With The View From Alameda Island (MIRA), bestselling author Robyn Carr presents another highly engaging story, this one of a resilient woman’s mid-life journey as she bravely extricates herself from a difficult marriage to build a more honest life and new love for herself, facing the wrath of a selfish husband who might stop at nothing to keep her.
Few if any marriages can be accurately known or understood from the outside looking in. Nonetheless, the violet-eyed Lauren Drake enjoys the kind of elegant life we all secretly envy. Her twenty-four-year marriage to a successful surgeon has provided her with a stunning home set on some of the most coveted real estate in California. There she has raised two loving daughters who are now about to launch their own adult lives. Lauren enjoys her career as a cook for a food processing company, where she tests out recipes and food products. Her married life revolves around her efforts to make sure the marriage looks good in public and to keep the abuse she endures in private a secret to everyone. Thanks to Lauren her husband thrives in his surgical practice and keeps them financially comfortable while she stoically tends to his daily chores and errands. But as the story opens she decides to change everything. She refuses to pretend any more. On the very day of her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary, she meets with her lawyer and files for divorce.
On her way home, Lauren visits a favorite church garden for a moment of solace amidst the flowers. There she meets Beau Magellan, a self-actualized landscaper with an easy smile and dark blue eyes. Beau is also stuck in a marriage that makes him unhappy. As the resourceful and upbeat Lauren moves into a small quaint Victorian house on Alameda Island and begins her newly single life she and Beau become friends. From this new Alameda Island vantage point, she begins to discover and to appreciate an inner strength and hidden self that she has ignored for her entire marriage. We enjoy telling glimpses into her former married life as she assesses her dutiful compliance and suffering with new and wiser eyes. We applaud her dawning realization that openness and honesty matter far more than maintaining the shell of a marriage.
The prospect of a divorce enrages Lauren’s self-entitled husband from the start and it is clear he will do everything he can to sabotage all aspects of her life. She worries about the financial security and happiness of their daughters. With much fear and some awkwardness, Lauren begins to be honest, with her daughters, with her friends, with her boss, and with acquaintances who also knew her husband, and it becomes easier for her to trust people as they respond to her openness. And then there is Beau’s estranged wife, who also opposes his request to split. Given her needy and demanding personality, Beau fully expects she will try to make his life difficult and to jeopardize the strong relationships he has built with her sons.
The story deepens by having certain chapters told from Beau’s point of view, and a few from Lauren’s sister Beth’s perspective as well. Beth has a family of her own and provides intimate background only a sister would know. A handsome priest who is Beau’s longtime friend rethinks his own colorful life, and Beau’s two stepsons—torn between their mother and Beau—enliven the telling. The northern California setting provides a freshness and can-do optimism that infuse the characters and the telling.
Strong pacing compels us on as Lauren’s clear-minded push for divorce creates a constant threat of backlash from her ruthless husband. In Beau’s struggle to extricate himself from his own marriage he too faces tension. As events draw to a shocking conclusion that threatens everything and everyone now dear to Lauren, we root for her to keep a life of which she can now rightly be proud. This is well-crafted women’s fiction, where the emotional journey is paramount, and the satisfying focus on Lauren’s innermost feelings and thoughts does not disappoint.
The View from Alameda Island is now available for purchase.
About Robyn Carr
Robyn Carr was a young mother of two in the mid-1970s when she started writing fiction, an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, whose husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, that she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction, that 11 of her novels would earn the #1 berth on the New York Times bestselling books list.
Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.