Best Intentions by Emily Listfield
Published by Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster
Rating: 4.5 stars
Best Intentions follows narrator, Lisa Barkley's life, as she struggles with her marriage, her teenaged daughters and her career. After suspecting her husband Sam of having an affair, Lisa listens to his voicemail and hears a woman's mysterious message. As the story progresses, more red flags are raised regarding Sam's suspected affair and other obstacles and misunderstandings arise. When Lisa's best friend Deirdre gets involved, things become even more complicated until the second part of the book, when a murder takes place.
Although the book starts off relatively slow, it more than makes up for it with all of the secrets and mysteries that unravel throughout the story. The first part of the book reads more like a women's fiction book, when we get an insider's glimpse of Lisa's life and her worries and complex relationships. Emily Listfield does a wonderful job of capturing Lisa's middle-aged angst. I felt connected to Lisa and her inner circle and hoped that she would pull through despite all of the complications in her life.
Since the second part of the book is mostly devoted to the murder mystery, it seemed like a somewhat abrupt transition from the first part. Nonetheless, thinking about the suspects and trying to determine who the killer was kept me intrigued. There is a noticeable shift in narrative tone, as the plot centers around the murder and all the potential suspects, leaving you guessing until the very end.
The combination of women's fiction and mystery seems to be an emerging new genre, as can also be seen in books like The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks and The House on Tradd Street by Karen White. Although I would have appreciated a more gradual transition and combination of women's fiction and mystery in Best Intentions, it is a worthy addition to this new type of novel and one that I truly enjoyed reading. I hope this trend of combining women's fiction and mystery continues!
Be sure to check out this website for more information about the book and the murder suspects!
BIG THANKS to Lauren for my review copy