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Releasing Gillian's Wolves

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    When you┬┐ve reached your breaking point in life you have a few c

    When you’ve reached your breaking point in life you have a few choices. You can keep moving forward and hope it gets better or you make a change. After more than twenty years of marriage to Jack, an unfaithful congressman, Gillian is finally ready to move on. Although Gillian has known for quite some time that Jack has been around the block with a number of women, she had always looked past his indiscretions. Her drive to protect her children and Jack’s career allowed her to forgive and forget. Unfortunately for Jack, this affair was the tipping point for Gillian. Gillian finally decided it’s her time to be happy and no longer bogged down with the role and responsibility that comes with being a politician’s wife. Filled with newfound freedom, Gillian takes valiant steps to reconnect with past passions, mend relationships with her children and embrace life for all it’s worth.

    Releasing Gillian’s Wolves is a touching story of how one woman reclaimed her life. The book starts by painting a normal day in the life of Gillian. Her routine of tending to her much loved garden, cooking for campaign volunteers and taking care of her mother-in-law, shows us that Gillian has a good heart. Even after discovering her husband’s latest affair, she attempts to take the high road and support him and his platform. Her noble efforts lets us see that even though she is ready for a new life, she may not be truly prepared to cut all ties to Jack. Gillian continues to struggle with claiming her independence throughout the story, which is something I think many readers can relate to (even if their husbands aren’t cheating on them). Author, Tara Woolpy does a beautiful job of showing us Gillian’s passion for food (as a warning this book could make you hungry) and art. Her zeal for these two things is continually brought out in each part of the book as Gillian learns to be her own person.

    Overall, Releasing Gillian’s Wolves is a lovely story that provides hope and inspiration for women who may find themselves in a similar situation. My one issue with the story is the occasional use of excessive details. There were multiple scenes that described the prepping and setting of the dinner table. While I understand that these were meant to show Gillian’s affection for food and family, at times I felt like these descriptions slowed the pace of the story.

    Please, don’t let my nit-picking deter you from giving this book a try. Watching Gillian rediscover herself and trying new experiences made for pleasurable read. (This book was provided to Compulsion Reads by the author for review.)

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  • Posted August 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Honest human look,

    at a marriage in the political spotlight. Gillian is the wife of the consummate politician - Jack. She is a devoted wife, mother, and supporter of Jack's political career. I immediately thought of the ideal 50s housewife, always there to cook, clean and entertain. I also never understood why politician's wives stayed with their husbands after they cheated. This story changed the way I look at that situation. The author handles the relationships with humanity and compassion for all and I love it when Gillian decides - it is time.

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  • Posted July 22, 2011

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    I Also Recommend:


    Gillian has been been married to Jack Sach for thirty years. Throughout most of those years Jack has been a politician, currently he is a United States Congressman representing the great state of Wisconsin. Gillian has always been the faithful, dutiful wife. Hosting parties and fundraisers, takes care of her mother-in-law, was the parent at home for their two children until they were grown. Jack, of course travels a lot due to his job, but he has never been faithful. More affairs than Gillian can count, but she always turned a blind eye, to spare her family the public spotlight and humiliation that would occur if the affairs would be made public.

    Gillian's grandfather was a very astute business man and he and his partner left their children very well off, they have a trust fund worth millions and 2 beautiful homes and property on a Northern Wisconsin lake. Edward and Gillian grew up together almost like brother and sister and they are each other's rock. Edward is openly gay, a successful photographer and in a new relationship, but has a past full of addiction and bad relationships. Gillian has ways to escape from her everyday pain. She loves to cook and garden and is a painter, she can let her despair, sadness and aggression bleed out on her canvas, but leans heavily on Edward.

    Edward's life is hitting a great path and Gillian's is about to spiral out of control. She will need him now more than ever. She is starting to worry that she will never be happy and continues to worry about the effects her actions will not only have on her, but her children, her friends and even her mother-in-law.

    I LOVED IT!!!!!

    Gillian has a heart so big and a man in her life to stupid to appreciate it. He is a man that thinks he can do no wrong and rules, vows and laws don't apply to him.

    Tara Woolpy has given us characters to fall in love with and one big character to hate. I loved it!!!!! When I started reading this book I thought it was going to be like one of my favorite television shows, The Good Wife, but Gillian blew that assumption away within the first chapters. Gillian was beaten down on the inside and hemmed in on the outside trying to do the right things for everyone but herself. When could she start living for herself not others? Ever?

    This is the second book in a week that I could not put down. Both debut novels. Unbelievable!!

    This story is excellently written, flows at a perfect pace, has fabulous settings and wonderful characters. A great piece of Woman's Fiction. While the book is nowhere near autobiographical the author knows her subject matter well. Her mother represented Northern Idaho in the state senate seven times. She works in the same academic field as Edward's new love and she currently lives in Northern Wisconsin the main setting of her story and I assume from the descriptions of other places in the book she has traveled a little bit in her lifetime.

    Tara, I know you are teaching to pay the bills but you have a great gift given to very few, you are a wonderful storyteller. I can't wait to read more of your work.

    This is a book I highly recommend. It should not be missed and you will want to read more from Tara Woolpy, I guarantee it.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CF

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    Creating second chances

    Whereas many works of women's fiction center around main characters in their twenties or thirties, Releasing Gillian's Wolves focuses on a quinquagenarian with a green thumb, artistic talent, and closet full of "Congressman's Wife" clothing. For decades, she's dealt with her philandering husband's bad behavior by painting in her studio, working in her garden, and taking care of friends and family, including the mother-in-law whom her husband routinely neglects. Jack's newest paramour, a twenty-something intern, proves to be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back. After thirty years of marriage, she finally makes a stand for herself.

    Unlike many tales of adultery, this one involves little in the way of broken furniture and nasty shouting matches. Instead, Gillian calmly states her terms and walks away in an admirable show of strength. We follow her along her path to healing, an international journey that includes a healed rift with an estranged daughter and a holiday in the Netherlands that is saturated in art. Releasing Gillian's Wolves is not so much about intrigue as it is about life and second chances at creating a full one.

    The storyline is, in a word, comfortable in terms of pacing and ambiance. The salacious events surrounding Jack are treated more as prop or catalysts than focal points, and while that approach suits a tale of personal growth and healing, I would have liked to have had a few more details. Even so, there is more than enough material to keep one entertained. Intimate descriptions of various food items whet the appetite, while refreshingly deep conversations stimulate the mind. Each section actually starts off with a recipe related to that part of the story, including a brownie recipe I am now eager to try.

    Releasing Gillian's Wolves is a book I'd recommend to anyone who needs renewed faith towards the women's fiction genre. It isn't light and fluffy, nor is it petulant and melodramatic; it is thoughtful, accessible, and above all, real.

    Hide and Read
    (Review copy provided by the author)

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  • Posted July 4, 2011

    Politically correct taken to an extreme.

    There are many cliches that can be applied to crooked politicians and their antics, such as politics makes for strange bedfellows or, my personal favorite, "in politics, stupidity is not a handicap." The sad truth is that politicians (business moguls, professional athletes, and other celebrities) often think that they can do whatever they want, especially if it's illegal or immoral, and no one will ever know or say anything. When the dirt comes out, whether its about fiscal improprieties, adultery or both, the question arises as to why the wives stand by their men. Isn't that taking "for better or worse" a little too far? That is the question that Tara Woolpy asks in Releasing Gillian's Wolves.

    Gillian Wolf Sachs is a 49-year-old socially inept (her words) wife, mother, grandmother and artist. Her husband is a 53-year-old Congressman running for reelection, Jack Sachs. Due to Gillian's social ineptitude she usually hides behind food, no not eating herself into oblivion, but providing food to others. Gillian is a nurturer at heart. She has put up with her husband's escapades for years and tolerated it because she didn't want to cause a media frenzy. She also thinks that she's protecting her children . . . her grown children. Her daughter Aurora no longer even has a relationship with her father because of his sexual escapades. Her son John is a little more forgiving and even comes home to help with the reelection campaign. This is when things get dicey. John falls for a campaign intern that is younger than he is and apparently this intern had a relationship with his father. When this is confirmed, John has a meltdown and Gillian decides to leave town. The truly sad part is that Gillian's friends and even Jack's mother, Gillian's mother-in-law, are all advocating her divorcing Jack and moving on with her life.

    Releasing Gillian's Wolves is about self-discovery and discerning one's self worth. Gillian must find that she is worthy as an individual, not only of love and affection, but simply as a human being. That might sound simple when you're relatively young, but it is often a difficult message to grasp when you're more than 40 and have never worked outside of the home. Ms. Woolpy's characters are all too believable in that none of them are without human faults and insecurities. All of the characters are searching, in their own, way to find happiness or to hold onto it for as long as possible. It was this realistic struggle that provides one possible answer as to why these women stay . . . and better yet, why they may leave.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    Politics and Love - What a combination for a book

    Releasing Gillian's Wolves - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

    "Jack, I don't care what you do, I really don't. But," I paused until I was sure of his full attention, "you might want to keep it in your pants. All deals are off if I wake some morning to find your dirty laundry all over the papers." Jack blanched, started to speak, stopped and simply nodded. He sat back in his chair and watched me in silence as I ate my dinner. He finished his drink. We were both relieved when Mark rang the doorbell. I nodded to Mark as he entered the kitchen. "Hi, make yourself at home, there's more salad in the bowl if you'd like. I'll clean up later." I turned to Jack. "Excuse me, I have work to do," and I exited out the patio door, down the steps and through the grass to the cabin. I closed the door behind me and collapsed onto the couch before I let out the first sob. The cabin air felt moist and hot, but I hugged myself close as I rocked back and forth, feeling it all crumble away.'

    Gillian Wolf Sach is married to Congressman Jack Sach. That's if you can call it a marriage. Gillian has played the part of being the "good wife" for years while Jack has played the part of being the "bad husband." It appears that if it wore a skirt and fell for his celebrity status, they were fair game for on the side activities. But when Gillian became suspicious of his affair with an aide younger than their own daughter, something clicked. In her own words "One day something, could be something unimportant that you'd usually gloss right over, something tips you over the line and things change. You might not even know it at the time, but that's when a bad marriage ends." And hers did. She promised to stay with Jack until the end of the next election but made no promises after that.

    The day after the election Gillian left to first visit her daughter and then on to Amsterdam where her long time friend Edward was now living with his significant other Sam. A trip that started as an attempt to collect herself and her feelings ended up becoming the beginning of a new life for Gillian. But when she receives word that the FBI have a warrant out for her she sees the possibility of her new life slipping through her fingers.

    It seems like there is always a political figure ending up in the news due to their extramarital activities and I've often wondered why their spouse seems to stand by them. Why not just leave, make them leave and/or divorce and get it over with. After reading Releasing Gillian's Wolves, I now have a bit more of an understanding as to why they stay. There is always that slight hope of things changing, they feel the world will see them as the cause of the failure, the list goes on and on. Gillian felt all of these but she also didn't want the publicity that her family would be put through if the real truth regarding Jack came out. And in the beginning she took the out that many, whether in the political eye or not, seem to take. Ignore it and run away. Sort of like "out of sight, out of mind." But that never works. Problems must be faced to be solved.

    When I first started reading Releasing Gillian's Wolves I had no idea as to what it was going to be about. It turned out to be a beautiful love story with a message that there can be life after love and that we all deserve to be happy. I loved it!

    Bats in the Boathouse Press
    280 pages
    ISBN# 978-0-9832033-0-8

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Summer read

    Tara Woolpy has done a wonderful job of developing characters that seem real. You can envision Jack, the erstwhile politician, with his group of interns and his charismatic demeanor. Gillian strikes a balance that leaves you at once concerned for her, and yet keeps you rooting for her. Other than her art and her friends, food is the thing she turns to for comfort. Tara has interspersed recipes in the chapters as Gilliam cooks her way though many of her issues.
    Edward and Sam are a enchanting couple, and she makes you feel the connection with them. Edward and Gilliam have known each other their whole lives, and have the Grandfathers (as they are referred to) to thank for the largess in their life. The money and foundation started by the Grandfathers will sustain them through their lifetime, and with their upbringing, they are more like siblings then friends.
    Luke is rugged and serious about his art. He is often introspective and messy; he gets into his work and is not always charming. He is not even really much to look and yet Gilliam finds that bit of him that is what she has been searching for her entire life. And for Luke that same spark is reciprocated, creating a closeness neither of them expected.
    This is a story of life and love, and treats you to the generousness of those who care. Gilliam's life and exploits keep you captivated, and the recipes are an added extra. If you enjoy a light love story and a story of growth, you will enjoy this often fun and quirky novel.
    I would recommend this as a light summertime read, and a great book for a reading group. There is politics and deviousness, as well as love and redemption. It would make for a great discussion.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Great Debut Novel!

    The basic plot of Releasing Gillian's Wolves by Tara Woolpy is going to be familiar to you if you read the news. Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards, that pervert Anthony Weiner. Ring a bell? See where I'm going?

    Why do those political wives stay? Why do we always see them standing alongside their husbands smiling that tight stepford wife smile during those all too often press conferences. The political husband was caught with a staffer, caught with a man, caught with a goat, whathaveyou. Releasing Gillian's Wolves lets you in on a little of the "why". Why? Because it's often very complicated. Would you rather live quietly separate yet together with your cheating husband or would you rather have your dirty laundry splashed all over the tabloids? I can see now, a little, why they stay, especially when there are children involved.

    Gillian's story is a story of redemption and courage. 50 years old and never having been on her own, she's scared to death of making a new life, let alone finding love again. Having always lived your life for someone else, how do you even begin living it for yourself? You'll cheer for Gillian as she finally stands up to her pig of a husband. I did. However, I have to admit, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe it's from reading too much Lisa See and Anita Shreve but I was waiting for a tragedy to strike poor Gillian. I was waiting for the evil husband to turn on her and make her life hell again. I was pleased that that wasn't the case with Woolpy's story. A happy ending is sometimes nice!

    The subject matter of Releasing Gillian's Wolves was interesting and timely. And it was a fast read. Great pool reading material!

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

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    Great Read

    When I received this book I was only going to read a few pages to get an idea of what it was about. I had a million things to get done in my house that day. Well one page lead to another and then another, and before I knew it I was hooked and nothing got done. I really did enjoy this book! There is such a diversity of characters that if one does not get you, another one will. All except Jillian's husband Jack. He is a Congressman, as well as a liar and a cheat. Jillian has thought for years her husband was cheating on her, and one night she decided enough was enough. She wanted a divorce and to get away. She thought she would spend the rest of her life alone. At her age love would not be hers again. But as she later finds out love does not have an age limit. Love like wine, can be sweeter with age. For me, I liked the whole story. The flow of the book I found to be interesting and it held my attention. I also like the recipes the author has shared with us.

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