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Best Intentions: A Novel Paperback – April 20, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; 1 Reprint edition (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141657672X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416576723
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,459,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Financial troubles and more test the marriage of a downtown Manhattan career mom and her business journalist husband in this writerly page-turner from Listfield (Waiting to Surface). Sam and Lisa Barkley, who were college sweethearts, can just afford to send their two daughters to an Upper East Side private girls' school, though Lisa, whose family struggled into the middle class, wonders if a public school gifted program would've been a better choice. Meanwhile, Sam's late-night phone calls and odd absences from his office lead her to accuse him of having an affair. Lisa confides her fears to her best friend from college, Deirdre Cushing, whose mysterious death heightens the tension and mistrust between Lisa and Sam. While the author's penchant for punch lines and cliffhangers can come across as a stylistic tic, deft pacing keeps the action moving and the reader guessing. Listfield ensures no character is above suspicion, and in the end, no one is without blame. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Best Intentions examines with wit and seriousness what can happen when old passions and new lives collide." -- Real Simple

"A writerly page-turner... deft pacing keeps the action moving and the reader guessing. Listfield ensures no character is above suspicion, and in the end, no one is without blame." -- Publishers Weekly

"In Best Intentions, past indiscretions give way to fresh deception with devastating consequences." -- Parade

"In this gripping page-turner, Lisa suspects that her husband is having an affair with her friend Deirdre. Her hurt turns to shock when Deirdre turns up dead, entangling Lisa in a mystery with no alibi and no one to trust." -- All You --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

I was not really happy with the ending.
ThisThatNEverything
Her writing is crisp, the story well plotted and the characters fine drawn.
Barbara Whittington
Everything seemed to work out a little too neatly, in my opinion.
E.B. Bristol

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer VINE VOICE on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Story Overview
On the surface, Lisa Barkley seems to have it all -- a husband who was her college sweetheart, two lovely daughters, a high-powered PR job, a residence in Manhattan, and a best friend she's had since college. But Lisa's life isn't as perfect as it may seem on the outside.

* She is beginning to suspect her husband Sam might be having an affair -- and the distance that has been growing between them seems insurmountable. In addition, she is startled to find herself feeling attracted to another man.

* Her daughters are pulling away from her -- seemingly embarrassed to be seen with her.

* Her job hangs in the balance when her company is sold to another PR firm -- and the new vice president seems hell bent on making Lisa's life miserable.

* The financial pressures of living in Manhattan and sending her daughters to an expensive private school are taking a toll on the Barkley finances -- but neither Sam or Lisa can talk together about the financial pressures they face.

* Her best friend Deirdre is in a volatile relationship with Ben -- a dashing photographer who won't commit to her and sometimes leaves her with bruises.

When Jack -- an old college friend of Lisa, Sam and Deirdre -- comes to town for a reunion dinner, it seems like things in Lisa's life start to unravel all at the same time -- Sam's distance, job pressures, financial pressures, pressures to fit in at her daughters' school, and Deirdre's toying with both Jack and Ben. Just when it seems like things can't get any worse, it does -- Deirdre is found murdered in her apartment and no one (including Lisa) has an alibi.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Mulhern VINE VOICE on June 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I picked out this book based solely on the product description. I was not really sure what to expect but "Best Intentions" definitely far exceeded my expectations. It was a fun book, in the sense that I enjoyed the gossipy look into the private school, New York lifestyle of privilege but it was also a subtle mystery. It was not a true thriller in the sense that the "heroine" was never in danger, but there were definitely mysteries surrounding her husband, work and best friend. I liked how the book did not fit into any one category. I also enjoyed the ending; satisfying without being too pat. It was realistic I think. I'm looking forward to reading more of this author's books.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lisa Barkley and her husband have what they need to stay afloat in the ultra-competitive Manhattan world they inhabit. They may not have a cash cushion, but they can pay the tuition for their daughters to attend an exclusive Upper East Side private school (even though the other mothers make Lisa feel like she doesn't belong in their world of casual chic; she muses that they seem to have been born wearing ballerina flats.) But approaching their 40th birthdays, a lingering unease or discontent is beginning to weigh on both of them in different ways. Sam is struggling to break stories, competing with younger (and cheaper) journalists; Lisa must deal with obstreperous PR clients and the sale of the agency that she works for to a much bigger firm.

It turns out, however, that these concerns take a back seat to more dramatic events that flow out of a reunion dinner between Lisa, Sam, her oldest friend,Deirdre, and Deirdre's college boyfriend Jack. Jack, it seems, has never recovered from his early love for Deirdre; she, meanwhile, is grappling with her reluctance to have what she views as a temporary state of singledom become a permanent, irrevocable condition of being single, which she fears will happen after she turns 40. The hopes and fears of all four of the college friends will collide and long-buried secrets are disinterred, with horrifying consequences.

Emily Listfield has a real knack for portraying the fast-paced world of New York from the perspective of someone who isn't a part of the smart set. From social-climbing mothers on the charity gala circuit to hedge fund managers worried about her reputation, she nails the characters she portrays. And her writing is downright elegant, with marvelous turns of phrase that are so pithy they make you smile.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laurel-Rain Snow TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Into a world of privilege that includes private schools, high-level careers, and upward mobility, the seeds of doubt are planted and lie fallow, waiting for the opportunity to blossom and spread like a malignant disease.

At first, Lisa Barkley begins to feel the doubts about her career, which seems to be hitting a wall - an outside company has purchased the public relations firm where she works - and the expenses that barely allow them to keep afloat seem to be growing rapidly. And Sam, her loving husband, seems remote. Secrets crop up, nurturing those seeds of doubt, until finally everything escalates into a terrifying morass of fear, dread and panic.

Best friend Deirdre, always so reliable, now seems unpredictable. An old lover from Deirdre's past joins the troops, reminding them all of their carefree college days, but his presence only complicates the situation.

Outsiders inflict their own worrisome thoughts into the mix - one David Forrester is there to offer support, but also to fan the doubt flames - and soon Lisa doesn't know who to trust or what to believe.

Then, finally, a tragic death brings everything to a crashing climax, escalating the doubts to suspicion, mistrust, and fear.

Will all of their worlds crash and burn? Can anything be salvaged, and if so, what will fall into place after the final resolution of who did what, with whom, and why?

A fascinating portrayal of a privileged world that lends credence to the warning to "be careful what you wish for," Emily Listfield's Best Intentions: A Novel delivers all that it promises. The author carefully reveals the multi-layered social universe that, on the surface, appears untouchable and successfully drives home the point that none of us are exempt from life's tribulations.

Laurel-Rain Snow
Author of: Web of Tyranny, etc.
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