One night, after tossing and turning for about an hour, I picked up Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas, thinking I’d read a few pages and then go back to sleep. In fact, once I’d started reading this novel I couldn’t put it down—I read for about five hours straight and finished it in one sitting!
Love and Other Natural Disasters is the story of Eve, who discovers in the middle of a family Thanksgiving dinner that her husband Jon is having an emotional affair. From the first chapter on, Shumas plunges the reader into the thick of this marital crisis alongside Eve. I loved the fact that Eve doesn’t second guess her gut feeling that something is off when she overhears her husband’s conversation, nor does she let it go when he denies the affair. But what I enjoyed most about this novel is that Shumas provides a context for this story—she explores the ripple effect the affair has, not only on Eve’s nuclear family, but also on her relationships with members of her family of origin, her friends and her coworkers. Given the seriousness of the issue, this is a fairly light read (you know things are going to turn out OK in the end, regardless of whether Eve and her husband stay together), but Shumas accomplishes this without glossing over the pain this situation causes. Despite the fact that Jon’s affair wasn’t sexual, I never questioned its seriousness or the validity of Eve’s reaction to it (although I don’t think I would have reacted the same way had I been in her shoes), so I may not have found that aspect of the book as thought-provoking as other readers will. I did wish that Eve’s journey of self-discovery had been further explored, but maybe that’s material for another book.
This book provoked a wide range of reactions. To read other reviews, visit these blogs:
A Bookworm’s World (with author interview) • A Circle of Books • At Home with Books • B&b ex libris • Booking Mama • Bookopolis • Books Ahoy • Breeni Books (guest reviewer) • My Friend Amy • S. Krishna’s Books • The Read Feed
Thank you to Hachette for sending me this book to review.
This is the first book I review for the New Authors Challenge.
This is also the first book I review for the LibraryThing Author Challenge.