PJV Quickie: This is the second time I’ve picked up a book by Tracey Garvis-Graves not knowing whether I’d be able to handle the subject matter, and the second time she’s blown me away. Ms. Garvis-Graves has a gift for taking a difficult topic and causing the reader to have empathy for all characters involved. I’m still thinking about Covet two days after I finished reading it.
Claire Canton had a charmed life: a wonderful husband, two great kids, working from their lovely home doing graphic design in her spare time… Then her husband Chris lost his job. At first they’re not worried, he’s good at what he does and had been ‘head-hunted’ in the past. But the market is tight and he’s been unemployed for a year. During this time, he’s become withdrawn and depressed. When he finally gets a job, it involves traveling 4 days a week and Claire is worried that the distance is going to break their marriage, but she knows Chris needs this job, not only for financial reasons (Claire is a Type I diabetic and her pump and meds are expensive), but for emotional reasons as well (Claire hopes working again will make Chris feel better enough to stop needing antidepressants).
One afternoon Claire gets pulled over by Officer Daniel Rush, a handsome police officer who gives her a warning about her taillight. She runs into him again a few days later and events lead to her getting hired to do some design work for the police department. While working on the project she develops a friendship with Daniel, which continues to grow even after she’s done with the project. He talks to her, and he listens to her and makes her feel like she matters. As her friendship with Daniel is growing stronger, her husband is working longer hours and staying away for longer stretches, leaving the burden of running the household to Claire alone.
Claire loves Chris, and on the rare occasions he finds the time to talk to her he keeps promising her things will get better, but they’re not. And she doesn’t know how much more she can take before she breaks – and takes everything she’s been holding together with her.
Sometimes, you finish a book and you’re ruined for whatever comes next – after reading Covet I need a book palate cleanser. Covet is a story of emotional adultery, and it was powerful, moving, and scary… because the sequence of events could happen to anyone, affect any marriage, and it happens so gradually you don’t see it coming until it’s almost too late.
Tracey Garvis Graves is a powerful storyteller who’s prose makes you unable to turn away, even if it’s painful to read. Her characters are sympathetic and realistic, from the main characters, Claire and Chris, to Daniel the cop and even Claire’s neighbors, who have been keeping secrets of their own.
Written in three points of view (Claire, Chris, and Daniel), Ms. Garvis Graves has woven a complex story that shows the importance of communication and the how outside factors can affect even strong marriages. I really like stories where there’s no external conflict (zombies or trying to save the world, etc) and there’s no villain to fight in this story (unless you count the economy); I honestly liked all three main characters and while I winced at some of their choices, the author made me feel the emotions that led them to make those choices. I will say I’m pleased at how Ms. Garvis Graves ended Covet, which is impressive as I wanted an HEA for all three main characters.
On a side-note, I also felt like Covet highlights how important it is for women to have a circle of friends they can lean on: women will take on more and more responsibility to protect their families and are conditioned not to ask for help but to do whatever they can to keep up appearances.
Fans of women’s fiction will enjoy Covet; also readers who enjoy powerful writing and an emotional storyline.
Other books you might like, similar to ‘Covet’:
- Pieces of Happily Ever After by Irene Zutell