3 out of 4 stars
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Altered Lives by C.J. Davidson is a realistic work of fiction that highlights the importance of communication in a relationship. Julianna and Sebastian are married with two daughters. They appear to have perfect lives. Sebastian has his own business and Julianna has a challenging position with a bank. They work well together. Julianna typically drops the kids off at school in the morning and Sebastian picks them up from his parents’ house after work. They have a loving relationship where Sebastian checks in with Julianna throughout the day and even sends flowers to her at work.
Their relationship gradually begins to deteriorate when Julianna becomes overly stressed at work. Her boss has no compassion for the heavy workload Julianna has taken on. She is repeatedly criticizing her and complaining that her work is not acceptable. This stress carries over into Julianna’s personal life. She works long hours and is tired when she gets home. She sees her husband and children less and less. Sebastian takes on a larger role at home, but his business is also very demanding. The stress and time away from home has a negative impact on their marriage. It doesn’t help matters when Sebastian’s beautiful assistant begins to show an interest in more than work.
I enjoyed reading this book. The characters were complex and realistic. It is difficult to juggle home and work, especially when a job is demanding, and a boss is unsympathetic. Stress from work can easily follow a person home and impact family and marriage. Julianna’s marriage begins to fall apart, but not because they don’t love one another. The deterioration is very gradual. They begin to spend less time together because they are both so busy, then they have less intimacy. This leads to less talking and spending time together. I think many readers will relate to this type of situation.
What I liked most about this book was the structure. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a character. This is important to the story because it is obvious that Julianna and Sebastian still love one another. It is the lack of communication that is driving them apart. They no longer feel that they are a priority to the other. There are also chapters told from the point of view of the children and convey how confused they are by what is happening to their family. What I liked least about the book was the abrupt ending. It seemed there was a long build-up and then everything was resolved quickly. It felt a little rushed. However, this was a small negative aspect of the book.
There were some errors in the book, so I don’t believe it was professionally edited. I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. I thought it was a well-written story with complex characters, but I felt the ending was a little rushed and there were some errors. For these reasons, I didn’t give the book a perfect score. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy romance novels and books about realistic relationships.
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