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Perfectly Undone: A Novel Paperback – October 3, 2017
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"An engrossing Portland-based puzzle about family secrets, the delicate nature of relationships, and the haunting guilt a woman feels over her sister's death, this is the most sensational, emotionally raw, and satisfying debut of the fall." -Redbook Magazine (20 Books by Women You Have to Read This Fall)
"Debuting author Raintree has crafted a novel packed with rich, lyrical language, heartbreaking secrets, and enticing characters, a family drama appealing to lovers of women's fiction." -Booklist
"A touching story of resilience, hope and, above all, forgiveness. It's one woman's journey back to the origin of her passions, the haunting events that shaped her dreams and the people who left the most indelible marks on her heart." -Marilyn Brant, New York Times bestselling author
"Many women have walked the line between career and love, family and self. Raintree handles the balance with grace and wisdom. Her writing is clear and crisp, the emotion raw and without melodrama. From family secrets to heartbreaking lost love, the characters felt like old friends by the end. Highly recommended." -Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author
"Smoothly written with palpable emotion, Jamie Raintree's debut, Perfectly Undone, is a thought-provoking tale where one woman must come to terms with the secrets, expectations, and choices that will shape her life. Raintree is a fresh new voice not to be missed." –Laura Spinella, bestselling author of Ghosts Gifts and Unstrung
"In her debut novel, Jamie Raintree renders a touching family drama that reminds us of the simultaneous fragility and strength of relationships. With a kind touch, Raintree taps into our deepest fears, yet in the end left me full of hope." -Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives and The Good Neighbor
"One lush word at a time, Jamie Raintree draws us deep inside the protections of a broken heart, giving fresh perspective to the thin lines between caring and nurturing, ambition and distraction, the flash of desire and the permanence of love. These characters will live on within me. A must-read." -Kathryn Craft, author of The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy
"Perfectly Undone is a wise and thoughtful novel about the ways the people who love us can hurt us, and the journey to forgiveness both for others and for ourselves." -Bethany Chase, bestselling author of Results May Vary and The One That Got Away
"At once a cautionary tale about the ways in which we try to hide from grief, and a love story about family and the healing power of forgiveness, Perfectly Undone is an emotionally complex tale of unresolved grief and the secrets we keep, both from those who love us and from ourselves." -Lorrie Thomson, author of What's Left Behind and Equilibrium
About the Author
Jamie Raintree is voracious student of life, which is why she became a writer, where she could put all that acquired information to good use. She is a mother of two, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. She also teaches writers about business and productivity. Since the setting is always an important part of her books, she is happy to call the Rocky Mountains of Northern Colorado her home and inspiration. www.JamieRaintree.com
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I was absolutely gripped from the get-go. Although this wasn't a thriller, Daryl's life is pretty intense. We get glimpses into her family, her patients, and her personal history of relationships with Cooper and her family that set the stage for her current state. Daryl was a three-dimensional character, and she felt a little like all of us- trying to have it all, striving for unattainable perfection, carrying around guilt and judgments. The people around her are equally as flawed. We see mistakes from Cooper (who often seems too perfect to be human), his sister/her husband, and Dylan's parents. The way that they all evolve throughout the book is fascinating. The author really invites us into their lives and gives the perfect amount of context and events to allow us to become really emotionally invested in every character's story. It was nearly impossible to put this book down once I started reading, and I was absolutely enthralled the whole way through.
One of the most interesting albeit least developed characters was the gardener/landscape architect, Reese. The garden and landscape architect served as a focal point for much of Dylan's thinking and revelations. It really sets the stage for a lot of deeper meaning and thinking. I found his role to be incredibly intriguing and really like the way he was left mostly to the imagination and did not fill much beyond his purpose in terms of Dylan's development. It was a really interesting way to create him and I found it portrayed his role perfectly. The writing style was absolutely amazing and the book was put together so well, I felt I understood Dylan on a very deep level, and I was incredibly emotionally invested in her story.
Notably, this book wasn't a light, beachy read, as it deals with some very intense themes, including infidelity, unexpected death, secrets, and ultimately forgiveness and love. However, I absolutely enjoyed the book and felt that the ending resolutions were perfect even if not always perfectly happy. Overall, this was a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys women's fiction, stories of redemption, and second chances.
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Review copy provided for a voluntary review.
OB/GYN Dr. Dylan Michels is an initially unlikeable character that is difficult to relate to. She is so defined by her self-perceived role in her sister’s death fifteen years earlier that this one event overshadows everything in her life. Dylan is so busy look back and ahead that she has completely lost sight of what is happening in the present. Despite her nine year relationship with live-in-boyfriend, pediatrician Cooper Caldwell, she is emotionally closed off and unable to tell him about why she is so haunted by her sister’s death. Dylan is so self-involved that instead of being happy about Cooper’s good news that she instead dwells on what this means for her future instead of celebrating his good fortune. Things come to head when Cooper proposes and Dylan’s reaction is not at all what he expects.
Dylan becomes a much more sympathetic character in the wake of a stunning confession from Cooper. With surprising insight from her crush-worthy landscape architect, Reese, Dylan begins taking a long overdue stock of herself, her goals and her past. Relying her beloved father for support, her world is rocked in the aftermath of shocking family revelations. When she no longer feels she can rely on her dad, can Dylan accept her mother’s attempts to fix their long-strained relationship? What impact will all of these events have on her plans for her future? Will all of Dylan’s self-reflection about both recent and long ago events occur too late to mend her tattered relationship with Cooper?
Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree is an emotional journey of healing and self forgiveness. Despite not being a particularly appealing character early in the novel, once Dylan is forced to take a hard look at her choices, she becomes much more relatable and endearing. Cooper is initially a candidate for sainthood for his patience and understanding with Dylan but he eventually proves to be all too human in the aftermath of his ill-received proposal. Reese is an adorable addition to the cast and his unflappable calm and insightful observations easily make him the most likable character in the novel. Dylan’s transformation is sometimes excruciatingly painful to endure, but the growth of her character is a sweet payoff for all of the frustration she causes. A thought-provoking read that fans of the genre will find worth tackling.
I received a complimentary copy for review.
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