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30 March 2016

Review: 'A Better Man' by Leah McLaren (2015)

Maya wants Nick to be less of a workaholic, to come home earlier, to spend some time with his children. Nick wants a divorce. With his mind made up, Nick is determined to leave quickly and with dignity, but it comes as an unpleasant shock to realise how much it will cost him to walk away. As a stay-at-home mum, Maya is entitled to everything. Nick is resolute, so when an unlikely solution presents itself he gives it everything he's got. If Nick becomes a better husband and father, if he encourages his wife to rediscover herself, the more self-sufficient Maya will become: and the cheaper Nick's pay-out. But as Nick pretends to be a better man he becomes one. He remembers his connection with Maya, their ability to be a couple and not just parents who share a house. Everything seems to be back on track. Until Maya finds out exactly what Nick has been planning...

Canadian author Leah McLaren's second novel 'A Better Man' was released in August 2015 and received several positive book reviews which I found when I did a bit of online research on the author. I wasn't familiar with Leah McLaren before I was contacted about 'A Better Man' and hadn't heard of her debut novel 'The Continuity Girl.' However, I was curious to check out this new author and I was quite intrigued by the description of the book. It promised to be a captivating tale about marriage and I looked forward to giving it a chance and be introduced to Leah McLaren's writing at the same time!

Nick and Maya Wakefield seem to be a great couple to the outside world. Nick has a good job which he loves, they have a beautiful home, and adorable twins which Maya takes care of as a stay-at-home mum. But Nick isn't happy; hasn't been happy in quite some time and has decided he wants a divorce. However, when he confides in his old friend Adam Grey, a family lawyer working at one of the biggest firms in the city, Nick discovers the divorce will cost him a lot of money, mainly because Maya is completely dependent on him and takes care of the kids. In order to get a better divorce deal, Nick will need to become a better husband and help Maya find herself again so she becomes more independent. Nick decides to take on this challenge and everything seems to go really well, until Maya finds out what Nick has been doing all along...

‘A Better Man’ focuses on couple Nick and Maya Wakefield who fell in love with each other while they were both at university, but several years later there doesn’t seem to be any trace of their love left at first sight. After the birth of their twins, Maya became a stay-at-home mum and Nick became even more of a workaholic, resulting in the two of them leading almost separate lives. Nick decides he wants a divorce, but he will need to become a better husband first in order to get a less expensive divorce deal. I was intrigued by the plotline of this novel and quite curious to see what the author would do with it within the almost 300 pages of the book. While I did enjoy the book, I didn’t really connect with the characters and felt as if there was just something missing.

There are a lot of descriptive passages in the book with just a bit of dialogue, which wasn’t really to my personal taste. I really missed the characters conversing with one another, which is perhaps also why I didn’t really warm to either Nick or Maya, who are the two main characters. I found it quite difficult to get into the book, but this is definitely one of those books that get better and better as the story progresses. By the end, I was quite enjoying it, but that feeling came a bit too late. I am curious to see what else author Leah McLaren has to offer us, so wouldn’t hesitate to pick up one of her other reads in the future, but unfortunately ‘A Better Man’ just didn’t check all the boxes for me. I am, however, sure there will be numerous women’s fiction fans out there who will enjoy this novel a lot more than I did, so please don’t hesitate to pick it up and give it a chance if you like the sound of it!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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