“You can’t buy happiness.” This old adage came to my mind again and again as I was reading Ann Lineberger’s The Adjustments (Full Fathom Five Digital), a sharp satirical novel on the upper crust of Connecticut society, flourishing in so many ways, and yet incredibly vulnerable in others.
It’s in rare circumstances that we pity those in affluent positions. As more of the emotional baggage of these wives of financially well-to-do men are unpacked, I was starkly reminded that everyone has their own weaknesses, whether or not they are clearly visible, or abruptly revealed within a few minor adjustments.
In Cannondale, your wealth defines you and appearance is everything. The wives of Fairfield County have internalized this belief and equate their own worth with their household’s financial gain. Whether it is a determined quest to obliterate a ramshackle trailer park past, covering up an abusive marriage, or seeking the universal and impossible adoration of the whole community, each wife has their own complicated history and toxic insecurities.
While there are varying degrees of propulsion for these wives’ strides for popularity and acceptance, Lineberger offers some potent revelations to the depths of emotional depravity. One wife, Tory, has plans to fake a pregnancy and miscarriage in order to get her desired expansion on her home. Her character is not a sympathetic one, but nonetheless early on illustrates the obsession of wealth in the area.
The main character, Elizabeth has a fairly balanced perspective, but has her own tragic ties to finance. Her sister, Abby, is the widow of a man who committed suicide due to internal and external pressures of unemployment. Families such as Abby’s still reeling from the financial crash of the recession are highlighted in sharp clarity, contrasting the vain and almost comic measures the others take for a polished image.
Seeking refuge from lives staked on fluctuating financial worth, they go to Yogi Jack’s classes, which always offer a sensual distraction. Jack urges these women not to let material things define them. Handsome, successful and single, Jack doesn’t seem attached to anything. Tempting for unhappy women defined by their conquests.
Throughout his classes, Jack offers “adjustments” through slight corrections in position so his students can achieve their perfect yoga stances. Sometimes these touches are necessary, and sometimes they are
Most coveted of all
Among others in his classes, Elizabeth’s sister Abby is dawn to Jack’s magnetic presence. But is Jack as laid back as he seems, or could this free spirit have more calculated intentions for the women he has grown to know so closely?
An addictive read, Lineberger contrasts poignant drama with seductive scenes and grabbing characters. As the perfect veneer of the Cannondale women collapses and dark secrets are threatened with exposure, every day becomes a test–how far these can these ladies stretch before they reach their breaking points.
The Adjustments is now available for purchase.
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ABOUT ANN LINEBERGER:
Ann Lineberger is the author of Sunday Best (2008), The Adjustments (Full Fathom Five Digital, 2016) and New Spaces, Old World Charm (McGraw-Hill, 2004). Ann has worked as a reporter, editor, and writer for numerous publications, including Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, Cottages & Gardens, and Home Remodeling. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from New York University and an associate’s degree from the New York School of Interior Design. Her independent studies program undergraduate degree is from Providence College. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dogs, yoga, running, photography, reading, and escaping to Maine in the summers. In addition to writing, Ann is trained and has worked as an interior designer and realtor. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two daughters, and two adorable mutts.
Visit her website for more information: http://annlineberger.com/