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The Life You've Imagined: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

Is the life you're living all you imagined?

Have you ever asked yourself, "What if??" Here, four women face the decisions of their lifetimes in this stirring and unforgettable novel of love, loss, friendship, and family.

Anna Geneva, a Chicago attorney coping with the death of a cherished friend, returns to her "speck on the map" hometown of Haven to finally come to terms with her mother, the man she left ...

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The Life You've Imagined: A Novel

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Overview

Is the life you're living all you imagined?

Have you ever asked yourself, "What if??" Here, four women face the decisions of their lifetimes in this stirring and unforgettable novel of love, loss, friendship, and family.

Anna Geneva, a Chicago attorney coping with the death of a cherished friend, returns to her "speck on the map" hometown of Haven to finally come to terms with her mother, the man she left behind, and the road she did not take.

Cami Drayton, Anna's dearest friend from high school, is coming home too, forced by circumstance to move in with her alcoholic father . . . and to confront a dark family secret.

Maeve, Anna's mother, never left Haven, firmly rooted there by her sadness over her abandonment by the husband she desperately loved and the hope that someday he will return to her.

And Amy Rickart—thin, beautiful, and striving for perfection—faces a future with the perfect man . . . but is haunted by the memory of what she used to be.

Kristina Riggle's The Life You've Imagined takes a provocative look at the choices we make—and the courage we must have to change.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062006882
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/17/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 152,210
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Kristina Riggle is a published short story writer and coeditor for fiction at the e-zine Literary Mama. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband, two kids, and dog.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 16, 2011

    Good read

    I really liked this book, and liked seeing the characters develop on their own and in their relationships with each other.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    engaging character study

    Still sarcastic Cami Drayton has come home to Haven though she prefers not to return to the house she hates where her alcoholic father resides and the man she loves Steve is distant. She must deal with an ugly family secret if she is to move on with her life.

    Unlike the next generation including her daughter the hotshot Chicago lawyer, Maeve always has lived in Haven, but not because she cherishes the town. Instead she remains in the family home hoping that her husband will return to her; though he abandoned her and the family years ago.

    Maeve's daughter and Cami's best friend at Haven High School, Chicago attorney Anna Geneva grieves the death of a dear friend and mentor August Canfield, but fails to cope with her loss. Needing the comfort of family and friends, Anna returns to Haven.

    Finally Haven native Amy Rickart figuratively kills herself to be perfect. She has found her perfect match she believes in Paul Becker, but has doubts she is perfect enough as her childhood still haunts her with how imperfect she was and mentally assumes still is.

    Rotating first person perspective though at times it is difficult to separate the voices of who leads a chapter, this is a well written and engaging character study as each woman looks back and wonders what if they made a different choice at a pivotal moment. Obviously character driven, the lives intertwine as the women must confront new decision-making life choice.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommend Women's Fiction

    Four women in Haven, Michigan find that life in a small town, whether they've just returned or have never left, can be just as tumultuous and disappointing, as it's ever been. Are they living the life they've imagined? Maeve is the proprietor of the local convenience store and the mother of her daughter, Anna, a Chicago city lawyer. Maeve never thought that the convenience store was going to be her career, but she's been waiting twenty years for her husband to return after he left her and Anna one day with no word. Recently, she's been receiving letters from him, promising her a better future. Anna has lost a close friend and mentor at the Chicago law firm and has been granted bereavement leave. Returning to Haven isn't easy, but she's not sure where else to go. She's always been strong, almost cold, but coming back to Haven means she might have to deal with her ex-boyfriend, the man who might be the love of her life, who she broke up with before they left for different colleges. Cami is an old high school friend of Anna, who has recently returned back to Haven with her tail tucked between her legs after submitting to her gambling addiction and stealing money from her boyfriend and losing it all. She returns to her father's home - to a man who doesn't hold back from expressing his emotions of anger and resentment drunkenly and violently. [One nagging little gripe: My only issue with her is that she ends every statement with "yeah." So, for example: "Everything is good, yeah?" I subconsciously began tallying up how many times she ended her sentences like that.] Amy, once overweight in high school, has now become obsessed with maintaining her successful weight loss. She's engaged to the son of the town's richest developer who happens to be planning to renovate Haven to appeal to tourists and Maeve's convenience store is one that will soon be destroyed. Amy's dream to have her perfect wedding, though, is on track. So she thinks, until the stress of wedding planning and wondering if she's making the right decisions has her doubting. Recently, she's bumped into Ed, an overweight and friendly guy who has a dog that just happens to get along with her own dog. Will the life she's imagined be what she's needing? Ultimately, I liked this story a lot, even though each character frustrated me with Amy disappointing me completely. I cheered her on and for just a moment, I thought she had grown a backbone, but then...she didn't. With each chapter alternating between the primary characters making it a quick read, and although I wanted just a touch more from specific secondary characters, Kristina Riggle successfully exposes the lives of four women who feel like they just may have missed out on life. After a while, each character finds that there is a beauty and sadness in realizing that it may be possible that the life being lived right now isn't any better or worse than what imagination can bring. Moral of the story? Make good choices, people. But, no matter what, never look back.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Go confidently...

    Are you living the life you've imagined? In Kristina Riggle's second novel, four women ask themselves this very question. Anna is a lawyer living in Chicago. She left her small hometown of Haven as quickly as she could without looking back. She's made a new life for herself, a life she is proud of. She's worked hard and is up for Partner at her law firm. All this changes when her mentor and close friend, August, dies. Much to her chagrin she's asked to take bereavement leave to cope with her grief. For all intent and purposes, her time home was only supposed to be for a little while. Funny how life can detour your plans.

    Cami has also returned home. She and Anna are high school friends. The two woman part ways shortly after graduation. Cami is a tutor and recently broke up with her boyfriend. She has no place to go after he learns of her gambling addiction. Her father is an abusive alcoholic and doesn't care much for Cami's return home. He allows it with a condition: she must never go into his bedroom. Naturally this causes Cami to wonder what is it he is hiding from her.

    Maeve is Anna's mother. She owns the Nee Nance store and resides in the apartment above the store. She was once married to Robert, Anna's father, and he left them when Anna was a little girl. Now, Robert is back in her life and wants a second chance. Maeve is hesitant at first, but eventually her love for Robert gets the best of her and she begins answering his letters. Fate may be kind to her this time as his plans to start over come when Maeve's lease for the store is up. Maybe she won't have to spend the rest of her life alone.

    Amy is marrying into one of Haven's wealthiest families. Amy feels very lucky to have met Paul. In high school she was quite overweight and none of the boys paid her any attention. Now in her mid-30s, she's lost a lot of weight (thanks to running every morning) and is determined to stay that way. Even if it costs her her happiness.

    In her second novel, Riggle examines the dreams and hopes we had growing up and in early adulthood. Each woman is at a turning point in her life and comes to face the question: is this the life that I've imagined? As each woman struggles with this answer, Riggle takes us back to their past to help the reader fully understand the path taken that has brought each woman to the fork in the road. Told in alternating chapters, Riggle does a fantastic job of giving each woman her own voice.

    I'd admit after reading Real Life & Liars last year, I had high expectations for her follow-up novel. I'm happy to say not only was I not disappointed, it was just as good or better than I thought it would be. I must warn you though, long after the book ends, you may find yourself thinking about where you are today and the choices you've made that led you to this point. Some of these choices may have been good ones, and some. . . well, may have you asking for a do-over. All in all, I highly recommend this novel.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 25, 2011

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