Cover Image: Her Perfect Life

Her Perfect Life

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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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Strong 3.5 stars. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, so here it goes. This book is about a famous author named Clare Collins and her sister Eileen. The two women have lost touch as adults, largely because they lead such different lives. Clare is a multi millionaire living in San Fransisco with her agent and husband, Simon, and Eileen is somewhere across the country living with her husband and 3 kids in a rather typical suburban life. There are a lot of sibling rivalry issues below the surface (especially coming from Eileen) but Eileen is shocked when she gets a call from Clare's hysterical husband saying he found her dead from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Eileen goes to San Fransisco to try to help Simon clean up the pieces (not literally) and figure out why Clare committed suicide. We get perspectives from Eileen and Simon in present day, then we also get Clare's perspective dating as far back as 20 years before her death. We get to see in to some of her journals, but we never get anything from her latest book "A Perfect Life". This book is said to be much different and darker than all of her other stories and perhaps this book holds some clues as to why she killed herself. We get to see the dedication of the book and we hear about the content, but we do not get to read any of the actual book as we do her short stories/journal entries. I think we get enough that we can piece together what the book is about though, so I don't agree with other reviewers that say reading the actual book would've been helpful. This book is marketed as a thriller, but I definitely think it is more of a women's fiction with a mystery in the background. We're really studying Clare and how her mind worked and what could lead someone with such a "perfect" life to commit such a terrible act. Eileen also has her own things that she's working through and I liked getting to know both sisters. I think the author is a psychologist, so despite this being her debut, she wrote in a way that felt very authentic and harrowing. She also describes the pain of a migraine, and as a migraine sufferer, I could feel every little feeling the character was feeling. I thought that was so well written! 
My complaints about the book are as follows. Clare has a relationship with another writer named Donna. They lived together in college and now Donna has reviewed her latest book. Their relationship was VERY underdeveloped and confusing, yet it played a pivotal role in the story. At times they were friends and at other times they were enemies and I mostly understand why, but it was not very clear. This relationship definitely could've benefitted from more development. I also wish her relationship with Kaylee would've been developed more so we could see how it went from one extreme to the other. My other complaint is that there is a death of a pet in the end that I didn't really think was necessary. I see why the author put it in there, but I don't think it was needed. Furthermore, I think the ending was fairly predictable, but satisfying enough. 
Overall, I think this book is worth a read as long as you go in expecting more of a women's fiction than a thriller. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for granting me an electronic ARC! 

SPOILERS AHEAD: 
Clare met the love of her life as a child. Adam was the golden boy and had multiple talents. He was bound for college after their senior year, but Clare was going to stay in their small town and work. He proposed and she said yes, but then later said she wasn't ready and that changed everything in their relationship. He started getting cold and unkind to her and it all blew up at a party when he was found cheating. They had both been drinking a lot and we think that Adam was driving and got in a terrible wreck that ended up killing him and badly injuring Clare. However, we find out in the end that Clare was actually the one driving. Her mom found the scene and put Adam in the driver's seat so her daughter wouldn't be blamed. Clare had never stopped loving Adam, even all these years later, and the guilt overwhelmed her and took her to a place she couldn't handle, thus ending in suicide. Her beloved dog also dies shortly before she kills herself. 
Kaylee is Adam's twin sister and she and Clare were BFF's through high school. The tragedy tore them apart and now Kaylee seems to strongly dislike Clare and I never really knew why. Donna was Clare's friend and college roommate and her strongest critic. She's the one who got Clare into writing and knew her most personal stories. In Clare's latest book, she tells her and Adam's story but its as if he didn't die. Instead, they go on to live and have a bad marriage where then she ends up killing him and herself. Donna blurbed the book because she said it is the most real thing that Clare had ever written, yet she wrote a bad review (doesn't make sense). She said all her other books had happy endings and were cheesily inauthentic. 
As for Eileen, she received pictures from someone telling her her husband was cheating. So when she goes home, she tells him to move out and they split relatively amicably. 
Simon doesn't handle the death well, but Eileen does everything she can to protect him, despite them not being super close while Clare was alive. 
Finally, the girls mom has Alzheimers and she's the one who finally lets the truth out in a very non lucid moment. I thought her progression was hard to watch.
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I totally enjoyed this book by Rebecca Taylor. I like the plot and her writing style. Will definitely be checking out other books written by her in the future.
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Just finished this ARC courtesy of @netgalley and @sourcebooks! I went into it blind and was pleasantly surprised with @rebeccataylorauthor debut novel! Definitely not my normal book pick but it was a great break from the heavy books I usually read! Comes out June 2nd! Make sure to add this to your TBR list! 4 ⭐️!
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HER PERFECT LIFE is a truly gripping novel told (mostly) in the POVs of two sisters. As the story unfolds, and the plot peels back layer by layer, we discover the secrets, lies, and tragedies that thread everything together. Beautifully written, slightly haunting and complex, Taylor digs into relationships, infidelity, family, sisterhood, and how past events can shape our lives.
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