Cover Image: Her Perfect Life

Her Perfect Life

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Member Reviews

Clare Collins is a famous author, married to Simon who is also her agent. She lives in a beautiful house on the beach and it seems she has the perfect life. 
When she is found dead on the beach from a self inflicted gunshot, everyone wonders, why?
Her sister Eileen is a married mother of three. She loves her husband, but he isn't as involved in the daily family responsibilities as she would like.
Somewhat estranged from her sister at the time of her death, Eileen has contended with jealousy over Clare's ideal existence.
Eileen flies from Colorado to San Francisco to help her grieving brother in law with the funeral arrangements.
There, she finds the journals that Clare has written from a young age. She immerses herself in the past, looking for answers.
This was a well written mystery with sympathetic characters. I quickly flew through this delightful and intriguing debut novel.
Thank you Sourcebooks Landmark for the e-ARC via NetGalley.
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Her Perfect Life is a thoroughly engaging tale that explains how one's high school years can be the driving force for their life's master plan. Claire, the older sister always feels as if she isn't good enough for her high school boyfriend. Years later, when she finds success as a writer she creates stories describing happy endings and successful relationships. Her sister Eileen has a seemingly happy family but all that changes when Clare dies.
In San Francisco, helping arrange her sister's funeral, Eileen discovers how secrets from the past can bring unhappy endings to unfulfilled dreams.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one day. It wasn't just a fast read but a need to understand how the past can shape one's life.
I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and I'm pleased to have had this opportunity. I look forward to reading more by Rebecca Taylor.
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Pure delight! 
Secrets, envy, and infidelity are the twisty backdrop in Rebecca Taylor’s page-turning debut. 
Eileen envies her successful sister Clare’s life. Both live their own versions of the perfect life, or, at least Eileen tries to. With a husband and three children she can barely keep up with her household chores, or getting the kids to school on time.
Upon Clare’s death, shocking photos of infidelity and stacks of secret diaries spanning back to adolescence reveal their lives were anything but perfect.
Written in easy to keep track dual-storylines, this novel centers around life, family and the complexities of marriage. It’s fast-paced, smartly written narrative is perfect for women contemporary readers. Highly recommend. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for my digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Rebecca Taylor in her debut book has spun a story with women protagonists, with a bit of mystery, a lot of life and emotions

I requested a review copy of this book from Netgalley. I was very drawn in by the description and the title. 

Eileen is a mother of three children have the regular life of a homemaker and frelance photographer living with her husband and making ends meet. It seems she is very impressed and very envious of her sister Claire Collins' Rags to richs journey where she becomes a best selling author with many books to her name. On one of hr usual days of chaos and chores she gets a call from hr brother in law that her sister has committed suicide. This coincides with the day of the relase of hr new book 'Her Perfect life; and requests hr help in the funeral arrangements. 

Here starts Eileen's journey of rediscovering her sister through her latest book, trying to uncover the reason for her suicide and may be a bit more. 

The story is written very well with the characterisation done so good that I could understand and feel the emotions going through them. I loved Eileen's character, initially she seemed like a complaining jealous sister but she made a place in my heart as the story progressed. The emotions, the descriptions, the lines the characters say to each other all, all were apt and not overdone. Even though at times I felt the story was going slow, yet the way the story progressed kept me hooked on  to it. 
The story though is written in third person POV but each chapter tells the story from a particular character's perspective. I would have loved to understand Simon a bit more. 

If you like to read women centric, slice of life kind of stories with a bit of mystery, a lot of emotions human frailities, then you would love this book. A great debut book by the author and I definitely would keep my eyes open for her future works. 

Disclaimer: I requested an eARC on Netgalley and I thank the author and publishers for providing me a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are entirely mine
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What bound Eileen, Simon and Clare together is the realization that the loved their significant other far more than they were loved. Clare and the image she portrayed was merely a facade and her life was as sterile and devoid of color as her office. The secret that her mother carried ultimately led to her demise and death but she was an enigma all along. I was glad that Eileen stood strong and put herself first.
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Right from the start I was drawn into this story of hot mess Eileen and her glamorous, successful, and famous sister Clare. When Clare kills herself no one can understand why she wasn’t happy with her seemingly perfect life. Eileen finds Clare’s stack of journals that she kept throughout her life and hopes to find clues to her state of mind within the journal entries. Piece by piece she uncovers Clare’s unknown story and the life events that helped her become a great writer but also led to her death. While Eileen is dealing with Clare’s funeral and attempting to help Clare’s husband in his absolute despair she is also experiencing her own marriage imploding. It’s no wonder she is always getting absolutely, fall over, blackout drunk! There’s some humour in Clare’s drinking but mostly I was just sad for her. As Clare’s story was uncovered I also felt very sad for her too. Despite appearances neither sister has a "perfect life."

There was a twist and a big secret that is revealed nearer the end but I think it was quite apparent pretty early on what had happened so when the “reveal” came I was not at all surprised. I don’t believe that anyone will miss the clear clues that pointed to this secret. It was a bit too easy to figure out and so it lost any impact it was meant to have. Despite this too obvious secret I enjoyed the rest of the story because I was engaged with the characters. I knew exactly where Clare’s story was going but it didn’t really matter because I still wanted to see how Eileen would process this revelation and how she was going to handle her marriage. In the end I was satisfied with the resolution and the ending given to Eileen’s story. While it was unfortunate that the mystery/suspense didn’t work for me the story still did, and I enjoyed the journey even though I guessed a major part of the destination. 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
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Eileen and her sister Clare had been estranged for years- not really estranged so much as not connected.  Eileen is stunned, however, when her brother in law Simon calls to tell her that Clare has been found a sucide on the beach.  Everything looked good in her world but readers know that's not the case, and not for Eileen either.  This is really both sisters' story and it shifts back and forth between them, with Clare's told through her journals and her novel.  Eileen's life is up in the air = her marriage is in the pits, her finances not good, and she's coping with being part of the sandwich generation. I felt for both sisters- the one who tried to hide her issues and the one who couldn't.   Both characters are relatable and so real.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  This will make you sigh and spots and, if you have a sister, give her a call.
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Its nice to read a book sold as women’s fiction where everything doesn’t end happily ever after in a generic manner, but happily enough to leave the reader fulfilled and pleased with the outcome. Eileen’s sister Clare is the J.K. Rowling of the romance genre, ironic in that she is personally cold and standoffish, with a total of 60+ books to her name. She is wealthy beyond words, lives in a mansion in an idyllic setting, has the ability to care for her sick mother at an exclusive care home, has an adoring husband and the lifestyle that most people, including Eileen, would envy. Which is why when Clare’s husband Simon calls her to inform Eileen that Clare has committed suicide, his distress is obvious, and she swings into action to be the helpful sister-in-law but is derailed after opening a generic manila envelope that contains six photos of Eileen’s husband in various compromising situations with a woman that he works with leaves her shocked beyond her own comprehension.  What follows is the story of Eileen and Simon both struggling to come to grips with their obviously dysfunctional relationships and the fallout that ensues from the choices their partners have made. On the opposite side of the story, the reader is taken back into Clare and Eileen’s past life, their upbringing and the one romantic relationship that Clare has ever valued, that with Adam Collins, the boy that was tragically killed in a car accident in which he and Clare were beyond the legal limit to drive. Clare has no recollection of the accident and is haunted by the fact Adam had asked her to marry him and that she had said no because of her fear of being married too young and is now forever separated from him, her only outlet in life being the writing of romance novels where she and he are the main characters.

Taylor has written about the grief of betrayal and the heartache of suicide for the survivors of such behaviour and choices in a way that poignantly expresses itself to the reader. The loss, the confusion, the questioning, uncertainty and disbelief all become real and visceral.  The characters are beautifully written and completely believable. We feel the very real envy of Eileen towards her successful sister and the way being the sibling of a famous person makes everything you do feel small and insignificant. We understand without a shadow of a doubt the grief that Simon feels when he tries to come to grips with the reality that his wife has killed herself. We understand the camaraderie that develops between Eileen and Simon in the week they are together organising Clare’s funeral, and some unsavoury truths of their own conduct and choices come to light also, with the potential to derail the thin friendship that they have created out of this tragedy. 

This debut novel is one that makes the reader eagerly wait for and feel compelled to read the next offering that Rebecca Taylor brings forth.
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Thank you to #NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my honest review.  Her Perfect Life is Rebecca Taylor's first book and I hope that it is not her last.  On the surface, it is the story of two sisters, Eileen and Clare, and their mother, Ella, but hidden below the surface are many family secrets and hurtful memories.  Clare, married to her agent Simon, is a famous author.  Eileen is married, has three children and just found out through an envelope of photos left on her husband's windshield that he is involved in a relationship with another woman.   Ella has dementia and is living in an expensive care facility.  The sisters have not been close for years and Eileen is surprised to see a call from Simon on her phone.   When she answers, Simon tells her that her sister is dead and Eileen later discovers that she died from a self inflicted gunshot wound.  Of course, this brings up the big question of why did her sister kill herself.  Taylor jumps back and forth in time using a dual-timeline story that reveals secret after secret, reaching a twist at the end that, while unexpected, is completely believable and satisfying and shows the lengths mothers will go to in order to protect their children.  I recommend this book and think it would be perfect for a book club.  There is a Reading Group Guide at the end which brings up some interesting discussion points.
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I really struggled with this one. While overall it was an engaging read, it wasn't what I expected. It's billed as a mystery/thriller, but after the first 25%, there really wasn't any suspense. I kept waiting for a huge reveal, only to learn that the ending was far less dramatic than I expected. As a result, I feel really underwhelmed by it. That said, if you're okay not chasing plot twists, you might enjoy this one more than me.
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Many thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark, and Rebecca Taylor for the opportunity to read and review her debut adult novel.  4 stars for a compelling story that was hard to put down!

Clare has seemingly the perfect life.  She lives in a gorgeous mansion on San Francisco's coast with her husband, Simon, who adores her, and their little dog, Charlie.  She's also a best-selling author who churns out many books a year.  When Clare kills herself the day after her book and movie premiere, everyone is shocked.  Her sister, Eileen, is especially devastated.  While the two sisters haven't been extremely close, she couldn't understand what would make Clare kill herself when everything was so perfect for her.  In contrast, Eileen's life is messy, especially now.  She's busy trying to handle 3 kids and run her household with not much help from her husband, Eric.  When she gets the news about Clare, Eileen hops on a plane to be with her brother-in-law and to figure out what happened.

Told in the present time in Eileen's voice, we are privy to Clare's story through journals she left behind that she has meticulously kept since her teens.

While I may have seen the twist coming at the end, it in no way lessened the enjoyment of this book.  It was interesting to see the dynamics of the sisters and go behind the scenes into their marriages and relationships as well.  Great debut - can't wait to read more from this author!
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This book is different from other books that I’ve read because everyone in this book means well for the most part. Basically, this book is a famous writer named Clare Collins who dies leaving her husband, Simon and her sister Eileen behind to figure out the mystery behind her death. I love the cover of the book and I like the way the author shows the complexities of human relationships and the flaws of human nature.
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This book was great! It was so easy to lose yourself in the story, and kept you turning pages to see what happened next! Will definitely be recommending!
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I love Rebecca Taylor!!! This was a great book, there is not a character in this book some can’t relate to. Very well written, attention grabber, and very thought provoking.
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Having just lost my sister, this book was so hard for me to read.  I thought it was sad, but with an interesting twist.  It was about one sister basically trying to figure out why her sister had committed suicide.  The one who dies is an author and has just written another novel, but it's unlike her other novels in the past.  The sister and brother-in-law, delve into the diaries of the one deceased to try and uncover what may have triggered the death.  It goes back into time and we find out the history of the deceased sister's relationship that played a role in her suicide.  It was definitely a heart breaker for me.  I recommend it.
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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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