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Her Perfect Life

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I made it about a third of the way through this book before I gave up on it. The story is about a wealthy author who apparently commits suicide on a beach right as her latest novel is hitting the public eye. It's also about her sister who lives a rather more impoverished life, apparently receiving no assistance from her rich sister, and who gets an unexpected call from her distraught brother-in-law. I immediately suspected that guy rather than suicide, but since I didn't finish this novel, I have no idea if I'm right.

Eileen flies to her sister's home, and that's where I gave up on it. The story did nothing to move me at all. In fact it felt like a depressing and dreary read, but two things really turned me off it. The first was the screeching halt to which the story was brought to by flashbacks. I cannot stand flashbacks. I can't think of a better way to annoy your reader than interrupt what had begun as an interesting story to explore tedious family history. When I read a story I want to get on with the story. I do not want to be constantly and irritatingly interrupted by the author forcing me to go back in time, giving me whiplash by suddenly - in Chapter three, for example, forcing me back two years ago. Tell the story now for goodness sake!

Neither did it help by the tennis-play chapters - now we're with Eileen, Now we're with Simon. No, it's back to Eileen. Wait a sec! Now Simon has it. Slap! Look left. Slap! Look right! Sorry, but no. No. NO! I was initially attracted and intrigued by the idea of Eileen reading Clare's latest novel and finding clues in the writing as to what happened, but he author seemed defiantly intent upon putting me off that story altogether by screwing around instead of getting on with it. The more I read, the less I felt that the payoff would be worth the work of reading this, and work it was.

One of the most obnoxious parts of the book was that I once again had to read a female author describing a woman and putting beauty first in the list, like no woman has any higher calling or more important trait than being beautiful. I have seen this time and time again in reading books by female authors and I find it sickening that they cannot value their fellow women - not even fictional ones - for anything apart from beauty first.

I read, at only 6% in, "Clare Collins was beautiful...." Yes, it went on to describe other qualities, but beauty was always foremost. 28% in: "...beautiful, talented, and simply awe-inspiring sister...." Yep. Beauty first. Again. How beastly. 37% in "...her beautiful face...." 40% in: "...her beautiful surface...." 41% in: "Clare was beautiful...." Oh wait! at 51% in we get a change! Clare is "...vivacious and..." on no! "Vivacious and beautiful...." There it goes again. 61%: "...beautiful and talented...." It was tediously repetitive.

This is tiresome, obnoxious, and awful writing. People who write about women like this are a part of the problem and I cannot commend a book that persistently devalues women to a skin depth and little more. The book description has it that this is "a page-turning debut" but for me it was a stomach-turning one, and a cover-closing one so I could move on to the next read on my list which hopefully will feature characters who are not valued only for skin which is 'bright and clear' which is what the name Clare means. I can't commend this based on the layout of the book, the demeaning of a female character, and the content of the third of it that I managed to stomach.
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This one was intense and I thoroughly enjoyed! The dual timelines were great & it was so neat to read Clare's diaries and see a peek into her life when she was younger. The format was great and :Taylor did a really great job telling the stories of both Eileen and Clare. I felt bad for Eileen and all of her struggles (SO MANY!), but also felt endeared to Clare and her personal demons. Definitely lots of trigger warnings in this one but a solid story line and well written. A true page turner! Thank you Sourcebooks Landmarked for an advanced copy!
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Thank you to Netgalley, Rebecca Taylor and Sourcebooks Landmark for the gifted, advanced copy of Her Perfect Life by Rebecca Taylor publishing on June 2, 2020.
I devoured the book in one sitting.  I loved the plot, the characters, the point of view. The novel provides a glimpse into the world of a bestselling novelist, a lifetime love, and the burial of secrets. The story is from two points of view; the first POV is novelist Claire Collin's Sister Eileen as she navigates the suicide death of her only sister as she works to find out why her sister would have taken such a drastic measure to end her own life. The second POV is Claire's perspective and the year before suicide, taking the readers through her experience of becoming a novel and all of her past events she puts into her writing. The book is categorized as a mystery/thriller, and I would be more apt to put in the general fiction/mystery. I found this book entertaining, engaging, and was sad when it ended as I wanted to continue being a "fly-on-the-wall" of Eileen's life and her extended family's lives. I would love the author to re-visit the experience of Eileen as a continuation of her story.  As much as you begin to understand Calire's secret, I get the feeling there are secrets to learn about her Eileen. I would also like the author to go deeper into the life of Eileen and Claire's mother as I loved her immediately and could sense the mystery around her. Her Perfect Life is the perfect beach read this summer, or the ideal any time read!
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Successful writer Clare Collins and Eileen, a wife and mother of three, are sisters. One day, Eileen receives a phone call from Simon, Clare's husband in which he reveals shocking news... Clare has been found dead on a beach after apparently shooting herself. Eileen cannot understand why her sister - someone who led a charmed life - would do this, so she heads to San Francisco to meet with Simon. But did Clare really have the alluring lifestyle that Eileen found so enviable?

Her Perfect Life is told in seamlessly transitioning chapters between past and present, narrated by Simon and Eileen, with excerpts from Clare's journals and published works. This style worked very well for me, making unfolding events easy to follow. The characterisation by Rebecca Taylor was very well done and each had plenty of personality and depth. I was invested in all of them and needed to know how the story would pan out. Her Perfect Life is an engaging piece of domestic fiction about sisterhood and relationships that included good dollops of harboured secrets, infidelity, duplicity, lies, and envy. A pretty good début and an all-round riveting read.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel at my request from Sourcebooks Landmark via NetGalley and this review is my unbiased opinion.
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This one was just okay for me. I found it a little predictable but still an okay read. I wouldn’t necessarily classify this one as a thriller really. I just felt it was more of a general fiction bordering on a mystery read.
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I devoured Rebecca Taylor's compelling debut adult fiction novel, "Her Perfect Life." Eileen has a normal life, with three unruly kids, and a workaholic husband, but normal. Safe. Plain. Maybe even boring. Unlike her older sister, THE Clare Collins. Clare is a very successful, bestselling novellist, with more wealth and fame than Eileen could imagine. When Clare is found dead in an apparent act of suicide, her husband, Simon, enlists Eileen's help to figure out why she would do this. United in their grief, they will not stop looking until they find answers, no matter how painful the truth might be.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I often found myself furiously flipping pages, eager to find out what happened next. More than once, my heart raced in my chest, and I needed to calm myself down before reading further. I love the use of journals throughout the novel to help us understand Clare's complex character more and more. I never once found myself lost from one chapter to the next, regardless of the passing of time. It was seamless and done perfectly!
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Rebecca Taylor has a riveting style that will keep hold of your attention from start to finish. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
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Many of the twists in this story were predictable and many times specifically Eileen, comments and train of thought very repetitive to the point of redundancy. This made Eileen's chapters drag on. However, I did enjoy Clare's pov and her plotline. It was the strongest one. The way it was presented was riveting. Her issues and interactions pulled me in.  I would rate this book a 3.25 because of this.
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I loved this book and read it in one sitting.  
The ending is predictable, but this is not the kind of book that you read as quickly as you can to find out who did it.  It’s the kind of book that you read to find out how the author gets you to that ending.
The characters are interesting and I found myself grieving with them over their heartaches and losses.  
4.5 stars
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What an excellent book. I don't usually eat read books with this postocular subject matter, but I was drawn to it from the little blurb I read about it. It is told from Dual perspectives of two sisters Clare and Eileen. They live in a small town out west with their police officer mother. Clare has a longtime boyfriend and they are desperately in love with one another. He has a scholarship out east and Clare will be staying at home. This puts a strain on the relationship. Each sister hasa  compelling story. I liked the author's writing style, she gave them wonderful characterizations with excellent depth and you felt for each sister on a different level.

I had a difficult time putting this book down because it is really engrossing. It is sad from start to finish. It deals with difficult subject matter: infidelity, suicide and the accidental death of a well-loved pet. That being said, I loved the book and I definitely recommend it.

I would like to thank Rebecca Taylor, Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Her Perfect Life by Rebecca Taylor was a fantastic debut novel. I was hooked from the beginning and couldn't put it down. If you are looking for a page-turning thriller, look no further!
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I want to preface my review by saying that there are a few themes that may be triggering to some readers. The theme of suicide is prevalent although it is handled elegantly and not detailed/ gory or romanticized in any way.  Also the theme of infidelity is witnessed within multiple characters. 

Does anyone truly have the perfect life? Her Perfect life at its core it is a story of love, loss, grief, and what it means to simply be human.

Clare is a  writer who has been trying to tell the same story for years. When she is finally admits it to herself and writes the true story, its enough to break her. Eileen is a mother who is struggling with the loss of her older sister while  also coping with the discovery of her husbands infidelity. They are such relatable and believable characters that your heart cant help but to ache for them.

Her perfect life is a truly engaging read that kept me on edge with each turn of the page.  The story flows effortlessly and the characters are layered in a way that makes them obviously flawed and very much human.  

Overall I fell unexpectedly in love with this book.  


I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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When bestselling author Clare Collins is found dead on the beach with a self inflicted gun shot wound everyone is shocked! It’s the morning after her latest book was published. Claire’s sister Eileen is floored when she receives the phone call, when  her sisters husband Simon informs her that her sister is dead and more shocking by suicide. Eileen who hasn’t seen her sister for a few years always assumed Clare had it all, a successful career, perfect marriage a huge home why would she kill herself? Eileen a mother of three and her husband Eric who doesn’t lift a finger to help, she tells Simon she will take the next plane to San Francisco to help him. On the way to the airport she finds an envelope with photos of her husband in bed with his coworker, now dealing with her sisters death and the fact her husband is cheating, Eileen is overwhelmed with emotions. Arriving in San Francisco she finds Simon  emotional and confused how could he not see that his wife was planning this. Eileen begins to go through Clare’s seemingly perfect life with the help of Clare’s journals and soon she’s piecing together Clare’s life. Alternating chapters from past and present that include Clare’s journal entries we get the point of view from Clare, Simon and Eileen. Soon the puzzle begins to form and we see that the grass isn’t always greener and everyone has secrets and lies. I feel this was more of a domestic fiction and I truly enjoyed the authors writing style I was immediately pulled into the story line. Every character had layers and it added so much to them. This was definitely an engaging read! Four stars!
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I really thought I was picking up a thriller book....I had not read any other reviews until after I started and was a little disappointed when people were saying it wasn’t much of a thriller. I usually don’t like other genres BUT I couldn’t put this book down and read it in 2 days.  I fell in love with Clare and Adam and their story and wanted more! Can you please write that story next!! The full story! 

This book was just beautifully written! Right from the start I was sucked in. And no it wasn’t much of a thriller..... but I connected with these characters and I felt every emotion! And although I enjoyed the past chapters more than the present it didn’t take away anything and I fell in love with Eileen as well. 

Well done!!!
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I really enjoyed HER PERFECT LIFE.  I loved how the story was told from several points of view and how it came together.  While it was listed as a mystery/thriller, I found it to be more of a general fiction book.  Overall a good read.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy.
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Her Perfect Life was an engaging and well-paced story with authentic characters. Told from the perspective of Eileen, Clare and Simon and switching between past and present, the story came together beautifully as if it were a puzzle being put together. This book is women's fiction despite it being labeled as a thriller. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.
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A fast twisty roller coaster of a read. Buckle in for the rude of your life as you feverishly flip pages absolutely having to know what happened. My favorite type of genre. Will have you guessing until the end. Happy reading!
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This was a very layered book / story. It was so engrossing that I had to force myself to put it down. this is the story of Clare and Eileen two sisters who are leading very separate lives. Their story is told in flashbacks and in 2 POV.s until eventually we merge into present day. I think that it is very mush a story about perception and how our perception although a reality to us may not be truth and once the truth is known it can change everything in an instant.
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Her Perfect Life is a great mystery that kept me guessing all the way through. Clare Collins is a successful, famous author and it seems she is living the perfect life. Eileen, Clare’s sister, is a frazzled, mom of three, with a seemingly perfect marriage. The book starts with Eileen getting a phone call from Clare’s husband, Simon, to the news that her sister has committed suicide. She heads to San Francisico to meet with Simon and try to piece together the details of why Clare would have killed herself. What ensues are chapters alternating from the present and past chapters from Clare, Simon and Eileen. In the end, we finally get the truth. It goes to show you that many people are hiding behind their perfect life with secrets and lies. It was a fascinating, engaging read that could lead to some great discussions. I would highly recommend this one. 

TW: infidelity, suicide, death 

* ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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Rebecca Taylor's 'Her Perfect Life' jumps right into it; she sucked me in and kept me engaged until the very end. I enjoy stories that shine a light on the people and lives that seem perfect from the outside but are never quite what they seem when you get an inside look. The chapters alternate between sisters Clare and Eileen as the narrators and Clare's start in the preset, but quickly jump into the past and slowly bring you back to the present time while Eileens' are all told in the present. There are multiple events happening, this isn't a plot centered around a singular event which creates a dynamic storyline. I really enjoyed the story Taylor crafted and would recommend picking up this one!

**Readers will want to be aware there are some possible triggers.
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Her Perfect Life draws you in from the first page. This book ask the question if you can ever can really know someone. On the outside, Clare looks like she has it all; great marriage, successful career, fame and notoriety. Her sudden suicide comes as a devastating shock to Clare’s husband and  sister, Eileen. As they try to unravel the mystery behind her death, long-buried secrets are revealed and lives are changed forever. Heartbreaking and captivating, Rebecca Taylor’s novel clutches your heart and won’t let go. Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for my ARC!
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