When once-widowed, twice-divorced Tara meets husband No. 4, she must decide whether she's truly in love for the first time—or whether she's being played by a master manipulator.
Hopkins (Collateral, 2013, etc.), best known for her teen fiction, brings a much more adult world to life in this new psychological thriller. Tara seems to have it all—beauty, money, gorgeous San Francisco real estate, her pick of sexual partners—but she's compensating for her painful past: her mother, suffering from borderline personality disorder, was abusive. Tara’s sister, who seems to have settled into a perfect life with a doctor and their three daughters, struggles with family problems and jealousy of Tara’s material success. When Tara injures her knee on the slopes of Lake Tahoe, she meets Cavin, a handsome, wealthy doctor, and it certainly is lust at first sight. Before long, Tara's wondering whether she might actually be in love, but there are some things about Cavin that suggest he might not be as perfect and stable as he seems, most of all his troubled relationship with teenage son Eli. Somebody, it seems, is lying about the details of Cavin’s life, but whom can Tara trust? This novel strives to bring depth to a shiny surface, starting with the character of Tara herself, but it fails. The whole thing is superficial, and the characters are unlikable and selfish. The question of “love” is beside the point, though it’s ostensibly illustrated by frequent, graphic sex scenes. The one resonant point that Hopkins makes is how lonely and claustrophobic even wealthy unhappiness is.
Hopkins' adults are too self-centeredly adolescent to take seriously.