Title: Best Intentions
Author: Emily Listfield
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
What happens when you think you know the person you love — and you’re dead wrong?
As Lisa looks over at her sleeping husband Sam, she can’t help but feel like their fifteen-year marriage is in a funk that she isn’t able to place. She tries to shake it off, telling herself that the strain must due to their mounting financial pressures. But later that morning, Lisa checks Sam’s voicemail, and hears a whispered phone call from a woman. Is he having an affair?
Filled with suspense and provocative questions about the relationships we value most, Best Intentions is a tightly woven drama of love, friendship, and betrayal.
From the dust jacket summary (the above version is abbreviated), Best Intentions sounds like a women’s fiction novel about a husband’s infidelity and its consequences on his family. In reality, though, this amazingly written novel is much more complicated and intricate than it seems at first glance.
At its core, Best Intentions is about trust. How do you know you can trust a person? What does it mean to trust? What does it mean to doubt? Lisa is required to face all of these difficult questions throughout the course of the novel. Should she trust her husband or follow her instincts? At the core of this book is mosaic theory, which posits that if you have disparate pieces of a story, you can re-interpret those pieces to come up with completely different endings. It all depends on how you look at the pieces and what information you glean from them.
Listfield’s writing is absolutely gorgeous in Best Intentions. The entire novel is so atmospheric; her beautiful prose conveys Lisa’s raw emotion as she tries to make sense of events going on around her. She creates a sense of mystery and unease, simply with the quality of her writing. It’s an amazing talent and one she utilizes very well in Best Intentions.
Lisa is a wonderfully written character that is very easy to sympathize with. As the story unfolds, the reader shares her sense of mistrust; it’s hard to understand what is going on around her. As the plot takes its twists and turns, Lisa is the only reliable character in the novel; Listfield chose her narrator very well.
I really enjoyed reading Best Intentions, partially for the suspense, but also for the questions it provokes. Who can you trust, and how do you really know you can trust them? I highly recommend this book for any fans of women’s fiction or contemporary fiction – it would also make a great book club selection!
Thank you to Lauren for sending me a copy of this book to review!