Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Between You and Me, a new novel from Carol Mason.
Between You and Me
Is her new husband really who she thinks he is?
When young doctor Lauren Matheson meets Joe, an older divorced businessman, at a glittering poolside in California, it’s a chance encounter that seems life-changing for them both. Back home in London, their feelings only strengthen. But Lauren soon discovers that building a happy future with Joe is going to be an uphill struggle…
She’s determined to be a good stepmother to his children, four-year-old Toby and complicated teen Grace. But under the watchful eye of Meredith, Joe’s intimidating ex-wife, Lauren can’t seem to do a thing right. Why won’t Joe ever take her side against Grace? And what really happened between him and Meredith?
As her husband retreats into a cold, secretive version of the dashing man she met in California, Lauren starts to wonder if she’s made a costly mistake. Was Joe ever the man she thought she married?
This was the first book I’ve read by Carol Mason and I can see now why she has such a great reputation for being an excellent storyteller. I expected the book to be a domestic thriller, but despite a few twists, it turned out to be a solid, well-written family drama exploring what it’s like to be a second wife and a stepmother.
Lauren Matheson is in her final year of Medical School when she meets fascinating Joe. There is immediate attraction, but Joe is married and has a 13year old daughter Gracy and 3year old son Toby, so there can never be anything between Lauren and him. A year later things have changed – Joe got divorced and is free to date again. After a whirlwind romance Lauren, who is now a junior doctor, and Joe get married and Lauren is sure nothing can come between them. After all, Joe made it clear there’s nothing that matters more to him than Lauren’s happiness. That is apart from his children.
Was Lauren really aware of how difficult it is to be a stepmother to a stroppy teenager and a sweet, but not without his challenges, four-year-old boy?Let’s not forget she also has a challenging career which often leaves her emotionally drained. Joe and Meredith (the ex-wife) have joint custody and understandably Joe tries to spend as much time as possible with his children, while Lauren is trying very hard to find her own place in this family. Still, whatever she does, she can’t gain Grace’s respect, the ex-wife Meredith accuses her of being negligent and irresponsible…and Joe isn’t supportive at all. Can Lauren and Joe’s realtionship survive these changes or is it something Lauren should have thought more carefully about before falling in love with and agreeing to marry an older man with an ex-wife and two children?
I found the book absolutely gripping -it kept me up reading until the small hours. The plot is quite straightforward (ok,there are a few twists that test Lauren’s moral principles), but mostly it is about Lauren’s marriage. The book is toldfrom her point of view and it is impossible not to sympathise with her, although the reader is aware that there’s always the other side of the story. Would it have been better to have other POVs? I am happy with the author’s decision- in real life, do we really know what other people think and how they interpret our words and actions? we can only guess and make suppositions, observe and ask. Joe appears quite elusive, or rather it’s Lauren’s idea of Joe that keeps changingThe number of secondary characters is quite small and they all serve to move the story forward or make Lauren realise some things, which just shows how well-structured this book is.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about family relationships, second marriages, life changes, setting boundaries and working out what makes you happy (or not). I’m gladto have discovered this fantastic author and I can’t wait to read Carol Mason’s next book.
Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random resources, the author and the publisher for the review copy. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Carol Mason is the Amazon Charts and Kindle #1 bestselling author After You Left (more than 300,000 copies sold), The Secrets of Married Women, The Last Time We Met, The Shadow Between Us, Send Me A Lover and Little White Secrets which hit the Bookstat digital bestsellers list top 3 in the week of its launch. She was born in the North East of England where most of her novels are set. She now lives in Canada with her Canadian husband, a rescue dog from Kuwait and a three-legged cat. When not writing, Carol loves to read, cook and binge watch Netflix.
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