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The Life You've Imagined: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Kristina Riggle
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
Kindle Price: $10.39
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
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Book Description

“A richly woven story laced with unforgettable characters….A beautiful book.”
—Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy

The Life You’ve Imagined is a terrific novel about love and loss, letting go and holding on. A book to share with family and friends—I loved it.”
—Melissa Senate, author of The Secret of Joy


From Kristina Riggle, author of the brilliant debut Real Life & Liars, comes The Life You’ve Imagined, an astonishing new novel about love, loss, life, and hope. It’s the story of four former high school friends who are forced to examine what happened to their high school dreams which are now at odds with their grown-up reality.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Two childhood friends reunite when stressful circumstances bring them back to their hometown. Anna, distraught over the loss of a beloved mentor, takes a leave of absence from her law firm and returns to her mother, Maeve, and their family convenience store. Cami deals with a gambling addiction and breakup by hiding out at her father’s home. Sadly, coming home doesn’t bring them the solace they seek. Maeve’s store is being threatened by an upscale development. Anna is nursing lingering feelings for the high-school sweetheart she left, who now has a wife and family. Cami still mourns her mother’s long-ago death and resents her alcoholic father’s emotional withdrawal. Riggle, author of Real Life and Liars (2009), explores what happens when real life diverges sharply from childhood dreams. Her strong and complicated female characters are interesting and likable, and she ably weaves together multiple story lines. --Aleksandra Walker


Riggle, author of Real Life and Liars (2009), explores what happens when real life diverges sharply from childhood dreams. Her strong and complicated female characters are interesting and likable, and she ably weaves together multiple story lines.

Product Details

  • File Size: 723 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061706299
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (August 17, 2010)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P2VNYM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,354 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is It What You Wanted? August 30, 2010
I'm pretty sure that for most of us, there are certain things in our life we wish we could go back and change. I'm sure that there are times when we wish our lives had turned out a different way. I can bet that many of us, when we were younger, did not see us living the way we are now. This book explores those thoughts as two friends return to their hometown, reunite with an old classmate and see how their lives could have been and how they are now.

Ever since I've had to deal with experiences in my own life with an alcoholic/addict, I find myself now feeling empathy for characters who experience the same thing. Therefore reading about Cami's struggles with her alcoholic father was heartbreaking and painful to read. It's so sad to see how the addiction takes control over a person's life and turns them into a monster who wants to do nothing but inflict pain. Ironically, Cami herself suffers from a gambling addiction but I didn't feel as if there was much to that part of her story. Still, I felt drawn to reading her sections the most because I could relate to her, and my heart broke for her.

Anna and her mother both share their stories. Anna is reconnecting with her high school boyfriend who also happens to still be married. Meanwhile her mother has been corresponding secretly with her former husband, who walked on her and Anna years ago. The two are hiding the secrets from each other as they both live the life they thought they should have lived all these years. I was actually a bit surprised to read about Amy's story in this book. She's not mentioned at all on the back cover description so I was rather taken aback when she suddenly appeared in the story. Still I found her sections to be quite interesting as she's a former "fat girl" adjusting to her new life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars engaging character study August 20, 2010
Still sarcastic Cami Drayton has come home to Haven though she prefers not to return to the house she hates where her alcoholic father resides and the man she loves Steve is distant. She must deal with an ugly family secret if she is to move on with her life.

Unlike the next generation including her daughter the hotshot Chicago lawyer, Maeve always has lived in Haven, but not because she cherishes the town. Instead she remains in the family home hoping that her husband will return to her; though he abandoned her and the family years ago.

Maeve's daughter and Cami's best friend at Haven High School, Chicago attorney Anna Geneva grieves the death of a dear friend and mentor August Canfield, but fails to cope with her loss. Needing the comfort of family and friends, Anna returns to Haven.

Finally Haven native Amy Rickart figuratively kills herself to be perfect. She has found her perfect match she believes in Paul Becker, but has doubts she is perfect enough as her childhood still haunts her with how imperfect she was and mentally assumes still is.

Rotating first person perspective though at times it is difficult to separate the voices of who leads a chapter, this is a well written and engaging character study as each woman looks back and wonders what if they made a different choice at a pivotal moment. Obviously character driven, the lives intertwine as the women must confront new decision-making life choice.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go confidently... September 6, 2010
By Shon
Are you living the life you've imagined? In Kristina Riggle's second novel, four women ask themselves this very question. Anna is a lawyer living in Chicago. She left her small hometown of Haven as quickly as she could without looking back. She's made a new life for herself, a life she is proud of. She's worked hard and is up for Partner at her law firm. All this changes when her mentor and close friend, August, dies. Much to her chagrin she's asked to take bereavement leave to cope with her grief. For all intent and purposes, her time home was only supposed to be for a little while. Funny how life can detour your plans.

Cami has also returned home. She and Anna are high school friends. The two woman part ways shortly after graduation. Cami is a tutor and recently broke up with her boyfriend. She has no place to go after he learns of her gambling addiction. Her father is an abusive alcoholic and doesn't care much for Cami's return home. He allows it with a condition: she must never go into his bedroom. Naturally this causes Cami to wonder what is it he is hiding from her.

Maeve is Anna's mother. She owns the Nee Nance store and resides in the apartment above the store. She was once married to Robert, Anna's father, and he left them when Anna was a little girl. Now, Robert is back in her life and wants a second chance. Maeve is hesitant at first, but eventually her love for Robert gets the best of her and she begins answering his letters. Fate may be kind to her this time as his plans to start over come when Maeve's lease for the store is up. Maybe she won't have to spend the rest of her life alone.

Amy is marrying into one of Haven's wealthiest families. Amy feels very lucky to have met Paul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits home! February 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The stories and feelings described in these characters mirrored my and many if not all of my friends, male and female, as we have marched on. We seem to hold our dreams in front of us yet the evidence of our experiences should help us let go; it really hit home. Good read and hard to put down highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
The small town of Haven, in Michigan, is the kind of place some want to leave and never revisit. For Anna Geneva, an attorney in Chicago, coming home after the loss of a dear... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Laurel-Rain Snow
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read!!!
To be honest, I liked the cover of this book and that is the only reason I bought it. I was pleasantly surprised. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Heather Sims
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
i'm enjoying this book. i look forward to reading real life and liars
Published 10 months ago by jacquelyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Going Home
A well written story of small town life, and old time love. It is a book I believe young women would enjoy and perhaps benefit from, being older it was as if I had already lived it... Read more
Published 12 months ago by esldonna
1.0 out of 5 stars No surprises
This was our book club choice last month and although I finished it, I would not recommend it. You follow 4 different character story, but none of the stories are that exciting... Read more
Published 13 months ago by jackie
3.0 out of 5 stars Did not relate to what I thought the blurb indicated.
I thoughts that it was going to be more of "you can't go home again" feel. That was my feeling from the blurb about the book.
Published 20 months ago by Linda Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars new author
I tried this author with one of her books and then ordered everything else that she has written because I really enjoyed her style. Read more
Published on January 3, 2013 by mary lou
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read
I rarely don't finish a book, but I was sorely tempted to put this one down and forget about it. I liked the premise, but it just did not live up to expectations. Read more
Published on June 22, 2011 by H. Hodus
3.0 out of 5 stars like the book but..
I liked this book but felt that there was no resolution to so many of the situations. What did Cami ever tell Trent about the people in the picture? Where did her dad go? Read more
Published on March 20, 2011 by LAD
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Women's Fiction
Four women in Haven, Michigan find that life in a small town, whether they've just returned or have never left, can be just as tumultuous and disappointing, as it's ever been. Read more
Published on March 9, 2011 by Coffee
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More About the Author

Kristina Riggle lives and writes in West Michigan. Her debut novel, Real Life & Liars, was praised by Publishers Weekly for its "humorous and humane storytelling" and by Booklist as "a moving and accomplished first novel." The book was a Target "Breakout" pick and a "Great Lakes, Great Reads" selection by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association. The Life You've Imagined was honored as an "IndieNext Notable" book by independent booksellers.

Her latest novel, Keepsake, is about a hoarder and her estranged sister reluctantly united to clean out the hoarded home to keep Child Protective Services at bay, and much more than junk is uncovered.

Kristina has published short stories in the Cimarron Review, Literary Mama, Espresso Fiction, and elsewhere. She is also a freelance journalist writing primarily for The Grand Rapids Press, and co-editor for fiction at Literary Mama. Kristina was a full-time newspaper reporter for seven years before turning her attention to creative writing and freelancing. As well as writing, she enjoys reading, yoga, dabbling in (very) amateur musical theatre, and spending lots of time with her husband, two kids and dog.

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