Title: Is This All There Is?
Author: Patricia Mann
Genre/Audience: Women’s fiction, adult
Publication: Mannequin Vanity Publishing, 2013
Source: For review, CLP Tours
Is This All There Is? is very much a story of what-ifs and could-have-beens. Beth is a 35 year old college professor and married mother of two who finds herself in a dangerous situation. One night while out with friends, after having a few too many drinks, she kisses 21 year old Dave, a former student. Guilt forces her to stop before things get taken too far, but Dave’s relentless pursuit and flattering flirtations make her toe the line between right and wrong. Beth loves feeling wanted again for the first time in years, yet she knows what she’s thinking, feeling, and considering doing is all wrong. She’s not sure if she should follow her head or her body, constantly grappling between guilt and desire as she moves closer towards a decision.
I was instantly pulled into this story as I love a good forbidden romance. This book is more than just that though as it deals with the decision making process and reflects upon the potential outfall and consequences associated with forbidden romances. Beth is forced to come to terms with what is wrong with the relationship she has with her husband, and has to ask herself a lot of what-ifs: what if I go too far? What if he finds out? What if my kids discover my secret? Beth doesn’t just jump into either decision and thinks long and hard about everything that is presented to her.
I think a lot of women, especially middle aged and mothers, can relate to this story, and not necessarily the “affair” aspect. No, I think a lot of women will be able to relate to what Beth is feeling: unappreciated, unloved, unattractive, discontent, and most of all wondering, “is this all there is?” While all of this seems negative of course, this story teaches a valuable lesson: that love takes work and lots of it. That doesn’t mean giving up or giving in, it means working at it, every single day, and getting out of that slump.
I really enjoyed this fast, interesting read. Even though Beth and I are very different, it was fascinating glimpsing into her life and thought process. I think fans of women’s fiction will equally enjoy this story.
My Rating: 4/5