Secrets of the Suburbs by Alisa Schindler

Secrets of the Suburbs

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Veteran essayist Schindler’s (Murder across the Street, 2016) debut novel depicts the steamy après-soccer shenanigans of a suburban mom.

Lindsey and John have seen each other constantly for years at neighborhood functions, play dates, and their respective children’s various recreational activities. But when a spark of sexual attraction flares between them at a party, Lindsey finds its promise impossible to ignore. Her secretive husband’s long hours as a physician continue to erode their marriage, so John’s attentive availability reawakens her desires, both sexual and otherwise. Who was she, she thinks, before this life of manicures and meal preparation, of lunches and laundry? Then a series of anonymous blog posts appears to reveal her secret to the world. As speculation intensifies, Lindsey finds that even lunches with her friends are fraught with tension and unease. She soon realizes that she’s risking not only her marriage, but also her community standing; still, she can’t seem to stop herself from seeing John. Her turmoil is compounded by her parents’ move to Florida, which requires her to clean out her childhood bedroom, but her unresolved emotions about her brother’s untimely death and her own uncertain future keep her from doing so. Soon, Lindsey must face unexpected questions of trust and betrayal before ultimately deciding between the two men she loves. Schindler’s character development is solid, especially in the case of Lindsey’s gal pals, each of whom has her own personality and voice. John is also well-drawn, and his experience of his marriage’s dissolution feels authentic. The author skillfully handles the juxtaposition of Lindsey’s mundane household duties and her extramarital liaisons, and Lindsey’s ambivalence about her choices is emotionally resonant, as are her discussions with her mother about her brother’s death. The pacing is swift, and there are an adequate number of plot twists to keep the story moving forward. But although the sex scenes are sufficiently sizzling, the main characters’ we-can’t-go-on-like-this guilt is a bit trite. Repeated, heavy-handed references to Bravo’s Real Housewives TV series also detract, as do numerous spelling errors (“Lindsey…needed her as a confident”; “No one dropped a bowling bowl on anyone’s foot”). Unattributed statistics at the beginning of each chapter (such as “79% of men and women believe they are destined to find their soul mate”) add little, and the ending strains credulity.

A fun but ultimately forgettable romp despite its well-developed characters.

Pub Date: June 27th, 2016
Page count: 266pp
Publisher: BookBaby
Program: Kirkus Indie
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