cheating, then you'll probably want to avoid this book. But if you're not, then I will say that Claire and Daniel did not have sex with each other and only shared one brief (albeit very emotional and passionate) kiss. But there was nothing platonic about their relationship--there was some major emotional cheating in this book. Yes, Claire and Daniel did not cross that final line and have sex but the deep mutual desire to was there. As Claire put it, "I may have never physically cheated on Chris with Daniel, but I wanted to and that's almost as bad."***

Do I recommend Covet? Yes, I do. It is different from On the Island and it is a tougher read because it took on the taboo subject of marital infidelity but it is just as well-written. I found myself quickly flipping through the pages and I found it hard to stop reading--I just had to know how everything will turn out! It's the type of book that'll make you think and stay with you for days.

***Quoted from the advance reader's copy and may be subjected to change in the final edition.

1 comment

  1. Glad to hear that you felt for all of these characters. I have this book to read, and I keep forgetting about it. Perhaps I'll move it up the list this weekend. :)


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