What Is the Biggest Secret You've Kept in Your Marriage??
Bet it isn't that you are a former field agent for the CIA or that you've killed people doing your job! But that is the one Katherine, affectionately known at Kat by her husband, Dexter, is keeping locked away as he accepts a new job that will take them to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to live with their two small boys. Seeing this as the time to divest herself of her CIA obligations and start a new life as an expat housefrau, she resigns from the Company and decides she will henceforth be known as Kate, to her family and to the other expat housewives from all over the world with whom she will develop a matriarchal social circle.
Initially, all seems to go well, until one of these fellow wives, Julia and her extremely handsome, self-assured husband, Bill enter their lives and become the best friend married couple with whom they seem to do most of their socializing. Then Kate's dormant suspicious mind begins to feel as though she is being watched and that this couple may be hired assassins, after her? After someone at the Palais, over the grounds of which their apartment looks? As their friendship intensifies, more and more Kate's instincts become aroused until she finds herself contacting her old boss, Hayden and she starts to enjoy the excitement of the hunt once more. Eventually, however, her suspicions begin to focus on the activities of Dexter and what appears to be secretive behavior. To compound the usual cat and mouse life of a CIA operative and its dangers comes the guilt over the secrets she has kept from Dexter for over ten years and her dawning realization that he, too, has been keeping secrets. This creates some dichotomy in her--is it alright for her to hide her past life from him, but a betrayal if he keeps secrets from her? What does this say about the ability to trust one's partner?
Between the mystery surrounding these fellow expats and the angst of determining the health of her marriage, Kate and the reader are taken on a exciting ride emotionally and physically, through the beautiful and accessible cities and country sides of Western Europe. Pavone paints his characters with a realistic brush, the bored wife who gave up an exciting career to clean her own toilets and yet, is torn about being bored, since she loves her family and wants to spend time with her young boys and her husband, taking care of their needs and being satisfied with coffee and shopping trips with the girls--boy, can I ever relate!
The husband, good at a well paying job, not movie star handsome but good looking, in good shape, comfortable as an old pair of leather gloves, who obviously loves her and their boys; able to socialize comfortably enough with the other expats but just as content to work and go out seldomly when home.
Julia, the childless sort of clinging expat wife who is married to the heart stopping handsome, smooth talking, well-groomed, confident man who knows all the right people and right places and moves effortlessly through the world expecting adoration, Bill. When Pavone puts him at the table with the other three, controlling the situation and determining the evening's events and even disarming a would-be mugger, the reader is a fifth at the table as mesmerized as the others by Bill.
And Hayden, Kate's former boss, who is wont to meet her in museums and who, whenever they are in contact, by phone or in person, drops nuggets of esoteric trivia into her ear, which she then scores on a scale of one to ten. What a delight is Hayden--I want one of those dependable friends at my command to lighten the load, whatever it may be at the moment.
All in all, an exciting, thought provoking read, filled with a well developed cast of characters to like, suspect and eventually uncover and reveal in some surprising twists, not confined to the Alpine roads in winter.
"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."