Friday, June 17, 2011

Releasing Gillian’s Wolves

Author: Tara Woolpy
ISBN: 098320330X
Publisher: Bats in the Boat House Press
Available August 01, 2011

Reviewer: Angie Holtz

Thirty years ago Gillian married Jack Sach, now a United States Congressman. Through the years she’s remained faithful. He hasn’t. Ever. She cooks to soothe herself and others, cares for her mother-in-law and her gardens, sneaks off to the studio to explode with angry paintings and tries to keep Jack’s dalliances secret. As she nears fifty, her friends think she should leave but she lingers, bound by inertia and fear of the effect media coverage of a divorce would have on her family. Gillian shares a trust fund with Edward, her gay neighbor and best friend. Over the years, in support of Gillian’s marriage, the trust bankrolled Jack’s many successful campaigns. Not particularly interested in politics, Gillian survives by ignoring everything outside her kitchen, garden and studio. Edward has his own ragged past filled with bad relationships, drugs and alcohol. Through the course of a summer, Gillian’s marriage continues to deteriorate while Edward’s life finally starts to improve. He’s sober, stable and has found life-changing love with Sam, a Biology professor at the local university. Their happiness shines a stark light on Gillian’s loveless marriage. Finally, when Gillian meets Jack’s latest conquest, twenty-year-old Ashley, she’s forced to confront the rot at the core of her relationship. She travels to Amsterdam where she meets the intriguing sculptor Luke. Perhaps it is not too late for happiness.

The title is interesting, I do love Wolves. You don't find out the meaning until the very end, which is actually very interesting. It was always in my mind, what on earth is it about releasing her wolves??? And when you figure it out, it's all ok.

The cover-art is very pretty and serene, a boathouse on a lake in the fall. So colorful, and with the leaves being in high color it signifies the heavy change that is coming.

The story is written from Gillian's perspective, but in the 3rd person. This is an easy writing style to read, you don't get to follow the other characters as much but it keeps the story on track, as it really is Gillian's story.

That being said, it doesn't lack for characters - and interesting ones as well. Gillian is a very loving person. She has her neighbor Edward, who is like a brother to her. They have been in each other’s lives nearly forever. Their grandfathers built their houses and they both live off a combined trust fund from those grandfathers. Her husband, Jack, also the sleaze of the story is a US Senator and plays his part well. They have 2 children, John and Aurora. Then add Sam, Edwards newest lover and obvious soul-mate and Maggie, Gillian's BFF. They all have their own problems and history but she loves them unconditionally and loves to take care of them...mostly with food.

There is a lot of cooking in this book, no matter where it is taking place. The first part of the book is at the Lake house next door to Edward. When she finally gets fed up with her lying and cheating husband, she moves to the cabin by the lake. I was distracted that she let Jack keep the house, but it wasn't permanent. After the election she goes to Amsterdam to visit Edward and Sam. Edward and Gillian feel they have found home. Still unsure about divorce, Jack forces her hand by getting caught in a bribery scandal. Her friend Maggie offers tenants to rend out the house - obviously Jack isn't keeping it and Gillian wants to go to her new home.

I was disappointed that after all the discussion about how she had never been alone in her entire life, she still didn't find anything more than a few days alone. I would be happy to see her get her own place, but that doesn't seem likely. I guess at least it is on her own terms.

That being said this novel was captivating. I was so tired last night and I still couldn't put it down until I finished it. With 2 young boys, reading a book in a couple of days is a very, very good story. I've read the same from other people. Fast pace, I didn't think it slowed down at all. I really loved it.

Angie of Lilac Wolf and Stuff
*A big Thank You to Tara Woolpy for signing my advanced copy*


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