Beth Thomas’ seemingly perfect life is about to take a detour. At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and finds fulfillment teaching part time at the local university. 

But when a friend persuades her to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with a handsome former student changes the course of her life. Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen. Beth feels wanted again, listened to, cared for, but she knows it’s wrong. 

She tries to put the memory behind her, but he pursues her, drawing Beth back to temptation. As she travels deeper into Dave’s world, Beth struggles to choose between what her mind says is right and what she truly craves.

“Do other women fantasize about living a different life? Do they passionately love and loathe their families at the same time?”

Patricia Mann definitely hit the mark with this heartwarming and utterly poignant story. This book will suck you in from the very first page and you just can’t help but feel for Beth. The cover and the blurb really captivated me, and I really wanted to read what Beth’s choices were when she entered into this situation. This book isn’t just a detailed play-by-play of a clandestine affair, it is SO much more than that. Reading this book made me realize the gravity of relationships, of marriage, and just how far is too far.

Throughout the book, I could really see Beth struggling to maintain balance and control among her children, job, marriage, and social life. Her life is normal and everything you’d expect, but to her it’s just…dull. Lifeless. Lacking passion. A chance meeting reuniting Beth with a former student helps put her life into perspective.

“You’re just like your father that way. You try so hard, do all the right things, take care of everybody else until you explode and act out, doing something destructive.”

Crash and burn. Through the descriptions of Beth’s daily routine, it was thoroughly predictable that Beth would just snap and need a break from life. And part of the reason why her relationship with Dave was so inevitable was because of the novelty. The thrill. The forbidden. Who could resist the allure of youth, the promise of passion? My heart went out to Beth because any normal married woman could find herself in Beth’s situation and be conflicted over the right decision to make. Is there even a right decision?

As for Beth’s husband Rick, he was what a normal married dad with kids was like. He genuinely cares for Beth and is a responsible and loving father.

“But something inside me knew he was the real thing. Unlike anyone I had ever known, and in spite of my deeply held stereotypes about frat boys, it was clear that this young man was just a purely decent, honest, ethical, human being.”

That begs the question: how did their marriage just fall apart if Beth and Rick loved each other and knew they were it for one another? Such a simple question but with too many complex answers. What I love so much about this book was how real this story is. I constantly felt like I was a silent observer of Beth’s life, a third wheel on her social outings. I think Iyana’s reading best summarizes Beth’s journey:

“There are many paths you can choose at this point. It’s not that one is the right one and all the others are wrong, but there are some that will bring you closer to your truth.”

This book is definitely for any woman, married or not, who finds herself struggling for identity and asking the question: “Who am I?” This book blew my mind and I sincerely hope that Patricia writes a sequel where I can see what life has next for Beth.