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Best Intentions: A Novel Hardcover – August 15, 2017
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“Marti Trailor is smart, funny, wonderfully self-effacing, and brave. She’s the mother every woman wishes she could be. And, somehow, she’s being tried for murder… Best Intentions is a glorious, well written page turner!”―Martha Woodroof, author of Small Blessings
“Erika Raskin’s razor-sharp, deeply moving novel of domestic suspense, shifting back and forth in time and featuring fully realized, flesh-and-blood characters, kept me guessing right up to the last chapter.” ―A.J. Banner, international bestselling author of The Good Neighbor
“A story about race, privilege, and one woman’s determination to protect those who can’t protect themselves, even at the risk of losing everything she most loves. Erika Raskin kept me guessing and entranced until the very end.”―Carla Buckley, author of The Deepest Secret
"Raskin’s new novel confronts its relatable heroine with an impossible dilemma, then turns up the heat as she fights for everything she holds dear. For a novel juicy enough to keep you up well past your bedtime, Best Intentions cleaves admirably to its strong social conscience."―Sophie Littlefield, author of A Bad Day for Sorry
About the Author
ERIKA RASKIN is a writer from Charlottesville, Virginia. A mother and (young) grandmother, she’s married to a doctor. Her first novel, Close, came out in 2014.
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Marti is the loving mother of three children. She gave up her career as a social worker to stay home with them, but toys with the idea of returning to the workforce as her youngest child starts kindergarten. Her husband is an overworked doctor, and their relationship is very clearly suffering from his long hours away from home. He is for some reason less than thrilled when Marti is offered a job at the very same hospital he works at, but she takes it anyway. She'll be supporting young women in different capacities as they prepare to become mothers. She counsels these young ladies on decisions, helps them to find places to live with the baby if necessary, points them in the right direction to get help they desperately need, and simply supports them in general. She is a very empathetic person, extremely devoted to her work.
We're filled in on Marti's job and home life with great detail. Her kids are entertaining and interesting in their own rights, each with their own distinctive little personality. This is interspersed with a different timeline, and this one is jarring: Marti is in trouble of the legal variety. Huge trouble, the kind where she's vilified and reporters are camped out in front of her place. Either she's done something dreadfully wrong or she's in danger of spending a long time in prison as punishment for something she didn't do. We don't find out exactly what she's accused of until after the book is half over.
Family drama, relationship trouble, legal issues, and hospital politics all blend together in this whopper of a book. I didn't know which way was up sometimes, but I enjoyed the ride. I had some quibbles with the ending and would have liked the different timelines to be labeled, but I'd very much recommend giving this book a shot.
I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and St. Martin's Press, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
In "Best Intentions," by Erika Raskin, the author demonstrates how formerly sound relationships can fray over time. Elliot and Marti were once happy together and Elliot had been a devoted dad. Unfortunately, things change, and it takes a while for Marti to realize that Elliot may have moved on without her noticing. Raskin goes back and forth between past and present. We know that Marti is in serious legal trouble, but the author withholds the details until she is prepared to reveal what has happened. Fortunately, Marti's close friend, the funny and compassionate Colby, is a source of emotional support throughout Marti's horrible ordeal.
In this legal, medical, and psychological drama, certain men and women make foolish choices that harm innocent people. Furthermore, Raskin explores the plight of single and impoverished females who do not have the emotional or financial resources to deal with impending parenthood; the old boys' and girls' network that protects physicians who make serious medical errors; and the venality of doctors who enter into cozy arrangements with pharmaceutical companies. The book's dialogue and action are briskly paced, and readers will sympathize with the beleaguered Marti as she tries to salvage her reputation. There are clichés that prevent this from being a top-notch novel (for example, Elliot's mom is the stereotypical mother-in-law from hell), but Raskin entertains us with her tale of a good-hearted individual who fights for vindication under tragic circumstances.
When Marti is accused of a horrific crime, I was a little confused. It was introduced in the ARC (I know this may change in the edited version) suddenly and out of nowhere. It kind of through me off to begin with, but after rereading that part, I realized that I didn't miss anything. It was just thrown in. I only add this to my review because it slowed me down in my reading. Other than that, I flew through this book. After the arrest of Marti, I felt so sorry for her and angry, angry, angry.
I love it when authors get my emotions in an uproar and mine were certainly riled while reading this book. I guessed the husband's secret very early in the book and that also flicked on an emotion switch for me. Yay!!
An excellent read with great characters, character development and writing.
Thanks to St. Martins Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.