Jo Piazza • Simon Schuster • July 24, 2018 • 320 Pages
Charlotte Walsh is in her late forties and has a very comfortable life. She’s worked her way up the corporate ladder at Humanity, a successful tech company in Silicon Valley. Her husband, Max, is incredibly supportive of her career and doesn’t mind that his wife is his boss. Together, they have three beautiful young daughters, a gorgeous house, good friends, and an all-around enviable life.
So when Charlotte finds out that Max has cheated on her, she’s devastated—but also determined to work through it. She realizes she’s ready for a change anyway, for herself and for her family. She decides to move everyone back home to Pennsylvania (contrite husband in tow…) to run for state senator. Max isn’t happy with the arrangement—he hates Pennsylvania and doesn’t particularly feel like becoming a stay-at-home dad—but he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to make up for his infidelity and please his wife. Unfortunately, both Charlotte and Max aren’t quite prepared for the rigors of campaign life. The crazy travel schedule, the constant barrage of (unkind) public opinions, and the pressure to look perfect no matter what all take a toll on their relationship. In the end, Charlotte must decide how much she’s willing to lose in order to win.
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I finished this book a few days ago, and I’m still thinking about it. I really wish the ending were more concrete, but something about that ambiguous conclusion forces me to keep mulling it all over. I can’t help but think about the messiness of relationships, politics, parenthood, friendship, and, yes, ambition. What does it take to get what we want, and is it possible to achieve it all?
This book covers controversial topics—relevant controversial topics, especially given the last presidential election—and there were times for me when it was almost too depressing to read. I thought of Hillary Clinton a lot, thought about how difficult it must have been for her to run against Donald Trump. I’m happy for all the accomplishments women have made over the past 100+ years, and I’m looking forward to women candidates crushing it in the midterms (woot woot), but good grief we have a ways to go.
Overall, though, I enjoyed this book. The story moves along swiftly, and the characters are, for the most part, well-developed, endearing, real, and entertaining. There are a few far-fetched plot points where I had to suspend disbelief for a bit, but I still really liked seeing a glimpse of Charlotte Walsh’s crazy, ambitious life.
Thank you Simon Schuster and Net Galley for the Advanced Reader Copy!