Can you ever really know the person you love?
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, art curator Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can’t get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband’s other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story’s ending will mean forgiving the man she’s loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.
Compassionate and uplifting, Results May Vary is a bittersweet celebration of the heart’s ability to turn unexpected troubles into extraordinary strength.
Praise for Results May Vary
“Chase has written an incredibly charming novel about shifting from being completed by a man to becoming a whole woman. Witnessing Caro’s growth is a pleasure.”—Library Journal
“Bethany Chase writes with a realism of expression that allows readers to empathize and appreciate the characters’ personalities and frustrations. The push and pull written into interpersonal dynamics between characters feels true to life, and is best seen in Caroline’s relationship with her sister. The surprises keep readers alert and the tempo of the novel holds their attention until the very last page.”—RT Book Reviews
“This latest novel from Chase will appeal to anyone who has ever looked up to realize they define themselves by those surrounding them. Caroline’s exploration of self-discovery is a familiar one, yet Chase has a way with phrasing and a thoughtful approach that pushes this one notch above the others. . . . A good fit for fans of Emily Giffin and Kristin Hannah.”—Booklist
“An altogether addictive read . . . Chase creates characters a reader can truly care about [in] a novel that doles out both laughter and tears.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Results May Vary is an openhearted and sweetly rendered story of lost love and found strength.”—Melissa DeCarlo, author of The Art of Crash Landing
“Relatable, engaging, and ultimately uplifting, as it explores the secrets hidden beneath the surface of a marriage that seems enviable . . . You'll root for Caroline as she struggles through heartbreak toward an unexpected new future.”—Sarah Pekkanen, author of The Perfect Neighbors
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
Copyright © 2016 Bethany Chase
RESULTS MAY VARY by Bethany Chase
We two, you know have everything before us, and we shall do very great things—I have perfect faith in us. —Katherine Mansfield to John Middleton Murry, May 18, 1917
There are these two little words I know, that we all know; we learn them so early that we can’t remember when we did. They have a gravitational attraction to each other, I would say: the one word love, and the other word story. ’Cause you can have a story without love, sure; but when it comes to the kind of love you fall in, whether it’s a slow glide or a blind plunge over the edge . . . you can’t have a love without a story.
I thought I knew mine.
Adam and I had promised we would grow old together, and we had already started to. The finest creases had etched them- selves into the tender skin at the corners of his eyes, delicate as spider silk. They weren’t visible most of the time; only in our bed, when the sunlight elbowed in on us and my eyes opened to his face. I remember brushing my fingertips against them, the morning of the day I found out, in the stillness after I switched off my alarm. I remember the little pat on the butt he gave me as I hurried out the door to work. The way he nodded when I reminded him to be ready to leave by two, so we could make it to the city on time.
Because the thing that kills me the most, when I think about that day, is how damn eager I was to get there. The three of us were spilling along the Chelsea sidewalk through the early evening warmth, dodging across Twenty-first Street in front of an oncoming delivery van, hurrying to the gallery because the opening had started twenty minutes ago and the crowd around the photographs would be starting to thicken. I was walking so fast that I stubbed the toe of my favorite wedges on a piece of fractured concrete, and the ugly scratch across the beige leather made me so irritated, because at that moment, it was the most upsetting thing I could imagine going wrong all evening.
I had been looking forward to it all week. A trip into the city with Adam: the long drive from the Berkshires, down the lush green tunnel of the Taconic Parkway, then meeting up with Jonathan for this gallery opening, followed by dinner at some new restaurant in the Meatpacking District that one of Jonathan’s chef buddies had opened. I could hardly wait for the people watching: the gallerinas with their sleek ponytails, and the col- lectors, and the wannabe collectors, and all the other art world acolytes who would be idling around the party, drifting up to and away from conversations like fireflies in my yard. I would wear my new sundress and bask in the familiar pleasure at the pride Adam took in me when we were out together. After the meal, we’d stumble home to our little walk-up apartment at one o’clock in the morning and fall asleep after some tipsy sex, lulled by the distant horns of the cabs on Ninth Avenue.
And, of course, I was excited to meet Patrick, the photographer whose show it was—I’d had a migraine the night of the party for his representation with Jonathan’s girlfriend’s gallery a few months back, though I’d made Adam go without me. I’ve thought about that, since: whether things would have turned out differently if I’d been by Adam’s side that very first night. I’ve wondered it more than once. I’ve wondered what would have happened if I’d missed the night of the opening, too. But the thing about what-ifs is that you can drive yourself crazy, spinning your thoughts around and around until you’re dizzy; and for all that, you only ever end up in the same place you’re standing. All you can work with is what happened. What might have happened only haunts you.
So the night of Patrick’s show, I was hurrying.
Beside me, Jonathan was hurrying, too; his girlfriend was going to be pissed at him for being late, because Jonathan is the kind of man you want to show off when you’re dating him. Look what I snagged! I captured him myself, from the wild.
But Adam, I remember, was quiet. I wonder now what was shuffling through his brain as we careened toward the party. He must have been nervous. His mind must have been one long unsettled stutter of It’s going to be fine; he’s not going to say any- thing. He has no reason to say anything. He won’t say anything. He wouldn’t. He won’t. I honestly believe that Adam had no idea what was about to happen, because as selfish as he is, as heedless and self-indulgent and emotionally greedy as I now know him to have been, he has never actually been mean.
It seems strange now that I didn’t notice how quiet he was being, but of course there’s no reason I would have paid it any particular attention on that particular walk on that particular evening. I do remember, though, that he didn’t laugh at the comment Jonathan made about Patrick’s name when we spotted it on the poster in the gallery’s window.
“By the way,” Jonathan said, pointing at the poster, “Patrick Timothy? Alicia told me his real name is Patrick Rubinowitz. But apparently that didn’t sound cool enough.”
“WASP-washing one’s ethnic surname is a time-honored tradition, Jonathan,” I said.
“Yeah, for actors and musicians. Artists are usually a little more real than that.”
“Maybe you just don’t understand,” I said. “Your last name is five letters long.”
“True,” he said, and swung open the door to the end of my marriage as I knew it.
It was quite a big deal, this opening. Patrick Timothy—or Patrick Timothy Rubinowitz, as his birth certificate would have it—was the (latest) toast of the New York art scene. Only twenty-five years old, he was being hailed as the next Mapplethorpe; in the year or so since he’d started coming to people’s attention, he’d been universally anointed by everybody who mattered as photography’s Next Big Thing. In an artistic landscape where for so long the focus had been on what could be done with the digital, Patrick was obstinately old-school. Critics fawned over his impeccable classical technique, the richness of light in his images, the depth of contrast and range of tone he coaxed from his film. And, of course, the beauty of his compositions.
The rooms of the gallery rattled with activity. Voices and laughter ricocheted off the walls and polished concrete floor, competing in volume with the Vampire Weekend song blazing out of the speakers. The crowd was exactly as I had expected: gallery girls, their equally polished but not-quite-as-artsy friends who roamed the space like nervous gazelle, and legions of downtown chicerati in Warby Parkers and high-water trousers. Next to me, a cat-faced woman flung bangled wrists wide and exclaimed to her damp-looking assistant, “This photograph . . . is . . . stunning. I have to have it for the Zolkows’ dining room. Saskia . . . will . . . love it.”
As I reached for a second glass of cold sauvignon blanc from a passing server, Jonathan poked the side of my waist. “Easy now, darlin’. Don’t want you gettin’ blitzed before we even make it to dinner.”
I smacked his hand away and seized my wine. Jonathan has been teasing me about overdrinking for the last fifteen years, ever since the night my freshman-year roommate introduced me to vodka—cleverly concealed in cranberry juice—and my stomach rebelled several hours later by rejecting the vodka and the cranberry juice all over the floor of Jonathan’s dormitory bathroom. Since my roommate had disappeared into the filthy bedroom of one of the rectangle-shaped football players with whom Jonathan had been assigned to share a suite, Jonathan was the one who shepherded me back to my room across campus and somehow, out of that ignominy, our friendship was born.
I turned to see if Adam needed another glass, but he was scanning the room for something, or someone.
He shook his head without looking at me. “Nah, I’m good.” “What about this photo?” I said, pointing to the one the decorator had been so enamored of. “Do you agree that Saskia . . . will . . . love it?”
But instead of the eager humor I’d expected to send him leaping into the game, all I saw in his face was confusion.
“Never mind,” I said, and stepped closer to the photograph I had been studying. Shenanigans with his honest Jewish name aside, Patrick was extravagantly talented. The subject of his work was bodies. Sometimes his own, sometimes other people’s, but, in this exhibition at least, they were all men. There were a few images of Patrick with his subjects, too—nothing played for shock value, simply snapshots of the interaction between two bodies, some more overtly sensual than others. The emphasis was on the shapes created: the contrast between two different tones of skin, or the negative space defined by the curve of a hand. Patrick presented the swells and dips and curves and ridges of the human body as a landscape, in lush black and white. Most of the images were close-ups, rendering the subject almost abstract—here the arch of a flexed calf, there the graceful terrain where the shoulder merges into the neck. I wondered: Did he already have the compositions in his mind’s eye when he pressed the shutter? Or did he set the camera to keep shooting over the space of a few breaths, and then go back through the negatives to see what arrested his attention?
A voice behind me interrupted my scrutiny. “Hey, guys.” Patrick himself was standing arm in arm with Jonathan’s girlfriend Alicia, or, should I say, Patrick was tolerating Alicia while she dangled off him, giggly and friendsy-wendsy. Aside from his unquestionable talent, it was easy to see why people got so worked up about him—the kid was beautiful. He had the kind of face that cried out for magazine editorials: full lips, arresting cheekbones, puppy-dog brown eyes with curving lashes, smooth tan skin. A slightly cleft chin added dimension to his otherwise regular bone structure. This was a face that could launch a thousand crushes.
There was an awkward moment while I waited for Jonathan or Adam to introduce me, then I gave up and offered my hand. “Hi, I’m Caroline, Adam’s wife. It’s great to finally meet you.”
“I’m glad to meet you too,” Patrick said. His handshake was firm, and it lingered. “You had a headache the night of the party, right?”
“I did. But I’m in fighting shape this evening,” I said, lifting my wine glass briefly. “Your work is remarkable. Absolutely gorgeous.”
“Agreed,” said Jonathan. “Incredible stuff, man.”
“Thank you,” Patrick said. He was studying me so intently that my skin prickled with self-consciousness. It wasn’t a sexy stare— Patrick’s artwork broadcast resolute disinterest in women—but there was a curiosity about it that I wasn’t expecting. The guy was looking at me like I was a foreign exchange student who’d showed up in the middle of homeroom. In a Stormtrooper outfit. “You had a little help showing it off,” whined Alicia in a way I suppose she thought was cute, and bumped her hip against him chidingly. Patrick didn’t remotely strike me as the kind of gay man who calls his female friends “gurlfriend” and swaps catty observations from behind fruity cocktails, but apparently Alicia had never gotten that memo, because she was trying to make it happen. The predictable effects of Jonathan’s Tennessee growl and rugged, unstudied masculinity had led me to dub him “the Panty Blaster” by the end of our freshman year—and when he got lazy, he tended to end up with physically ripe but intellectually low-hanging fruit. And then we all suffered.
“Indeed I did,” Patrick said, favoring Alicia with a lazy smile. His eyes drifted to Adam, like he was expecting something.
“It’s great,” said Adam, flicking his gaze to Patrick briefly be- fore returning it to the gallery floor.
“Thank you, Adam,” murmured Patrick, after waiting a beat to see if my husband would elaborate. “Well, if you guys will excuse me, I need to continue with the mix and mingle routine. Please go ahead and drink all of our wine.”
After he drifted away, I resumed my study of the photographs. They really were something special. The museum where I worked, MASS MoCA in northwest Massachusetts, didn’t ac- quire artwork for a permanent collection, but a vital part of my job as a curator was to keep my eye out for developing talent to potentially showcase in an exhibition.
“Hey, Alicia,” I said, tapping her on the arm. “Can we talk a little shop for a few minutes?”
“Suuuure!” she breathed, as if I’d offered her a free first-class flight upgrade. And it belatedly occurred to me that, of course, this was why I had been invited here tonight . . . not because I was Jonathan’s friend. Because I was a museum curator. And now I was trapped arm in arm with her as she wheeled us around the gallery, pointing out some of her favorite pieces, extolling Patrick’s talent, his craftsmanship, his vision.
“You know what?” she whispered conspiratorially at one point. “There are a few other photographs I want you to see. Patrick didn’t want us to put them in the main show, but I don’t know why, because I think they’re some of his strongest work.”
My interest was piqued, as it was meant to be. “Sure, yeah, I’d love to see them.”
“Come on, follow me!” she said, and towed me toward the back office of the gallery.
“Top secret,” I mouthed to Adam, as she pulled me past him, and he instinctively moved as if to come with us. Just as he detached from his group, though, he was hailed by a filmmaker friend of his mother’s. I smiled to myself, knowing how the un- satisfied curiosity would itch him.
Inside the storage room, the noise of the party was muffled. As I watched Alicia in her tight dress and Louboutins struggle to manhandle a couple of large, crated canvases out of the way, I almost felt bad for her, but . . . best to let her handle them. Wouldn’t want to be held liable if I damaged anything.
“Aha!” she said, tugging forward a crate with a number of mounted, unframed photographs inside. “Here we go.”
As soon as she lifted the first print out of the crate, I could tell that these were different—and I could see why Patrick had wanted to withhold them from the main show. Although, curiously, he’d had no problem turning them over to the gallery for sale. They were similar to the rest of the collection in that they were beautifully composed nudes, but these had a different character. Gone was the frozen, art-directed style of the other photographs; these were vivid, active. Full of erotic tension. As with the other images, none of these overtly depicted sex; their power derived from what was implied, yet not shown. Patrick could only have taken them in the midst of making love with his partner—the images crackled with sensuality.
“Oh wow,” I said, feeling at once turned on and uncomfortably voyeuristic. Which, of course, is exactly how Patrick intended the viewer to feel. The face of his lover was cropped from all of the photos; curiosity tickled like a feather on my skin.
“I know, right?” said Alicia. “They’re something.”
“They are,” I said. She was reaching the end of the stack now. I was pretty sure none of these were going to be right for the museum—we didn’t shy away from nudes, obviously, or erotic undertones, but these were probably too strong to be hung in a family-friendly museum. The photographs in the main show were better suited. But still, I wanted to see all of them. I wondered what Patrick’s partner felt about these intimate images being put up for sale—if he even knew.
A burst of laughter and conversation broke my concentration as the door opened and Adam poked his head inside.
“What are you girls doing in here?” He sounded irritated, almost strained.
“I knew you couldn’t wait until I came back. Alicia’s showing me some of Patrick’s other work,” I said. “Come see.”
Hesitantly, he walked forward.
“Aren’t these amazing?” I said. “Probably a little too risqué for the museum, but they’re so powerful.”
He nodded so faintly I wasn’t sure his head had even moved.
Come on, I thought. You cannot be this weirded out by the sight of two guys together.
Alicia pulled one more photograph from the case. It was another arresting image: Patrick’s partner was leaning diagonally across the frame, his body cropped between chest and thighs. He was caught in a half-turning motion, tension pulling the side of his torso as he moved. Patrick was kissing him, just above his hip, and one of his arms was bent in a V across his partner’s body, down and up. I studied the lines of Patrick’s arm, the way his skin made such a bold stripe of contrast across his lover’s body. The shutter had frozen him in a breathtakingly sensual moment of the kiss—I could see the negative space between his arched lips and his partner’s skin.
And then, I noticed it. A little blob of a birthmark, floating under the right side of the partner’s ribs, almost out of sight. As if someone had daubed him with a paintbrush, just the slightest little touch, leaving behind the shape of a checkmark.
“Hey, Adam,” I said, laughing. “Check it out, this guy has a birthmark exactly like yours! Isn’t that—”
But when I turned and saw my husband’s face, the words piled up in my throat. He was staring at the photograph in shock, his face knotted with horror. It wasn’t some other man with an oddly identical birthmark in Patrick’s photograph.
It was Adam.
Reading Group Guide
An Essay by Bethany Chase
One of the things I found myself grappling with as I wrote Results May Vary, and which Caroline struggles with throughout the book, is the delicate nature of trust. In our best and closest relationships, trust is the default setting. If we have good parents, we learn to trust them from the moment we’re born—again and again, they protect us and care for us, and we reward that care with love. Friendships and romantic relationships develop gradually into a structure of closeness, with moments of shared experience and mutual support climbing upward and bracing each other like bricks laid in mortar, creating a shelter that becomes ever more solid and reliable with time.
But if someone betrays our trust, what then? The shelter cracks, or maybe it crumbles all the way down. And then, suddenly, there is a choice to make.
What fascinated me as I wrote this story was Caroline’s realization that there has been a break in her relationship, between a past when she trusted her husband without thinking about it and a future in which it will have to be a deliberate and ongoing choice.
Prior to the opening of the story, Caroline never chose to trust Adam, because she always had that default setting: She understood, without conscious consideration, that he loved her, supported her, wanted the best for her, would never knowingly hurt her. But after she finds out about his affair, that unthinking sense of security is gone. He has hurt her, terribly, and so the trust she has given him is destroyed. And so, she must determine first whether she wants to rebuild it, and then, if she does, how to rebuild it.
When someone you love dearly has shown you that they will hurt and mistreat you, how do you rebuild? What steps do you take to replenish what’s been lost? Can you trust this person without having to be aware of it, and is it worth it to have to work to trust someone? Doesn’t that destroy the very joy of it? Because trust at its most beautiful and rewarding does not have to be consciously built.
I think the partner of trust is vulnerability. One of the primary ways we demonstrate trust toward the people in our lives is to give them access to our raw, tender parts: the insecurities, the painful memories, the innermost emotions, the feelings we yearn to have reciprocated. As trust deepens, we allow our defenses that protect these parts of ourselves to drop away. So surely one of the steps to regaining trust in someone is to slowly— slowly—lower those barriers.
In the kayaking scene, Adam very intentionally places Caroline in a position that maximizes her vulnerability, which she recognizes, and she spends most of the day fighting to keep her armor on. She’s short with him, and guarded, and won’t show him any signs of softness until, at their picnic, he asks her to. And in that moment she asks herself what is more important: to satisfy her savagely wounded pride, or to heal her relationship? So she reaches deep inside herself for the courage and generosity to let a little of her indignation go and start treating her husband like the man she loves again.
Of course, she finds out not much later that there are even more reasons to mistrust Adam than the one she knew at first, the main example of which was born in his own (unfounded) lack of trust in her. And this, finally, is what makes her decide that the relationship is too badly shattered to repair.
And that is a question that anyone in her position has to answer: At what point do you decide the other person has transgressed too much to deserve your good faith? There is a point of no return, and we all have to keep an eye on that in every single one of our relationships, whether with our partners or with our friends or even with our parents. Sometimes, for our own emotional safety, we have to stop being vulnerable and walk away. How do you know what that threshold is? And, when you have been badly hurt in a relationship, how—as Caroline wonders—do you muster the willingness to open up all your raw and tender corners to somebody else?
And the answer is, always, there’s no reward without risk. There is no guarantee of safety, but for most of us, the immense rewards of connection make it worthwhile to accept that danger. As frightened as we might be, we just have to keep on trying. We have to take a breath, square our shoulders, and take that turn that leads us deeper into the maze.
1. If you were facing the choice that Caroline does throughout much of the book—to forgive your partner for an enormous betrayal and rebuild the relationship, or to walk away—what would you do? Why?
2. If Caroline had reconciled with Adam early on, instead of continuing a separation that let him rekindle his relationship with Patrick, what do you think would have happened in their marriage? Do you think Adam would have kept seeing Patrick if Caroline hadn’t left him?
3. One of the questions the book asks is, How well can we ever really know the ones we love? Aside from Adam’s affair and lies, which other characters hide bits of information from one another, and why? What particular secrets would you find hardest to forgive?
4. Jonathan takes a more laissez-faire attitude than Caroline toward people in a relationship withholding small things from each other. How do you draw the line between what is acceptable and unacceptable? What do you do when there’s a difference of opinion between one person’s “I truly did not believe this mattered” and his or her partner’s “Of course it does”?
5. Adam deeply loves Caroline—at least, he says he does—but it does not seem to be exactly the same way in which she loves him. What are the differences between their feelings for each other?
6. What do you think is going to happen with Jonathan and Ruby? Do you think they will make their relationship work and end up together? Why?
7. What Neil says about his wife in the final scene—that he’s realized that letting go of her is a step beyond simply accepting that she’s gone—is also true of Caroline with Adam. How much do you think she has truly let go of her husband by the end of the story? Do you think Caroline and Neil are ready to start a relationship that doesn’t have two other people in it?
8. On their trip to the Grand Canyon, Ruby explains to Caroline that “people can only give you what they have.” Do you agree with her? How can you know if your partner is giving you everything he or she has? When do you know if it is not enough?
9. We come to learn that Adam struggles with his relationship with his father and a fear of disappointing him, which is one of the reasons he has kept so many secrets from Caroline as well. How can fear affect our ability to experience love? How does this speak to the interconnectedness of our relationships? Has there been a time in your life when you felt that the state of one of your close relationships impacted another?
10. Besides her ability to accept and forgive Adam and his betrayal, another of Caroline’s personal successes is her ability to entice Diana Ramirez to donate to MASS MoCA and fund a residency for Farren Walker, an artist close to Caroline’s heart. How do you think this victory contributes to her healing process and new sense of self?
11. In describing one of her pieces, Farren explains, “The dots are the guidelines we think we see. But they’re only an illusion, not the thing that marks the path.” How does this statement resonate with Caroline’s own journey throughout the novel? When in your life have you had to rethink the “dots” you thought you knew? How did you navigate the maze in your life?
12. Caroline eventually decides that “maybe there [is] a limit to the power of knowledge, after all,” and that, even with everything she knows now, she wouldn’t change anything about her relationship with Adam. Do you agree? When is knowledge powerful? When can it do more harm than good? In matters of the heart, is there more value to your knowledge of your partner or to the experience you share?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Caroline Hammond finds out in the most interesting way that her husband has not only been having an affair but an affair with a man and starting in the first chapter, her world is turned upside down and she spends the entire book trying to find a new north. As a happily married gal, I don't always like to read divorce books, negative thoughts going in just doesn't seem all that great, but when I read the synopsis for this one, I thought I could enjoy this journey. And I did! I loved how real Caroline's thoughts and actions were and it was so interesting to read the ins and outs of how she was making decisions. I loved that it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows and it reiterated the thought that sometimes life is really hard and you have to take the good and the bad to have a full life.
Two people who met while they were young and in high school, who got married and had this seemingly perfect life only to be broken by an affair. And not just any affair which is already heartbreaking in itself, but an affair with a man! This is my first Bethany Chase book and won't be my last (Thanks to Megan from Reading Books Like a Boss for another great recommendation). What I loved about this story besides the premise, the emotional feelings that the author evoked in me and this woman's journey to finding herself again - I loved the way they author made Caroline's home in Massachusetts, the artwork, the secondary characters all felt so real and so necessary for the story to progress. I went to college in Western Mass (UMass Amherst) and while reading, I could see the beautiful locations in my mind and smell that amazing fall day in those beautiful towns. I could see vividly in my mind the artwork that Caroline worked so hard to champion and above all else, I loved the secondary characters - her sister Ruby and best friend Jonathan, her co-worker Neil - all people Caroline needed in her life to heal, to put a smile on her face when she was lost and to help her move forward. Yes, there is some romance in this story and that hope that this woman who was hurt so badly to be able to find healing and strength again; to find herself and who she once was outside of her marriage but the overall message of this book is the growth, the possibilities for the future and that yes, you can find love at a young age and sometimes it may not work as you had hoped but its that journey to start over, to be true to yourself, for your heart to grow again and to be able to find trust again that really stole my heart. What a gem of a book! I am so happy that I was able to sneak this read in among my crazy TBR list!
Thank you. You have given me the perspective I have needed to answer so many questions in my life. I know the characters and love them. I can't wait for your next Novel.
You connect with Caroline right from the beginning. You feel her pain, anger, and sadness. The journey you go on with Caroline is one that makes you wonder if you would be as strong and brave as she was while trying to find out who you are and who you were. Feeling like your life was not what you thought it was is a scary thing, and Caroline did it with such bravery, compassion and was even able to have fun!
I don't read women's fiction nearly as often as I'd like to. Going into this story, I knew it was going to be a tougher read. Right from the start I adored Chase's writing style and knew this was going to be an emotional, strong and compelling story. Caroline is thrown for a loop when she finds out her husband has had an affair... and to make the situation even harder for her to understand, the affair was with another man. Caroline has been married to her husband, Adam, for 10 years. They were high school sweethearts, together since they were 17. Caroline must know learn how to stop being the couple that she's been a part of for so long, and start to live life on her own. "Hurt will whisper excuses in your ear for almost anything you do, but acting with kindness is a choice you will never have a reason to regret." As this story progresses, Caroline learns all the different ways her life wasn't quite what she thought it was. Having to learn how to be herself when she has never been on her own before is a hard task. Caroline's strength and perseverance during this difficult time had me routing her on from the beginning. All I wanted was for her to find her happily ever after. "The secret to staying married your whole life isn't doing everything perfectly, it's learning how to forgive." An incredibly strong story about heartache, forgiveness, and personal growth. I was consumed by Caroline's story from the very beginning and turned pages eagerly, clueless on where this story would go. The path Chase created for Caroline's story was exactly what I was hoping for: entirely realistic and outright perfect. Such a wonderful story that has reinstated my love of women's fiction. (Thanks to Ballantine Books for the review copy!)
A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review **I was given a review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** So this happily married woman discovers her darling husband, whom she's been with since high school, has cheated. But wait, there's more...it was with a man!!! Shocking. I love that she wasn't at all phased by that fact. She didn't care one way or the other, he was intimate with someone other than her and that was a deal breaker. Her friends told her that divorce is hard and she should try to work it out if they could. She really did try. But what we end up with is following Bethany through her grief, her hope, even her desperation as her marriage crumbles and she i s living alone for the first time in her life. She'll find she can count on people than she thought. And maybe, she'll come through this in one piece. I thought this story was so interesting. I mean, it's another he cheated and here we go stories. But it starts out with her being so happy, and feeling so loved. I mean, it literally came out of left field for her. We see her memories. There was a passion from the beginning and a tenderness. She always felt loved and desired by this man. Even though they were so young, everyone thought they'd make it...especially them. Deep characters that you may only get to know a little, but enjoyable anyway. It's entirely Caro's book, even though there is a moment it comes from his perspective in the beginning. It was a comforting story, very enjoyable.
DNF @ 27% I went into Results May Vary really intrigued by the concept, but it just fell flat for me. The only thing I genuinely enjoyed was the sisterly bond between Caroline and Ruby. I didn't care for any of the other characters/relationships. I was honestly forcing myself to read on, so I've decided to put this one down for now. **I was sent this ARC from Random House Publishing through NetGalley in return of an honest review.**
Results May Vary is a new novel by Bethany Chase. Caroline Fairly Hammond is going to an art gallery with her husband of fifteen years, Adam. The photographer, Patrick Timothy (Rubinowitz is his real last name) is having an exhibit. Jonathan Brast, their friend, as well as his latest girlfriend, Alicia are attending as well. Caroline is looking at the photos when Alicia asks if she wants to see some special photos that are not on exhibit. Caroline agrees and Alicia pulls her into the office. When Caroline sees the intimate photos, she understands why they are not on display. They are very sensual (erotic) pictures of two men in bed. Caroline notices a birthmark on one of the men that looks very similar to her husbands. Adam comes looking for her, and Caroline points out the birthmark. She then sees the look on Adam’s face and realizes that Adam is the man in the photo. The other man is Patrick Timothy (the photographer). Caroline is shocked, upset, outraged (and so much more). Caroline ends up going home with Jonathan and stays at his apartment for a week before finally returning to her home in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Caroline is an art curator for MASS MoCA. Caroline’s sister, Ruby comes to visit. Ruby is hoping to cheer her sister up, but she also just got out of a relationship and lost her job. Caroline has to find a way to deal with Adam’s betrayal, work through it, decide how to proceed with her marriage, and move on with her life. Join Caroline on her journey in Results May Vary. Results May Vary is nicely written and deals with an issue that many women and experience every day. I found Results May Vary a slow paced novel. Caroline does the usual post-betrayal things of evaluating what went wrong, what could have caused it, etc. (but it did not feel real). Caroline then takes off her wedding rings and proceeds with her “new” life (whiplash). Caroline just did not come alive for me (I found her to be a very self-absorbed person). We actually get very little information on Adam. More is revealed about him near the end of the novel (mostly he comes across as a jerk). I am not quite sure how these two stayed married (they did not seem to have much in common and even lived apart during the week). The more interesting character was Ruby, Caroline’s sister. She embraced life and lived it (even started her own business when she got fired). The action does not pick up until the latter portion of the story (the last 20% or so). I’m afraid that I found Results May Vary predictable. I was hoping for something different or unique in this book that would make it stand out from the crowd. I give Results May Vary 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay, but not for me). I really wanted to like this book, but instead I had a hard time finishing it. While this book was not for me, other readers have enjoyed it and you may as well. I received a complimentary copy of Results May Vary in exchange for an honest evaluation. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
Results May Vary, by Bethany Chase, is the poignant story of Caroline and Adam Hammond. They were high school sweethearts, have been married for ten years, and their world is falling apart. Adam has had an affair--with a man. As Caroline struggles with this information, she comes to the conclusion that she can, they can, work through this and come out even stronger. That is until she learns that this is not the only thing about himself that Adam has been hiding. Then she questions whether everything she thought she knew about her husband and their relationship was only in her imagination. In the course of this journey, we see Caroline and her younger sister Ruby forge a closer relationship, watch as she stretches herself in her position as curator of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and witness as she yields to temptation. The reader will root for Caroline. She is a heroine that you care about and that you want things to work out for. This story is filled with compassion, disappointment, reconciliation, and hope for the future. It looks at the many faces of love and and the paths that love stories take, often with varied results. Ms. Chase has certainly demonstrated her storytelling abilities. I recommend this book and personally look forward to reading her next novel.
From the "The One That Got Away" Bethany Chase returns with an interesting twist to wife finds husband having an affair story. Ten wonderful years of marriage with Adam, how did this happen? An incredible journey of Caroline who begins to question everything in her life from the high school to ten years of marriage. How does she rebuild her life? Can she forgive him? Who is Adam? I have become a fan of Bethany Chase - I look forward to her becoming one of those Must Read Summer picks. Thanks to First To Read - Penguin Random House for an advance e-copy.
I received a free electronic copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sharing your work with me. Bethany Chase brings us an excellent novel, with charismatic, rounded people and an entertaining storyline. The setting is NYC and Massachusetts, fall and winter, and realistic enough to make you look for socks.
Strange book. Not exactly what I would do in this situation myself. Your married to a man and you find out he's cheating on you. Not with another woman, but a man. And throughout this book the predicament becomes even stranger. (Trying not to give out any spoils here!) Reading this and watching Caroline cope with this enlightment was very interesting. Made some of my problems look not so bad. I really felt for this character and really got into the book. I could say more about what happened, but I can't without giving too many clues. This was a very heartfelt and emotional book and I loved it. I really felt Caroline's pain and yes, there were tissues involved. I would like to thank Random House and Net Galley for the free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Caroline is meeting up with her husband, Adam, for the opening of a new artist, Patrick, at a gallery in New York City. Caroline is a curator for a museum in Massachusetts. The artist is a gay man who has taken some photos of himself with other men. When Caroline realizes that Adam is one of the men in a photo, she is totally shocked and devastated. They had been in love since they were teenagers and have been married for a number of years. Although Adam begs for forgiveness, Caroline cannot bring herself to forgive him and their marriage appears to be headed for divorce. We follow her as she slowly comes to terms with what has happened and starts to open up to dating. She soon begins a relationship with her co-worker who is a widower with two young daughters. They are good together but they are both still hurting over the loss of their mates. Caroline’s younger sister, Ruby, comes to stay with her as she is between jobs. Ruby is an out-going, devil-may-care type of person. While they are different personalities, they are still sisters and their time together brings them closer. Will Caroline be able to forgive Adam and keep their marriage? Is he gay or bisexual? When does one know when a relationship is truly over? The story here is good. I liked the characters but Caroline tended to grate on me. Yes. She has been hurt and disillusioned. But her jumping right into a relationship with her co-worker was certainly premature. I think as much as she loved Adam and he kept begging to talk to her and see if they could work things out, she should have agreed. I think she needed to talk things out with Adam and not every other person she could find to rehash things. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review