Sunday, June 26, 2011

Releasing Gillian's Wolves by Tara Woolpy

Marriages often crumble for a variety of reasons, and yet one of the more common seems to be lack of fidelity. We often hear about these issues in the news and gossip columns as it pertains to the rich and famous, but the politicians are fair game as well.

In Releasing Gillian’s Wolves by Tara Woolpy, we follow the life of Gillian as she finally realizes that life is passing her by as she waits for her ever unfaithful husband, Congressman Jack Sach to settle down and create a real and loving life with her. After thirty years of marriage and numerous affairs, she has carved a life of good enough, relying on her friends and cooking to bring happiness and joy to her life.

In one fell swoop though, one thing happens that for some reason triggers that rebelliousness deep inside, that want to be the one and only, and to stop being the doormat for a man that cares deeply only about himself. During an election party as she puts the finishing touches on dinner, she meets a very pretty young woman, wearing a necklace very like the one she herself just received from her husband for her birthday. And she knew. She absolutely knew. Not sure what it is, maybe the age difference, or just another conquest, she find she cannot go on.

This one thing, this young girl finally started a cavalcade of feeling and decisions Gillian could not ignore. Concerned about how her decision would affect their two grown children as well as her mother-in-law Pearl, who is more the just that, but a friend and confidant as well, she decides to live separately yet maintain the marriage, for the sake of appearances. When she decides to spend the summer in Amsterdam with her friends Edward and Sam, she meets someone who changes her life. Luke Vanderwerken is a sculptor, one she has admired for years, and is a friend of Edward’s. Drawn to each other by their love of art, they become inseparable. How will this affect her marriage and her family? When her husband becomes embroiled in the fall out of several nefarious schemes, she must return to the states to prove her own innocence of involvement. Will she ever see Luke again, and how will she finally find the life she deserves?

Tara Woolpy has done a wonderful job of developing characters that seem real. You can envision Jack, the erstwhile politician, with his group of interns and his charismatic demeanor. Gillian strikes a balance that leaves you at once concerned for her, and yet keeps you rooting for her. Other than her art and her friends, food is the thing she turns to for comfort. Tara has interspersed recipes in the chapters as Gilliam cooks her way though many of her issues.

Edward and Sam are a enchanting couple, and she makes you feel the connection with them. Edward and Gilliam have known each other their whole lives, and have the Grandfathers (as they are referred to) to thank for the largess in their life. The money and foundation started by the Grandfathers will sustain them through their lifetime, and with their upbringing, they are more like siblings then friends.

Luke is rugged and serious about his art. He is often introspective and messy; he gets into his work and is not always charming. He is not even really much to look and yet Gilliam finds that bit of him that is what she has been searching for her entire life. And for Luke that same spark is reciprocated, creating a closeness neither of them expected.

This is a story of life and love, and treats you to the generousness of those who care. Gilliam’s life and exploits keep you captivated, and the recipes are an added extra. If you enjoy a light love story and a story of growth, you will enjoy this often fun and quirky novel.

I would recommend this as a light summertime read, and a great book for a reading group. There is politics and deviousness, as well as love and redemption. It would make for a great discussion.

Rating 4/5

This book was received free from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

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