Tempting Fate by Jane Green
Jane Green is already a well-established household name in the world of Women’s Fiction. She has the superb knack of capturing the intricacies of the ups and downs of relationships, and her book Tempting Fate does not fall short.
Gabby and Elliott are happily married. They’ve enjoyed domestic bliss for twenty years, and together are raising their two daughters. As middle age descends upon Gabby, however, she begins to experience feelings of restlessness, and of time slipping through her fingertips.
Enter Matt, a young, successful Adonis, who is completely enamoured with her. While Gabby has not, for a moment, felt unhappy in her marriage to Elliott, she finds herself feeling more than flattered with Matt’s attention. In fact, she becomes intoxicated by it, and by the way he makes her feel. Their friendship turns to infatuation before, in one reckless moment, she destroys everything she holds dear.
This is a book about what happens after the fact, about dealing with damages that can’t be undone. Green cleverly plots Tempting Fate so that, after the lead up to the event, the bulk of the novel looks at what the characters do about what happens. Her story arc is woven in such a way that it truly takes the reader on a journey, into the tunnel and then out again. The result is empathy for all of the characters involved, as well as something of a catharsis for the reader.
I found myself, in many instances, wondering what would’ve happened if that had been me. How would the people in my life have responded? How would I have responded if Gabby was someone close to me? Coincidentally, I had a similar reaction when I read Green’s previous novel, The Accidental Husband. I think this a one of the wonderful side-effects of literature: that through someone else’s story we are given the opportunity to consider our own stand points on very real, quite probable situations. And it takes a skilled writer to induce that kind of response.
I had a slightly odd relationship with Tempting Fate. I felt like I wasn’t quite getting into the book as I began reading it…and as I continued reading it. However, I’d also find myself desperate to pick up the book again, eager to find out how things (ever-hopeful) resolved. I experienced similar when I read The Accidental Husband. The side-effect of this, though, is that I had the strong sense during reading that I was an outsider looking in on a scene, and it was this, I believe, that resulted in my own – deep – personal reflection on the mistakes we make.
Green handles a difficult subject delicately, and considerately. Her cast of characters allow readers to explore the subject from many vantage points, enabling a full picture, and empathy for everyone involved. Tempting Fate is a well-written and interesting book that, in spite of a bit of a rough ride, will leave you with the warm glow of a happy ending.
REVIEWER: Emma Codd
TITLE: Tempting Fate
AUTHOR: Jane Green