Best Intentions Emily Listfield 338 pages; published 2009
The relief we had at finding each other, reclaiming each other again after that early separation, the night I told Sam I was pregnant with Claire, and two years later with Phoebe, those times of course. But it is the smaller, incremental moments that return to me, the instances when recognition and desire take you by surprise, the evening we made love on the kitchen floor after a dinner party if only to put off cleaning up, our first parent/teacher conference, when the nursery school director spent forty minutes deconstructing the way Claire held scissors and our suppressed laughter burst out in torrents on the street until tears were streaming down both of our faces. We were on the same side once, completely on the same side, I'm sure of it. (245)
I’m not a big reader of mysteries, who when Atria books asked if I would be interested in reviewing a copy of Emily Listfield’s new book, Best Intentions, I was a little unsure. I needn’t have worried, however, as it was nothing like I expected; a beautiful read that was over far too quick for my liking!
Lisa lives in the upper suburbs of Manhattan. She’s the Vice President of a small but well respected PR company, her husband is a well-known journalist, her daughter’s attend a very prestigious school and her long time best friend owns a chic up-and-coming boutique. She would seem to have it made.
But Lisa is never quite comfortable in this flashy world, she never feels like she truly fits. It’s not the life she imagined for herself when she, husband Sam, girlfriend Deirdre and friend Jack were in college. So when this world that she works so hard to stay afloat in starts to crumble around her, Lisa is left with nothing to cling to. Everything she holds to be true is fading away a little more each day. Her career, and worse, her marriage is in shambles, her best friend is dead and she has to face the very real possibility that someone she knows and loves may be responsible.
Emily Listfield’s murder mystery is not your typical whodunit (and nope, I was way off course with who I thought did it), and I loved it all the more because of this. More than anything is this was the story of Lisa, and her struggle to find some balance in her constantly shifting worlds of work, love, and life.
The true pleasures of the book surface in all the in-betweens, in all the tiny details of the minor passages. Listfield paints scenes of home life with a brush of true beauty. A father eating breakfast with his daughters, a child’s messy room, an awkward teenager’s interactions with her mother – both bitter rival and most trusted confidante at the same time – these were the moments that made the book truly memorable.
I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoys character driven mysteries or family dramas. 4.5/5