Better Than This

A Novel

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Pub Date 28 Aug 2018 | Archive Date 21 Aug 2018

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Sometimes the most enviable life is really a private hell.
On the surface, Sarah Jenkins appears to have it all: a handsome, wealthy and successful husband, a precocious five-year-old daughter, and a beautiful home in an affluent Seattle neighborhood. Her quirky best friend and fellow high school teacher, Maggie, marvels at her luck—and envies her happiness.
But Sarah is far from happy. She feels empty and on edge, harangued by a critical inner voice—and as the truth about her marriage and details of her past emerge, her “perfect” life begins to crumble. But just when it seems all is lost, a long forgotten, unopened letter changes everything, and with the support of friends, Sarah begins to rebuild her life. Can she quiet the critical voice in her head and learn to value herself instead?

Sometimes the most enviable life is really a private hell.
On the surface, Sarah Jenkins appears to have it all: a handsome, wealthy and successful husband, a precocious five-year-old daughter...

Advance Praise

“A well-executed tale of abuse, empowerment, and healing.”

“A heartfelt journey of a woman truly coming into her own and discovering who she really is and what she's worth." 
―Mia March, author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club and Finding Colin Firth.

“Cathy Zane has written a compelling tale of love, manipulation, self-doubt and the power of friendship in overcoming all odds. Better Than This is a page-turner with unexpected twists that will stay with you long after you put it down.”
―Phyllis J. Piano, Award-winning author of Love Reconsidered and Hostile Takeover: A Love Story

“An honest portrayal of the power of friendship and the struggles many women face in love and life. Zane is a welcome addition to the world of women’s fiction.”
―Emily Liebert, Bestselling author of Some Women and Those Secrets We Keep

“A well-executed tale of abuse, empowerment, and healing.”

“A heartfelt journey of a woman truly coming into her own and discovering who she really is and what she's worth." 
―Mia March, author...

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ISBN 9781631524035
PRICE $16.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 39 members

Featured Reviews

I received a copy of this book through netgalley,and it was a very enjoyable read,thd plot and characters were true to live with a twist at the end about Robert did not see that coming.
I would personally like a follow up of the book to see what happened to Sarah and Lizzy,a very enjoyable,relaxing read.

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Wow! This was an insightful book, having Sarah's thoughts written out. Was so incredibly frustrating for me, I actually wanted to reach out to her! Robert was such a jerk, so controlling. The way he saw Sarah was so wrong, but I did understand why he felt that way. Sarah had the best friends ever, they were great characters. This was a great story, the characters were so real to me and the storyline was very fresh and current.

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"Better Than This" is a suspenseful read. The novel quickly entices you with little hints regarding Sarah's life, but it is done in a manner that keeps you wanting more. The authors writing style is similar to a Liane Moriarty book, I could easily see this book being made into a movie.. I love how her best friends are always there for and that she eventually recognizes that she needs them. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were still surprises arising even in the last few chapters of the book. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I could not put it down and finished it in a day! I highly recommend!

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Sarah, who is married to a considerably older man Robert. She is petrified of him and punishes herself when she doesn’t think she is perfect.

Set in Seattle, Sarah is also an English teacher and Mom to Lizzie.

Powerful book on strength, love and friendship.

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I was attracted to this book partially because it's set in the Seattle area. It's a complex story with some surprises along the way. You want to root for Sarah as she deals with a husband who is both physically and emotionally abusive. The author's added characters that are not always your "everyday" person, and that helps to keep one's interest in the story line which can at times be quite depressing. It's a good read, though. Might make a good movie!

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What a strong story with a focus on self perception and how our past impacts our present. I really enjoyed Better Than This, mainly because the characters were so simple, but there for each other and true to their selves. Loved the best friends Maggie and Kate and how essential they were to her, and the twist with her husband Robert was one I thought was done well!

Thank you Netgalley & She Writes Press for allowing me a copy of this book to read in exchange for a personal review!

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Thank you Net Galley and She Writes Press for an early release of Better Than This. I read this book in 24 hours and I work full-time, I couldn't wait to continue reading this book after I came home from working. This book really hit home regarding the good friendships that the main character Sarah had in her life. I loved Cathy Zanes writing, I felt like I was in the book with the characters. I just loved everything about the book, great plot with a very good twist at the end.

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I'm impressed with the sensitive, thoughtful way that Cathy Zane approaches the subject of this book, and appreciated that Sarah, a woman escaping an abusive marriage, is allowed to be a flawed, complex character. At times, the narrative felt a bit tedious, but on the whole Zane has a solid hold on the plotting and pacing. As another reviewer notes, in terms of style this is a good comp for Liane Moriarty. An engrossing read!

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Better Than This was better than I expected. I was connected to Sarah from the beginning. I found her situation troubling and wondered what was going to happen. Through many twists and turns this story held my interest till the end.


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Throughout this book I wanted to simultaneously smack Robert across and face and knock some sense into Sarah to stand up for herself. I think it did a great job of portraying an abusive relationship, however I wish they would have discussed that further in the end. I understand he was hiding his “other life” and why he was doing so but the way he treated her was not just hiding his secret. Raping her was not just about hiding his secret. I wish we could have had more insight into him since he never seemed to think he was doing anything wrong by the way he treated her.

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A riveting novel that sees Sarah caught in an abusive relationship with her husband. He is a manipulative bully and Sarah is caught making excuses for him time and time again.
"You really are a worthless piece of shit. You can't do anything right. You never should have been born." Sarah's inner monologue tells us her deepest thoughts, her total lack of self-esteem and her suppression of her own wants and needs in her futile efforts to please him and keep him happy. There are glimpses of good times, however, and Sarah latches on to these as proof to herself that if she's good, things are good. So starts the downward spiral...
Sarah is extremely lucky that she has her young daughter Lizzy to concentrate on, and her two wonderful friends Maggie and Kate, who offer her marvellous support throughout and are always there to pick up the pieces.
And as things come to a head, an unexpected bombshell drops...
I raced through this novel in a couple of hours, completely caught up in the story. Sometimes I just wanted to slap Sarah and tell her to wake up to herself. Then you realise that people really can't move on until they're ready to, no matter the logic.
Cathy Zane has woven a powerful, realistic tale that sadly is a reflection of too many peoples lives. Recommended.

My thanks to NetGalley and She Writes Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I just finished a REALLY good one, Better Than This by Cathy Zane. I read this book in a couple of hours, just because the dialogue and subject matter was so intense and REAL! Here's the premise: Sarah is a devoted wife to her husband, Robert, and mother of their little girl, Lizzy. From the outside, it seems like Sarah has it all...her husband is confident, handsome, makes a ton of money, but things are not all peachy keen. Pretty much right away, you can tell there is something really f-ed up about Sarah and Robert's marriage. 

Sarah's friends, Maggie and Kate, begin to realize something is going on with her and make it their mission to help. This was such a lovely book about marriage, secrets and lies, self-doubt, motherhood, and friendship....lots of topics and themes there, but it worked.

While reading this book, I kept thinking "Wow, this book could've been written by a therapist because it's just SO REAL" so it wasn't shocking to find out that Cathy Zane is also a psychotherapist in addition to being a fantastic author. She dealt with topics such as self-doubt, loss, childhood trauma, and marriage problems with such honesty and empathy that I couldn't help but root for Sarah to find peace and a happy ending. 

A huge thank you to NetGalley and She Writes Press for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book. This is definitely one that will stay with me for awhile!

4 out of 5 stars for Better Than This by Cathy Zane, which has a publication date of August 28th, 2018.

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Book review of Better Than This by Cathy Zane:

Sarah's marriage is in shambles. Her controlling husband is barely home, barking orders when he is, and very unhelpful with their daughter, Lizzy. His expectations of Sarah are extremely high and she finds herself in an endless cycle of trying to keep him happy, attempting to stand up for herself, then backing down and putting his needs first again.
Throughout the entire novel, I had mixed feelings for Sarah. I was constantly annoyed by her self-loathing tendencies and her inability to stand her ground. However, I also found myself feeling sorry for her at times and desperately wanting things to go in her favor. Team Sarah over here! Zane definitely has a way with character development. By the end of the novel, Sarah became relatable, realistic and even likable to me.

I'm really loving novels that focus on marriages and domestic life right now. I like getting a peek at the character's relationship struggles and successes. I can't help comparing them to my own! Ha! With that being said, Better Than This is just the type of story for my recent book tastes. I highly recommend this novel for readers with similar book tastes of my own. Four stars from me! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank you to @netgalley and She Writes Press for this free digital advance readers' edition in exchange for my honest review. I'm looking forward to reading more from Cathy Zane!

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