Best Intentions – Emily Listfield

Title: Best Intentions
Author: Emily Listfield
ISBN: 9781416576716
Pages: 352
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!

Comments

  1. Just finished this book — my review is going up tomorrow. I really liked how it played with my mind. I loved Ms. Listfield’s writing style and ability to tell this story.

  2. Just finished this book — my review is going up tomorrow. I really liked how it played with my mind. I loved Ms. Listfield’s writing style and ability to tell this story.

  3. I’ve seen reviews for this book around but I’ve never really been interested in reading it until I read your review. Wow! It sounds fabulous.

  4. I’ve seen reviews for this book around but I’ve never really been interested in reading it until I read your review. Wow! It sounds fabulous.

  5. I’ve really been looking forward to this one…so glad to hear that you enjoyed it!!

  6. I’ve really been looking forward to this one…so glad to hear that you enjoyed it!!

  7. I am putting this book on my TBR list thanks to your review which has made me very curious.

  8. I am putting this book on my TBR list thanks to your review which has made me very curious.

  9. Books about trust always bring up some good discussion points. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I like books that make me think.

  10. Books about trust always bring up some good discussion points. I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I like books that make me think.

  11. So glad this one was good. I have it on my pile for review and I hope to get to it very soon.

  12. So glad this one was good. I have it on my pile for review and I hope to get to it very soon.

  13. There was definitely a sense of unease going on here! I found myself unable to trust anyone or anything… and every story seemed more flawed than the last. I liked Lisa, but there wasn’t something about her that I didn’t really trust, either. I guess how easily her mind was swayed? I can’t say I wouldn’t feel totally lost and unsure of everything in her situation, though. And I guess my mind would easily catapult to the next defense! Definitely an interesting read.

  14. There was definitely a sense of unease going on here! I found myself unable to trust anyone or anything… and every story seemed more flawed than the last. I liked Lisa, but there wasn’t something about her that I didn’t really trust, either. I guess how easily her mind was swayed? I can’t say I wouldn’t feel totally lost and unsure of everything in her situation, though. And I guess my mind would easily catapult to the next defense! Definitely an interesting read.

  15. I have this one waiting in the wings. I’m so excited that you liked it! I can use a little mystery in my life right now, so up this book moves in my to read pile. 🙂

  16. I have this one waiting in the wings. I’m so excited that you liked it! I can use a little mystery in my life right now, so up this book moves in my to read pile. 🙂

  17. I just received this book from Lauren today, thank-you for your great review, it will be next on my reading list!

  18. I just received this book from Lauren today, thank-you for your great review, it will be next on my reading list!

  19. I’ll be reviewing this one the beginning of June. I’m glad to see you gave it a good rating. I’ll have to pop back once I’ve read it.

  20. I’ll be reviewing this one the beginning of June. I’m glad to see you gave it a good rating. I’ll have to pop back once I’ve read it.

  21. This book is everywhere all of the sudden! It sounds very intriguing.

  22. This book is everywhere all of the sudden! It sounds very intriguing.

  23. I am half way through and …wow I just love her prose, her style, the story. I am definitely buying some of her novels

  24. I am half way through and …wow I just love her prose, her style, the story. I am definitely buying some of her novels

  25. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one. I’d like to read it, too.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  26. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one. I’d like to read it, too.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  27. There was definitely a lot of raw emotion packed into this! It really hit home sometimes.

    Great review! I’ve linked to you here.

  28. There was definitely a lot of raw emotion packed into this! It really hit home sometimes.

    Great review! I’ve linked to you here.

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