Customer Reviews: Another Life
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on April 22, 2007
Is it possible to lead a double life? After reading Ann Roth's debut into women's fiction, I actually think reads about it all of the time, a man who travels, has wealth, prestige, and comes with a "Knob Hill pedigree"? It makes a believer out of me!

Picture this, a hospital waiting live in San Francisco and think your international lawyer husband is in China on business and you get a call he's suffered a heart attack. How would you react? So you make arrangements for your teenage daughter and fly to his bedside in Seattle. While in the waiting room this lovely woman feel frumpy as she's dressed in evening wear, is younger and seems to have it "together" but she's distressed as well. You both talk about your husbands, your family and feel a bond due to the fact that the "men" you both love are in critical care. Then the doctor comes and says "Mrs. Mason and both of you answer "yes"? "I'm sorry but your husband has passed"......and the nightmare begins.

Another Life, what an appropriate title, is a wonderful book and I honestly could not put it down once I began reading the story of Beth and Caroline. Even though in the beginning they bonded at the hospital, they both have a lot to loose......not just the man they both loved, but two girls from each marriage could be badly hurt, their finances in serious trouble, reputations marred and gossip a plenty!

Were they both angry? Of course, did they resent each other? Yes! But who would think that months later they would turn to each other because they were both going through the same thing and could relate to their horrible loss and financial situation! What a message this book gives the reader. I suggest you read the book and learn from the experience and you might ask what that would be? If you're married, in a relationship, take the time to get involved, ask questions of your partner, plan ahead and protect your family. Being a partner is just that, an equal in all aspects of your relationship.

I'm very passionate about this as I was blessed with a wonderful marriage and it ended suddenly with my husband's unexpected passing. Thank God we had incredible years together, shared everything in our marriage and planned ahead. If you haven't or even if you single, take a look at Ann's website. She has a guide for women that is so worth taking a look at, I promise.

And if you want an entertaining read, one that delves into who you are, what you can be, how to make lemonade out of lemons and most importantly friendship and understanding, then Another Life is for you! Ann Roth, excellent and entertaining book!
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When I first read the story blurb for this book, I knew I had to read it. Never could I have predicted how it would all pan out, but the happily-ever-after in this book will certainly have the reader re-considering `the norm' when it comes to death of a spouse, family, relationships, and friendships with those who seem to be enemies in life.

I loved both of the heroines, for different reasons. Mary Beth's determination to build a life after the death of her unfaithful husband, with her teenage daughter, Aurora, was courageous and admirable. She literally started with no qualifications for a job, since she had been a stay-at-home mom (encouraged by her husband to do so). Yet, she used the limited but valuable experience from her former high-class life in directing charities, events, and find a career and start over. Also, her persistence as a stern but loving mother to Aurora was wonderful. She gave her teenager the much-needed structure older kids need, but resist. She was strong.

Caroline was also a great main character. Though she struggled with her husband's infidelity as Mary Beth did, she was open to a friendship with `the other woman', Mary Beth. It wasn't all neat and you could imagine! But unlike Mary Beth, Caroline had anchored herself with a steady career and was raising her eight year old daughter, Jax, when she learned of Stephen's (their husband's) infidelity. Both Jax and Aurora played a pivotal role in the book, too, concerning families and friendships.

I really enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to reading more of Ann Roth's e-book exclusives. Highly recommend for those who love stories about family, friendships, healing, and love.

~ Laurie Kozlowski
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on April 20, 2007
I was drawn into the story from the start. Someone here said the bigamy story had been done before. Yeah, well so have birth, divorce, widowhood, love, marriage. Does that mean we have no further interest in those subjects? NO! What makes women's fiction compelling is another look at universal experience. If well done, and "Another Life" is very well done, we feel emotionally involved and have a catharsis. I don't know how a person with no sad/painful/disappointing/joyful life experiences reacts to such a story. I've had all those highs and lows. I was once as desperate for a job as Mary Beth was. I went through awful times with teenage daughters as Mary Beth does. I know what it's like to have a daughter blame Mom for a marriage failure because in her fantasy world Dad is the greatest. These things happen all around us. The advantage to seeing it in "Another Life" is Ann Roth gives us the relief of a happy ending.

The only fault I find with the book is that no way on earth could an ATTORNEY pull off a double life that his partners didn't know about. They have to bill somebody for every hour they work and everyone in the firm knows about it. The firm gets the check. If one partner was pretending to be on business in Singapore, the firm would be onto the scam in about two weeks.
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on April 7, 2007
In San Francisco, Mary Beth Mason is stunned when her beloved spouse of two decades Stephen dies from a heart attack. She initially grieves her loss and worries about their daughter. However, she soon wonders if she knew her husband as she finds herself in major debt instead of the affluence she thought would continue even with her husband's death as he made a bundle as a high priced elite attorney.

On the other side of the state Caroline Mason grieves the death of her beloved husband Stephen, a high priced attorney who traveled all over California and worries about the impact on their daughter. She is shocked to find mountains of debt instead of the affluence she expected.

When Caroline and Mary Beth meet they forge a deal once each overcomes the shock that their beloved Stephen was a bigamist. Instead of outrage at one another, the two widows help one another and their offspring as a bond forms between the four female survivors left behind by Stephen.

This is an interesting family drama starring a solid cast stunned by whet they have learned about the man each adulated. A late romance seems unnecessary and the adjustments made by the widows and their daughters seems a bit to easy considering how deep the betrayal must be as Stephen was a hero to the four women, but his legacy proved false. Still Ann Roth provides an intriguing look at moving on while grieving more than just the loss of a loved one.

Harriet Klausner
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on February 8, 2008
Mary Beth Mason has spentthe past twenty years living the life her
husband Stephen has set out for her. His friends are their friends and
all activities are chosen by him. Their daughter, Aurora, goes to the
very best schools with his friends' children. Very little in Mary
Beth's life swerves from the path set out by Stephen. Stephen has
promised to always take care of her.

One day Mary Beth gets a phone call that changes her life forever.
Stephen has had a massive coronary. Instead of being taken care of,
Mary Beth finds out that all Stephen has left her is a mountain of
debt, a house mortgaged to the hilt, and his other family. The other
wife and daughter he forgot to mention over the years.

Another Life is a compelling look at a woman's ability to find the
strength she never realized she had when everything she `knows' is
taken away from her. Ann Roth has written a novel to make a woman
think about what she truly knows about her life. The reader
reevaluates what they know about themselves, their finances, and their
relationships. Mary Beth's journey of discovery may start out with
Stephen's death but as her journey develops, the story revolves around
Mary Beth's hidden strengths. Not forgotten are Stephen's other wife
and two daughters whose lives are also suddenly thrown into an uproar
as his web of lies unfurls. Another Life is a novel that keeps the
reader's attention from beginning to end.

Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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on April 6, 2007
Roth's timeworn situation for Mary Beth and Caroline Manson, who discover while at a hospital in Seattle that they are both married to the same man, has been recycled for decades in books and film. Even a recent 2007 episode of Without a Trace, tracked a bigamist.

Usually the embittered wives are so well constructed that you can palatably feel their angst. Not so in Roth's book, where you can't feel any sympathy for her characters because you never really get to know them.

Within the first chapter Manson is dead and the two wives are left aghast, and we don't learn much more than that they both have money problems. Mary Beth, the wife who has been married to Manson the longest, is a droll, frumpy woman, by her own admission, and frustrated with her 14-year-old's behavior. She followed her controlling husband's orders by leaving college without a degree and never held a job. She is left afloat, having to sell her house and personal belongings to pay off Manson's the debt.

Caroline, on the other hand, with her seven-year-old daughter, runs a moderately successful graphic design business and refuses to sell neither her home or lakeside property as she feels she deserves them both. Yet the two women form a tenuous relationship with a denouement that has Mary Beth leaving San Francisco and moving with her daughter to Caroline's mansion in Seattle.

Descriptive information is fleeting and the characters are one-dimensional. A fast, quick read that leaves you wondering how the women could be so gullible. Both believe their husband travels two weeks out of every month for his work as an attorney, but neither really checks in on him or knows his whereabouts. Even though they've both been duped, they don't wallow for long and their anger dissipates so quickly you wonder if they loved him at all.

If you like a piquant yet saccharine story that leaves you with numerous questions, then muddle through it.

Armchair Interviews says: It's a quick read. Otherwise not recommended.
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