Cover Image: Her Perfect Life

Her Perfect Life

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an advance reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really went into this book thinking it was a mystery/thriller, and although there’s a little bit of ( predictable) mystery in it,  this really is a book about relationships, and loss. 

As we watch Eileen and Simon muddle their way through the first few days after Claire’ suicide, we also discover Claire’s truth, her pain and search for happiness - and the perfect life through her novels.

This is a beautifully written book and I would definitely read other books by this author .
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First off I want to thank @netgalley, @sourcebooks & Rebecca Taylor for my free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I honestly went in thinking this was a thriller but it wasn't at all, it's women's fiction/contemporary. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book I was hooked but then during the middle I completely lost interest. It was a very well written book and easy to get hooked too but once nothing was happening for me unfortunately I completely blanked out. I finished it and enjoyed the story as a whole but it wasn't the book for me.
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If you enjoy women's fiction/contemporary with a good story this might be for you.
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4.5 stars.

  Her Perfect Life is a compelling novel by Rebecca Taylor.

  Eileen Greyden is dealing with problems at home when she learns her sister, best-selling author Clare Collins has died. At her brother-in-law Simon Reamer’s request, Eileen travels to San Francisco to help with the funeral.  Reeling after a stunning personal discovery, she is further upset to discover Clare committed suicide. With Simon lacking understanding for his wife’s decision, Eileen combs through her sister’s journals in hopes of finding an answer for an inexplicable act. And at the same time, she also needs to makes decisions about her own life.

  Eileen is beyond frustrated with husband Eric’s lack of help with their three children and household chores. She is hard on herself about her self-perceived failings. Shocked by Clare’s death, she has many regrets about feeling jealous of her sister’s success and how far they have drifted apart.

  Avoiding talking to Eric after she arrives in San Francisco, Eileen learns unexpected information about her sister’s life as far back as their childhood in Wyoming. Simon offers invaluable insight that helps both of them begin to piece together the puzzle of her sister’s suicide. But it is not until Eileen talks to her Alzheimer’s stricken mother that she truly understands the most likely reason for Clare’s decision.

  Returning home, Eileen must decide what to do about the information she discovered the day she went to San Francisco. The children are thrilled to see her and they, of course, weigh heavily as she mulls over her options. Still uncertain, Eileen’s future remains in the balance as she faces the toughest choice she has ever had to make.

  Weaving back and forth in time, Her Perfect Life is a multi-layered novel with complex characters.  The chapter and perspective switches are seamless and easy to follow. Chapters from Clare’s point of view span twenty years and detail her life before she leaves Wyoming. Events from Eileen’s perspective take place in the present. Rebecca Taylor brings this fast-paced and engaging novel to a slightly predictable but completely satisfying conclusion.

  I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this well-written novel to readers of the genre.
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Thank you NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark, & Rebecca Taylor for a free, electronic copy of Her Perfect Life in exchange for an honest review (Publication date: June 2, 2020).

The day after her latest book is released, Clare Collins is found dead on the beach from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Clare had a seemingly "perfect" life - why would choose to end it? This hard-to-put-down debut novel focuses on Clare's sister, Eileen, as she tries to make sense of Clare's sudden death, trying to find out the "why" with Clare's widowed husband, Simon. While seeing the story from Eileen & Simon's points of view in the present, we also get glimpses into Clare's past in her own point of view & each characters stories intertwine to make, for me, a fast-paced read.

I read this book in one day; at the end of each chapter I just had to keep reading to see where the story was going to go. While the story's main focus is set on determining the "why" behind Clare's death, I also found that Eileen's personal life complications in the present did a good job of giving her character more depth & relatability. Overall, I enjoyed both the character and plot development. I was able to predict the twist towards the end, but that honestly did not take away from how much I enjoyed reading this book. I also would consider this more in the genre of women's fiction over thriller/suspense - for those who may be considering reading it. Nevertheless, I recommend this book to others!
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I went into it thinking it was a thriller for some reason and it’s not. I would say this is more of a women’s/contemporary fiction about a woman struggling with her new reality. Eileen was always jealous of her sister, Clare, because she found success as a best-selling author. They had been estranged for three years when Eileen receives the call from Clare’s husband, informing her that Clare has committed suicide. Eileen jumps on a plane to help with the funeral and to inform her mother, not realizing that her life will never be the same once she comes back home to her own husband and three kids.

I was not expecting to like this novel as much as I did. The characters were real and raw while dealing with their grief. It was a bit slow in spots but the narrative is interesting as the novel includes three viewpoints along with excerpts of Clare’s published works. The writing style is short and sweet and the ending solves all of the conflicts. This was an enjoyable read for me and I had a hard time putting it down.
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Nothing really to say except this is not a "thriller" in my sense of the word or genre. We do have a mystery (that did not shock me when we get to the reveal) about why one character killed herself. Other than that, the book I thought did a solid job showing how women see themselves and others and how so many people can think that their life or marriage is perfect when it's not. I liked the two sisters/characters (Clare and Eileen). I also felt very sad for Clare. It definitely leaves you wondering about what things would have looked like had she chosen differently and or just accepted things when she was in high school. 

"Her Perfect Life" follows harried mother, Eileen. Eileen is happily married, but feels a bit overwhelmed with her life and her three children. Her husband barely seems around to help her, but she counts herself lucky compared to her sister, Clare. Eileen is jealous of Clare and it seems as if the two sisters are slightly estranged. When Eileen gets a phone call from her sister Clare's husband Simon, he informs her that Clare has killed herself. Eileen and Simon struggle with what was so bad in Clare's life that would have her kill herself. The book jumps back and forth between Eileen, Simon, and Clare and we get chapters showing Clare 2 years before her death all the way to 20 years before her death. Eileen and Simon for the most part are in the present day with I think just 1 or 2 chapters showing Simon before.

I really liked all of the characters. You feel sad for everyone by the time you are done with the book. Clare for not trusting those around her. Eileen for realizing that what she thought was true about a lot of things, was not. Simon for realizing he never knew his life.

The writing was very good. The characters all have distinct voices. Clare as a teen's voice is different than her voice set 2 years before her death which makes sense. She is the only one we get to see change over the course of years which I think made sense. 

The setting of the book moves between California and Colorado. The setting of Clare and Simon's house felt fragile and it makes sense considering what you find via the book about Simon and Clare.

The ending leaves things on a hopeful note though which I liked.
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Let me start by saying, I didn't hate this one. But I didn't love it either. 
I felt like it was pretty slow paced, and found there were still a few unanswered questions at the end. I predicted the ending quite early on and was disappointed by the lack of shock factor/twists.
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This was an intersting one, I didn't love it or hate it...it was very middling. I enjoyed most of it but parts just let it down
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A great debut read by Rebecca Taylor! The author created a very sympathetic central character in Eileen. She lived under the shadow of her “perfect” sister, a world famous author as she struggled to raise her 3 children. A fascinating story that hooked me in the first few chapters.
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Such an unexpectedly great novel.

The writing was quick and effective, the characters were very well fleshed out and felt entirely authentic, and the story was intriguing. I breezed through this book, staying up half the night to finish.

There is a small twist at the end, but an easy one to see coming. Thankfully, figuring things out didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the story in the least. The characters brought this story to life in a way that made twists unnecessary.

What did dampen my enthusiasm was the death of a pet dog near the end of the novel. Although it was an accident and there were no nefarious intentions, it still broke my heart...while also ticking me off. It was so unnecessary. When are authors going to learn that dying pets are never good for their ratings?

Overall, though, this is a gorgeous story covering themes of suicide, infidelity, dementia, and a mother's desire to protect her children...despite their not-so-great choices.

Triggers: Suicide, infidelity, the death of a pet

Please pick up your own copy on June 2, 2020.

**Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy.
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Everyone believes the grass is greener but truly all you need is some water from time to time.
Folks, we have here a story of perfection but is it really perfect?
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes an eye for an eye is needed to even up all sides.
With this one we see two women (sisters) who have lived lives they each thought was better than the other with two interesting timelines.
One with Eileen after revealing her sister Clare's sudden and unexpected suicide.
The other with Clare and the time frame leading up to the decision making process as well as the flawed life as a writer.
I first must note the interview with Rebecca Taylor in the end was quite interesting so make sure you don't miss out.
It was full of the writing process in determining ideas to put to paper and the Olympics with Michael Phelps and the two women supporting him was the basis for this writing.
Fascinating to read how it all came together for Rebecca as this is a first read for me with her novel.
There was plenty to interest the appetite in this one from thrillers to plot twists to characters full of colorful dimensional facets to their lives.
The masterful plot twist near the end was magnificent on several levels. 
The mother of the women has alzheimers but eventually spills the beans but not before doing some covering for Clare.
Clare and Eileen both had flaws and hardships to endure but came out of them with distinct individuality.
Clare's outcome was written by several reviewers as expected and probable but I suppose I'm a slow learner because it was unexpected for me.
Her death resulted because of this connection to Adam and what happened the night he was accused of driving drunk.
It's a shocker because that decision process in driving that day changed many lives.
The question that must be asked is do you feel confident that Adam was the sole driver behind the wheel? Could there be others involved?
Now with Eileen we question her ability to move forward after her cheating husband.
Give a girl a pen she rewrites the story her way.
No worries, Eileen is all good as a soon to be divorcee with some bright spots on the horizon and possibly a new romantic partner.
This ties it all up in the end to create a wonderful piece of fiction.
Thank you to Rebecca, the publisher, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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This was a really sweet but sad story. I felt sad for Clare. I like how the story was based around her and her life. I also liked how the author went back and forth in time, I like when the events of the past lead up to present times. It gives a nice background on how things ended up the way they are in the present.  If a reader is looking for a sweet but somber read, I recommend this.
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3 1/2 ⭐️‘s

Eileen is having the worst day of her life.  Her sister, Clare, is a prodigious writer, but two years ago something changed and after writing a book that was a bit out of character, Clare takes her own life, but why?  Her husband, Simon and sister, Eileen are determined to find out and through her journals and short stories much is brought to light.  In the meantime, Eileen has some of her own issues that need to be dealt with.  A story of loving too much and how it shapes the lives of two very different sisters.  This book, while a good read, was quite predictable and fits much better in the Women’s Fiction category than Suspense/Thriller.
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This book follows Eileen and Simon after the death of Claire, with Clairs story being told as well. 
The book leads takes you on a journey to begin with, its really interesting trying to find out why Clair killed herself. However once you find out the reason its predictable and I actually was completely let down. I struggled to love this book, as I said the first half is more gripping than the second half. 
Eileen's character is very relatable but also quite boring if I'm honest and Simon didn't really need his own chapters. 
I am giving it 3 stars though as I did enjoy the begining when I first started reading I thought it would be a easy 5 star book but it let's itself down.
It's a mundane story. Chic lit. 
If you are looking for a quick and easy book to read on holiday this is a good book for you. 
Thank you source books and netgalley for providing a PRC of her perfect life in exchange for a free and honest review.
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Wow. I was seriously hooked from the first chapter with this book and that feeling of needing to know what was going to happen next never let up. This was a definite page-turner.

HER PERFECT LIFE is a fast-paced, beautifully written novel about the complex relationships in our lives and the lasting impact of our decisions and choices. The story is told from multiple points of view and Taylor’s vivid writing style takes you right into the hearts and minds of each character. There is so much to unpack in this book and with each new discovery, a piece of the puzzle is unwrapped. 

Even though the book spans more than 20 years I never felt lost. Taylor deftly manages to segway into each new chapter or moment in a way that never slowed down the pace or momentum of the journey. I am truly impressed that this was a debut novel and can’t wait to read what Rebecca Taylor writes next. 

Thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for the advance reading copy.
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I loved this book. There were so many twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end. See my complete review on Goodreads.
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Successful author Claire Collins is found dead on the beach right after her latest book is released.  Why would Claire want to kill herself? Her books were successful and made her an abundance of money. She seemed to have the perfect life. When Claire’s husband calls her sister Eileen to come help him with the services, Eileen begins to see that the perfect life she thought her sister had, was not so perfect afterall. Eileen begins to read her deceased sister’s latest release novel, she soon realizes the secrets her sister tried so hard to keep for so long.  As the details unfold, it captivates the reader.
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3.5 stars for this one. 
The book isn’t fast paced, isn’t a domestic thriller, isn’t a murder mystery yet it is hard to put down. The ‘reveal’ wasn’t surprising either, pretty much guessed it but still the book was hard to put down. I attribute it to the writing. The author has written very well and developed the plot nicely. The flashbacks are easy to keep track of, and add to the plot. The book is a tad longer than needed but all in all a good read.
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I absolutely LOVED this book!  I could not put it down. The author used the dual timeline perfectly, and really created a page turner that you don’t want to end.  The characters were well developed and so real. I will definitely be recommending this. Sisterhood, love, betrayal, it’s all in here.
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Her Perfect Life was definitely a page-turning read for me. 

Clare Collins seems to have it all - a successful writing career, a huge home and a loving husband. So, when she ends her own life, those who knew her are taken by surprise. Meanwhile, her sister, Eileen and her husband, Simon are left to pick up the pieces and figure out what would have led Clare to take the actions she did. Perhaps the answers lie within her latest novel, A Perfect Life. Through reading the book and through Clare’s journals, they learn more about her inner thoughts and life experiences, digging out some secrets along the way. 

The novel is primarily told through Eileen’s perspective, but includes points of view from Simon and Clare as well. 

Throughout the novel, Taylor does a great job foreshadowing the events to come, so the ending wasn’t a surprise, but more like a finished puzzle when the pieces finally all fit together. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend to readers who like mystery and psychological thrillers.
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