Cover Image: A Family Affair

A Family Affair

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Robyn Carr is one of my favorite authors, especially of women's fiction/romance. A Family Affair is her newest book, coming out on April 5th, which I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review. This may not have been my favorite book, but I still enjoyed it and it did get better as thee sstory went on. I'm very glad I continued with the book and do recommend if you've read Robyn Carr in the past or if you have not read her but enjoy women's fiction.
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What an amazing story I just read here! This is the best story I've read so far this year! I didn't want to put this one down! 5 family stars for this one!
Anna has just lost her husband Chad, though she's finding out more about him after his death than she could ever imagine. He held lots of secrets that seem to be unfolding now, and it seems like she keeps getting hit from every corner. They didn't have the best marriage, had been in couples therapy, but it seemed he was never happy. Now with him gone, will she ever find out the truth about why he was so unhappy?
Anna and her three children, Mike, Jessie and Bess each experience his loss differently, each has their own struggles to come to terms with. Add in Anna's mother, who is dealing with dementia, will this family ever truly be a family again?
This review probably doesn't do this book justice, I instantly loved it from the beginning to the end!
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While I don't love a book with a cheating spouse, this cheating spouse is deceased and Anna is left with the aftermath, so it doesn't feel as raw and recent.  She is trying to help lead her three kids through the experience of losing a parent and reconciling her feelings of her husband right before he took the trip where he lost his life.  

I enjoyed my reading of this book as the reader follows Anna from the memorial service to the months after her husband has passed away and each of her three children react to the death in different ways.  The entire book was from Anna's point of view and you still get interesting glimpses of the children, I wouldn't have minded if they get the chance to move the story along from their points of view.  

I tend to like Robyn Carr stand alone books, this one wasn't one of my favorite, but it was a good read for a spring weekend as we wait for the true summer season to come.
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The h, Anna, is an empty nester, who has recently lost her husband. After  his death, she discovers that her husband kept secrets from her.  The family has to deal with those secrets.
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"A Family Affair" by Robyn Carr
MIRA
April 5, 2022
Women's Contemporary Fiction


Sometimes life can seem like a soap opera, and sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Such is the case with the McNichol family. A middle-aged and well-respected judge, Anna McNichol is still apprehensive about her grown children and their problems and her elderly mother, who is decompensating from dementia. She also believes her marriage to Chad is over. Though she forgave him once for his infidelity, she wonders if he is straying again. At sixty-two, insisting on going white-water rafting ended up with him perishing during his adventure.

A strong and independent woman, Anna carries the weight of many family secrets and unanswered questions. Raised by Blanche, a single mother, she never knew her father, and her mom would never talk about him. Now, as Blanche is quickly losing her faculties, she mentions the son she gave away, but Anna cannot get coherent answers from her because of her emotional confusion.

There are three McNichol siblings: Jessie, at 31, is the oldest and a competent physician, but she has problems with relationships and anger issues. Twenty-eight-year-old Mike, the middle child, is the image of his beloved dad and is more or less inconsolable at his loss. Finally, the youngest, 24-year-old Bess is a loner, brilliant though she is on the Asperger spectrum and is rather delicate. Yet she is following in her mom's footsteps by attending law school.

Years ago, when Anna realized her marriage was floundering, she continued her education as a lawyer if she needed to support her family, though Chad was a successful therapist. Her schooling led to her later being appointed as a judge causing the breach between her and Chad to become wider, but she does not regret having the foresight to become more independent.

"She was determined she would not be left a penniless divorcee with no prospects. It was hell, law school while mothering, but she did it. Against all odds. Nothing can motivate a young mother like the fear of being left penniless with a family to raise.

"Then it was the boost her achievement gave her ego and brought her up to the finish line, to a place of confidence where she could either leave him or give him another chance. She decided he'd been good and faithful for a few years and had earned another chance, so she let herself fall in love with him all over again. . . ."

Chad's sudden death shocks the whole family, and no one takes it harder than Mike, for his dad was his idol. But there are things about Chad his kids don’t know . . . especially the affair he had when Mike and Jess were young. Their family friend and lawyer reads the will, and Anna and her children are well provided for. Still, Anna is surprised to learn that her children's inheritance coming from Chad's retirement funds and savings are allocated into four equal parts: one-quarter to each offspring, and one to an anonymous recipient. Shocked about this unknown heir, this information is to remain confidential. What the heck?

Anna's antenna rises when a strange woman attends Chad's memorial service. She wonders who she is and why she is there and she intends to find out. As she searches for answers, life goes on, consumed by her work and her children's and mother's problems. 

Jessie believes her new beau is neglecting her, but she is smothering him, one of her known traits she can't seem to conquer. Mike is sullen, and at a loss, without the man he looked up to, and ruins a long-term relationship, and Bess is floundering at school until she has a severe episode and needs her family.

Through all these trials and tribulations, Anna remains strong to care for her family until the stress overwhelms her, but blood ties count as they rally around each other. Realizing they all have weaknesses and regrets, they band together to manage their circumstances, knowing they can always rely on each other. Many facets and subplots add interest and dimension to this novel, and through pain and hardship, they make it through learning about themselves and each other, offering an uplifting read.
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Disclaimer: I was sent a free book and am voluntarily leaving this honest review.

This story is one of starting over when the life you know is turned upside down.

Anna is a mom of grown kids and a wife. When her husband dies without warning her entire life is turned upside down. She learns her husband had secrets. Anna has to learn to deal with life on her own and weed through her husband's secret.

I was completely captivated by this story. Though it is one we have all read before or seen on TV Robyn has a way of making it seem new.

I was rooting for Anna to find her inner strength and to become the woman I knew she could be. I also could relate to some of her struggles in finding who she was. 

this story is about finding the truth, healing, struggling, and finding your path to your true self.
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Well this one opens with a bang, Anna’s husband died suddenly leaving her not only a widow, but he died keeping some pretty major secrets. The drama doesn’t stop in this one, poor Anna deals with one thing after another, from the small to the major, this woman is put through the ringer. I loved every messy second and can’t get enough of the way RC writes complicated family drama. Despite the craziness that ensues she manages to write in a believable and authentic way to the point that her characters feel larger than life. I always get the sense that I truly know the world and characters she’s created by the time I finish and this was no exception. She’s my go to for a comfort read that will not only entertain me, it will make me laugh and cry alongside the characters and always, without fail leave me with a smile on my face and a feeling of contentment.
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A Family Affair by Robyn Carr was a heart tugging, emotional read about how families come together in the darkest of times.  Women's Fiction is one of my favorite genre's to read and Robyn Carr has outdone herself with this one. If you're looking for something Virgin River-esque, this is not it. It's an exceptional story of a woman who must pull herself up by her bootstraps - and keep pulling at each step of her life. 

Blurb 

Life’s biggest dilemmas can provide its sweetest rewards

Anna McNichol knows how to take charge. Raised by a single mother, she’s worked to ensure her three children have every advantage she didn’t. And while her marriage has its problems, she values commitment and believes in "till death do us part." Now an empty nester, she’s at the peak of her career and ready to seize the opportunity to focus on her future.

But life can change in an instant, and when her husband dies suddenly, Anna’s carefully constructed world falls apart. The mysterious young woman at the memorial service confirms her husband had been keeping secrets, and Anna is determined to get to the truth.

For once, she doesn’t have the answers. Her kids are struggling with their grief, her mother’s health is in decline and Anna needs closure. Faced with one challenge after another, she finds support from an unexpected source. And as she puts her life back together, Anna realizes the McNichols may not be perfect but they’ll always be family, and family is forever.
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Thanks to Harlequin Trade Publishing, I was provided an ARC of A Family Affair by Robyn Carr via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

*****Coming Out April 5, 2022*****

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Robyn Carr writes a heartfelt and touching book on family relations, secrets revealed after a death, mental health, aging parents, and second chances! Definitely not an uplifting book, but it draws in you wanting to read more. 

Anna McNichol’s husband died  unexpectedly  in an accident. When an unknown women shows up to the funeral, Anna realizes her husband was having an affair.  Is this women his lover or daughter? Anna knew her marriage wasn’t perfect, but when she is faced with reality, she is left blindsided. Will she be able to navigate life after such a shock? Will her adult children be able to accept who their father turned out to be after his life is revealed to them? 

Meanwhile, Anna visits her mother regularly at an assisted living. Her mother talks to her about her past and hints that Anna might have a brother.  She doesn’t know if it’s the beginning of Alzheimer’s causing her to reveal this or if this is true? Will Anna look into this or does she have enough to deal with and let it go for now?

Even though this book will bring out all kind of emotions, it will leave you feeling hopeful at the end! Perfect for book clubs as many good discussion will come from reading this book.
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A wide range of family life is covered in A Family Affair by Robyn Carr.  Robyn Carr delves with honesty into the issues of marriage, infidelity, children, and aging parents.
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Anna's husband dies and her life is suddenly changed.  Her grown children are grieving the father they thought they knew.  They didn't know how unhappy Anna had been and that she had been considering divorce.  They also didn't know about their father's affair. Anna discovered after her husband's passing that the affair produced a daughter she had known nothing about.  She struggles with when to tell her children about the sister they didn't know they had.  The story follows Anna and her children as they come to terms with all the changes in the life and deal with mental health and physical health.
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A lot of messy emotions in this family drama, and I love complex characters. Normally those are a winning combination for me, but this book felt very flat. There was no warmth, just a lot of anger, which made it hard for me to connect with this family.
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4.5*
A very poignant look into a devoted wife and mother of 3 children that takes a sudden turn and upheaval. When Anna felt her life spiraling out of control after her husband dies suddenly, and her empty nest becomes even more desolate. She not only is grieving for her husband's presence but she finds out about a life he was living outside of their marriage when a mysterious woman shows up at his funeral.

You think you have read this story before or watched it play out in a movie, but it brings a lot more to ponder. The heartache is real when the betrayal becomes apparent and secrets are exposed. The pity you feel is heartfelt and tender, but the uprising of forgiveness is more powerful and this is a story of just that....forgiveness.

Beautifully written, but does contain some steamy scenes. Nevertheless, it is worth indulging in to see the strength a mother and her children can endure.

Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin Trade publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Anna's life changes the moment her husband Chad passed away. Little did she know how much it was going to change. At the service to Anna's husband a pregnant stranger is there and she wants to know who she is. Chad had previous affairs so she assumed he had another one. Anna was so sure that the strangers baby would be Chads. Nope.! Anna's mother also has dementia (or Alzheimer's) that she is dealing with. As well as 3 kids and their grief.  Lots of family drama and life dynamics to overcome. Very well written with family as the base. It is not my favorite because the Virgin Rivers series books have that title but I I did love this book.
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Everything in Anna McNichol's life changes the moment she learns that her husband has unexpectedly passed away. But that is not the most surprising news to come, at her husbands funeral she meets a mysterious young woman that informs her that the husband she thought she knew was keeping secrets... big ones, life altering ones. Now she finds herself at a loss, everything in her life is unsettled and she doesn't know what to do or where to turn!

A Family Affair is a heartfelt story of a woman who finds herself starting over after she loses the love of her life unexpectedly. Anna's life is in complete disarray, she is struggling to care for her ailing mother, unravel the secrets her husband had been keeping, and learn how to live alone and depend solely on herself for the first time in a long time. It's one of those stories that will give your heartstrings a thorough work-out!

From beginning to end this one kept me captivated, with several stories developing within the pages, there is never a dull moment to be found. It's perfectly penned words will grab ahold of you and not let go!! Highly recommend!!

I requested an advanced copy of this title from the publisher, and I am voluntarily leaving my honest and unbiased opinion.
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While I am a huge fan of Robyn Carr, this was not one of her best books.  I felt the first half of the book was mostly unlikeable characters whining about their lives.  The second half of the book was better as their lives got better.  A plot thread regarding Anna's mother felt forced and completely unnecessary. I also am not a fan of the pandemic being added into new books.  We are living through it, I don't need it to be mentioned in the novels I read.
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Can I just say wow! I have read so many past books by Ms. Carr that I felt were some of her best work(e.g. Virgin River Series, The View from Alameda Island the list goes on)and then she writes this and am like this is deep thought provoking read. Although she is mostly known for romance this story is a wonderful brilliant woman's fiction with a bit of romance thrown in.
Anna has lost her husband Chad not in a typical way but in water rafting accident. Unbeknownst to their three adult children she and Chad have been fighting and close to a possible separation when he died.
While at his funeral she observes a young pregnant woman who to her knowledge has not ties to her dead husband and she begins to wonder if that's a possible mistress.
Although this may seem like that plot-line and where the book is heading we the readers start to find out there is so much more.  The book is mostly narrated by Anna but there are chapters where her children perspective is told through their narrative. Jessie the doctor the oldest the strong willed who likes to get her way, Michael or Mike the teacher the easy going child and Bess the autistic child who is studying to be a lawyer.
This book has  little of everything growth and  self reflection by the characters and lots of intrigue and 
 mystery that we the readers at times do not see coming.
What is also realistic about this story is  that everything is not wrapped up in a bow because we know that is not real life. Truly enjoyed .
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Such a heartbreaking and touching novel. Robyn Carr is a master and ripping into your emotions. I loved this book.
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I requested this title for a couple of reasons, the first being the description and what sounded like an interesting premise. The second was seasons 1 and 2 of the Virgin River Netflix series, which I binge-watched in late 2020.

Though I hadn’t read any of the 22 books in the series, I believe, most of the time, the book is better than the movie or TV show. Robyn Carr authored the book series. I had never read anything by Carr, despite her 60+ novels and status on the New York Times Best Seller List. Clearly, she has a following.

Based on my enjoyment of Virgin River, when this title popped up as an option, I thought I would try it out. It already had some stellar reviews, especially from current fans. To be honest, if I had seen season 3 of Virgin River before making the request, I might not have made it. I disliked that season, and I disliked this book…for a lot of the same reasons.

One of my favorite things about reading is getting lost in the descriptions by my favorite authors, being able to picture what they’re describing. This book read like a choppy book report. This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened.

It felt like a lot of self-talk with some conversations dropped into the mix. Transitions were non-existent, and whenever Anna talked about her kids, she talked about every kid. Jessie this, Mike that, Bess the other. It reminded me of a TV show where each actor recites a line in turn, like everyone has to have the same amount of screen time. It was awkward in a lot of parts and dragged down the story.

Other things that pulled me out of the story every time were things that just didn’t ring true. Some examples:
-- Bess is on the autism spectrum with Asperger’s. First, the author mentions this so many times that it’s exhausting. But then the family talks about her as if she’s just a little quirky and odd. She’s described as being a “creature of habit.” They mention her “rather unique personality.” Autism is not a personality trait.
-- There’s a neurosurgeon who talks to Jessie like he’s a therapist and a therapist who “diagnoses” her with being an introvert. I’m sorry, I knew well before my late 20s that I’m an introvert. Jessie’s toxic personality is not because she’s an introvert. With all of the irritability and the headaches, I seriously thought she was going to end up having a brain tumor and that the neurosurgeon would save her.
-- Anna does a DNA ancestry test early in the story, and the website returns “a catalog” of possible matches based on her ethnicities but we don’t hear about potential familial matches. We come back to that story line 85% into the book when everything is wrapping up. Pretty irrelevant to everything else in the book and certainly not worth pursuing this late in the story in my opinion.
-- The dialog that is included is so incredibly awkward. At one point, one character asks another “Did you take a lover?” Who talks like that?

In addition to all of those challenges, I think the only likeable character in the whole book is Amy, and she appears very little but is portrayed as being a key part of the story. Jessie and Mike are childish and mean. Bess barely has a story line because she’s away at law school. Anna is suspicious and unforgiving even as she preaches at the end of the book about forgiveness and trust.

Carr is a romance writer, and this is categorized as romance, but the two semi-explicit romantic encounters were kind of jarring and felt out of place in the context of this story. And I didn’t think they were particularly well-written.

There were so many things I highlighted as I read that I could continue to comment on, but I’m pretty sure you get the idea. This is a definite no for me, and I doubt I’ll be reading this author again.
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Four and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒

A Family Affair by Robyn Carr is a stand-alone novel about one family who lost one of its own, and how they came together to help each other survive the loss and examine their past.  I was riveted by this family drama and wanted each of the characters to find some happiness.  

Anna McNichol was raised by a single mother and is now the mother of three adult children.  Her work ethic is a result of being raised on the edge of poverty, and never feeling settled.  In response, Anna works hard as a judge, working her way through law school with young children.  Anna’s husband Chad is a therapist and active in the community.  Their marriage on the outside was perfect, but after Chad’s sudden death in a rafting accident, secrets come out that affect the entire family, and maybe their marriage wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. 

I love Robyn Carr’s heartwarming style of writing, and it shines in this book as well.  She has a knack for exploring families, and their dynamics and her writing is compassionate as well as compelling.  The characters are well developed and I wanted them to succeed and be happy.  I especially related to Anna, the main characters, and how her past dictated the decisions she’s made while raising her own family.  Also, I thought it ironic how Chad was a therapist, and yet, his wife and children needed help as much as some of his clients.   

I highly recommend A family Affair to anyone who loves a good family drama.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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