Published by Random House Publishing Group on August 9th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Romance, Contemporary, General
Also by this author: The One That Got Away
She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, 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.
I enjoyed Bethany Chase’s debut The One That Got Away last year so I was thrilled to get the chance to read her follow-up Results May Vary. In Results May Vary, Caroline finds out the devastating news that her husband Adam has cheated on her. He was her high school sweetheart and they had a seemingly perfect marriage, and now she’s feeling like she doesn’t know him at all. Can she forgive him and give their marriage another shot? We follow Caroline’s journey as she processes the anger and grief of this betrayal.
This is an emotional, engrossing read that I couldn’t tear my eyes off of. The story, situations, and characters felt so realistic, though, that it was hard to take at times. Caroline has a lot of questions about the affair and her marriage and puts in the work to figure it all out. It’s difficult not to try to put yourself in Caroline’s shoes, and I think her reaction to it all felt very authentic.
Caroline throws herself into her work (she’s an art curator) and leans on friends and family in the aftermath of the affair. Caroline’s younger sister Ruby comes to stay and they heal their wounds through a diet of junk food and alcohol. Caroline’s hunky friend Jonathan is also a great support. These well-drawn characters were a standout in this novel.
The author includes snippets of correspondence from well-known authors at the beginning of each chapter, which were a nice touch. Many of the notes relate to Caroline’s current situation. (The author credits Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note as a source – looks like a very cool book)
This addictive read got my attention right away, and I was surprised and moved by all the twists and turns. This one reminded me of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s and Karma Brown’s books – two authors that also know how to bring on the heartache, hope, and feels. I can’t wait to read what Bethany Chase writes next.
One of the most memorable parts of Results May Vary is the vivid Berkshires setting. And as a treat, the author stops by to share some background on the setting. Please welcome Bethany Chase!
The Setting: Why Bethany chose the Berkshires for Results May Vary
I set Results May Vary in the Berkshires because, like Caroline, I went to college at Williams and fell in love with the region. It reminds me a little bit of the Virginia Blue Ridge where I grew up—I am a mountain girl, through and through—but it has its own flavor, which is very much a New England one. It has beautiful old 18th-century houses, and a winding river or two, and maple trees everywhere that really do turn just the most outrageous colors of coral and red and gold in October.
The area is an interesting cultural hotspot—in Williamstown itself you have not just the college but also the world-class Clark Art Institute (I debated long and hard between having Caroline be a curator at the Clark vs MASS MoCA, but went with the latter in the end because it suited the plot better), and the Williamstown Theater Festival. Nearby you have the Tanglewood concert series, the beautiful Hancock Shaker Village, and then of course MASS MoCA, which is not just one of the largest contemporary art museums in the country but also a multi-disciplinary facility that hosts music, dance and theater as well as visual art. North Adams is interesting because it is a former industrial town that has been in a resurgence for the last 15 years or so, which is very intentionally led by the museum. One of the reasons I think the region is so great is that it has the beauty and charm of a small town, rural environment, yet packs this amazing cultural punch that far exceeds what you might expect from its population.
And, of course, it is beautiful. Those leaves! Those mountains! Those velvety white snowstorms, and the way they make you hunker down inside in front of a roaring fire. And then the spring that slinks slowly over the landscape, apologizing for the months that preceded it, until it bursts into the full green roar of May. I hope everyone gets to experience the Berkshires in their lives, not just in one season but in all of them.
Thanks Bethany! I really hope I get to visit the Berkshires someday.
Results May Vary is on sale now. Find it: