Tempting Fate Review
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Unabridged Audiobook: 9 CDs (11 hours)
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While some authors stick to safe topics, writing romance and drama in a way that’s light and entertaining and comfortably predictable, author Jane Green (author of Family Pictures) prefers to drag her characters through the trials and temptations that come with real life. And in the audio version of Tempting Fate, she once again leads readers on a sometimes grueling but ultimately satisfying adventure.

Tempting Fate follows 40-something wife and mother Gabby on an unexpected, life-changing journey. Happily married to Elliot for nearly 20 years, Gabby is slowly settling into middle age. While the other women in her suburban Connecticut town seem desperate to hold on to their youth, racing out for surgical procedures and primping and teasing for fancy girls’ nights out, Gabby is content to be herself: an aging mother of two teenage girls.

But then Gabby meets Matt. Rich and young and impossibly handsome, he seems like the last man on Earth who would take an interest in her. But after their first meeting becomes a flirtatious—and thrilling—long-distance friendship, Gabby realizes that she’s treading on dangerous ground. The choices she makes could change her family’s lives forever.

Elegantly written and tenderly told, Tempting Fate is an emotional story about growing older, making the tough decisions, and learning the true meaning of family. This isn’t a light, easy-going novel. It’s challenging and difficult and often emotionally exhausting, filled with all of the highs and lows of life for a middle-aged suburbanite. Early in the novel, the danger of Gabby’s flirtation with Matt will sometimes take your breath away. It’s tense and thrilling—and while you may not agree with her decisions, you’ll most likely understand them (especially if you happen to be a woman over, say, 35).

But, of course, every action comes with its consequences, and as Gabby continues on her journey, the tension becomes a completely different kind—one that will sometimes break your heart. At times, it can become so excruciating that you may need to walk away—to listen to something else, something cheerier, to lighten the mood. But you’ll keep coming back, needing to find out how things will work out for this troubled family in the end.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this audiobook, however, is its narration. While the author definitely knows the story and her characters better than anyone else, she should have chosen a more capable narrator. After all, her melodic English accent works beautifully for Gabby—and for the handful of other British characters—but it simply doesn’t make sense for the majority of the characters. And while it’s clear that she put a lot of effort into making her diction as clear as possible, her read is so cautious and deliberate that it feels as though her narration added two extra hours to the novel’s final runtime.

Tempting Fate isn’t the usual light and fluffy chick lit. It’s tough and thoughtful—and sometimes it’s absolutely exhausting. But if you need a deeper, more complex drama, this audiobook will challenge you and frustrate you and stay with you long after you finish the last chapter.

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