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The Life She Wants
     

The Life She Wants

4.2 16
by Robyn Carr
 

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr brings together a poignant novel with a rich tapestry of characters. A moving story that will leave the reader laughing and crying, as two friends confront their pasts and move towards their futures.

In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is

Overview

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr brings together a poignant novel with a rich tapestry of characters. A moving story that will leave the reader laughing and crying, as two friends confront their pasts and move towards their futures.

In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients’ life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband’s crimes. She is left with nothing.

Only one friend stands by her, a friend she’s known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn’t easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she’d rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.

Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can’t escape her husband’s reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she’d ever ask for help—her former best friend. It’s an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they’ve made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
07/25/2016
Bestselling author Carr follows a woman who marries a multi-millionaire schemer (who commits suicide after being caught) and ends up as a nearly penniless widow. Emma Shay Compton is unsympathetic in the public eye—though she did nothing wrong and was unaware of her husband’s fraudulent practices—and has to start her life all over again. She flees the east coast and returns to her childhood home of Sonoma County, where she confronts her past: Riley Kerrigan, the best friend who stole Emma’s high school boyfriend, Jock, and got pregnant; and her difficult childhood with a typically evil stepmother who favored her own children over Emma. Emma ends up working for Riley, whose brother, Adam, intercedes on her behalf (he’s had a crush on Emma for years) and Emma becomes part of Riley’s professional cleaning service while developing a relationship with Adam. That she readily goes from living the luxurious life to cleaning toilets is a bit of a stretch, as is her involvement with one of the client’s daughters, a huge infraction of Riley’s professional rules. Too much melodrama, shallow character portrayals, and lifeless romantic scenes unfortunately undercut what could have been an insightful exploration of a woman’s world turned upside down by circumstances beyond her control. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"A layered, well-paced plot and flawed, three-dimensional characters whom readers will care about make this a quick and entertaining read for those who relish contemporary family sagas with strong female characters as well as readers who like their stories tinged with romance." -Library Journal

"A satisfying reinvention story that handles painful issues with a light and uplifting touch." -Kirkus Reviews

"Robyn Carr has done it again... What We Find is complex, inspirational, and well-written. A romance that truly inspires readers as life hits them the hardest."

-San Francisco Review Journal

"Carr's new novel demonstrates that classic women's fiction, illuminating the power of women's friendships, is still alive and well." -Booklist on Four Friends

"A thought-provoking look at women...and the choices they make." -Kirkus Reviews on Four Friends

"The captivating sixth installment of Carr's Thunder Point series (after The Promise) brings up big emotions."

-Publishers Weekly on The Homecoming

"Carr has hit her stride with this captivating series."
-Library Journal on the Virgin River series

Kirkus Reviews
2016-07-31
After her financier husband commits suicide rather than face jail time for stealing from his clients, Emma Shay Compton comes home to Sonoma with the shadow of his crimes over her and must reinvent herself in a hostile landscape while reconnecting with friends she’d thought lost forever.When Emma married her wealthy husband, she had no idea he was running a Ponzi scheme, but that doesn’t make it any easier to convince people of her innocence once he’s accused and kills himself. Going from mad wealth to mere sustenance isn’t as hard as knowing her husband ruined lives, but when she moves back to her hometown and finds it almost impossible to get a job, Emma begins to wonder if she’ll be able to survive, much less thrive. With help from a friend she finds a place to live and gets a terrible job that doesn’t last, but through it she runs into Adam, the brother of Riley, her childhood best friend. Riley had betrayed Emma in college, having an affair with her longtime boyfriend, which ended the friendship for good. But now Riley runs a cleaning company with better opportunities than anything Emma can find, so Adam encourages her to get in touch with Riley and see if she can help. Emma swallows her pride and asks Riley for a job, which she gives her, but the two still hold grudges from the past, and neither is interested in trying to rekindle their friendship. Riley is surprised to discover, however, that Emma is truly determined to work hard and embrace her new, simpler life, and both women discover they admire and like the older versions of each other. And when circumstances threaten their families and happiness, they’ll both question what they’re holding onto—for instance, anger, resentment, and pride—and what they’re missing out on. Carr’s take on this complicated situation is interesting, though readers seeking a deeper reflection from Emma in the aftermath of her husband’s death or her stepmother’s spite may be disappointed. A satisfying reinvention story that handles painful issues with a light and uplifting touch.
Library Journal
07/01/2016
Multiple RITA Award winner Carr ("Virgin River" series) presents a compelling story of mistakes made and redemption attempted in her latest stand-alone. Emma Shay Compton is living a privileged life in New York when her world implodes. Following her husband's suicide, she returns to her hometown in California to lick her wounds and hopefully start over. Riley Kerrigan committed the ultimate betrayal when she and Emma were teenagers, shattering their friendship. When Emma is left with no one to turn to but Riley, all their old hurts resurface and both women have to decide if mending their long-destroyed bridges is even possible. Multiple points of view enhance both newly developing and rekindled relationships, including one that places all of Emma's progress toward peace in jeopardy. Carr presents problems realistically and the romantic encounters are sweetly sexy. VERDICT A layered, well-paced plot and flawed, three-dimensional characters whom readers will care about make this quick and entertaining read for those who relish contemporary family sagas with strong female characters as well as readers who like their stories tinged with romance.—Charli Osborne, Oak Park P. L., MI

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780778319672
Publisher:
MIRA
Publication date:
09/27/2016
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
16,160
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at www.RobynCarr.com.

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The Life She Wants 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm so disappointed. This book is not worth $9.99. I loved the Virgin River series. That's when I fell in love with this author's writing style. This story is so slow and boring. Didn't take much writing skill to repeat same story over and over and over. Just change the name of the person telling it. Each character is reliving the drama from sixteen years earlier. Emma, Riley, Adam, mama June, lyle, Jock and even Maddie each tell the same story. Such a waste of time. Then the story of Emma's disastrous marriage to a Ponzi scheming thief is repeated by each of them again. Too much living in the past. This story had potential, if she had only focused more on the present.
LEH0644 16 days ago
After the suicide of her husband, Emma Shay Compton has returned to her hometown. She has conflicted feelings about returning here but there is nowhere else she can go. Her husband ran a Ponzi scheme that destroyed a lot of people and she is vilified along with him even though she is innocent. Her oldest friend Riley Kerrigan is here but she and Emma had a falling-out when Emma heard that Riley was dating her boyfriend. Words were exchanged that still resonate with both women but Emma has to ask Riley for a job as no one else will hire her. Riley’s brother Adam is also here and he and Emma have talked several times over the years. Adam has always loved Emma and now intends to be more than a friend. They don’t know how Riley will react to the news as she wants her relationship with Emma to be strictly business and not friendship or family.
thereadingchick 3 months ago
Emma left her small town behind her when she left for college and when her best friend got pregnant by Emma’s boyfriend she left Riley behind as well. After graduating from college she moved to New York and married a handsome, wealthy man. Then her world fell apart. Her husband as the head of a Ponzi scheme was indicted and committed suicide before going to jail. Emma was cleared of all charges but was tainted by her husband’s crimes and moved back home to her small town hoping that the people who knew her would give her a chance to live her life in peace. I liked Emma a lot. She felt awful for what her husband had done, and also felt duped realizing that she didn’t know him at all and that her marriage had been a big con as well. I liked her group of friends, but her childhood best friend Riley, wasn’t very likable at all! She didn’t welcome Emma and support her, she kind of shunned her because her own feelings were hurt because Emma never listened to her apology. Well, Riley, you got pregnant with her boyfriend. I think you broke the girl code. Riley didn’t actually become very likable until more than three quarters of the way through the book. When they finally made up, I didn’t care anymore if they did or didn’t, so I think Ms. Carr missed the mark a little and should have made Riley a little more sympathetic. I liked Adam, Rileys brother, and Emma’s love interest. He was sweet, and didn’t care if his sister knew they were seeing each other or not. I wish this book had been more about Emma and Adam and how he helped her get over being duped by her sociopathic husband, and the Riley story more of a sub plot. Because of this I’m only giving this novel three hearts. Too much Riley, too little Adam.
KrittersRamblings 4 months ago
A wonderful stand a lone from Robyn Carr and I love these books to intermix them as we wait for the series to continue! Emma Shay Compton is returning her hometown after her world was turned upside down as her husband was found guilty of a ponzi scheme and no one can imagine that she was clueless through it all - so essentially she has been found guilty by public opinion. I love when books are pulled from the headlines but really expanded upon and made bigger than a news story can make them. I also loved that the ponzi scheme already occurred and this is the after. I am so glad Carr sent her home, but life at home wasn't sunshine and rainbows, there was unresolved drama there, but nothing over the top! I loved that she had to resolve the drama within her from the failed marriage and also what she ran away from home at the same time and I think resolving them both made her such a fierce woman. I love Robyn Carr! When I hear she has a new one coming out, I know that I will love it and the characters will be so worth the journey!
nhr3bookcrazyNR 10 months ago
I truly enjoyed this book. I loved all the details offered about not just main characters, but all the smaller "parts" too. I felt the idea of personal redemption and a constant path to making right choices really resonated with me. I always enjoy books by Robyn Carr and this was another winner.
TheStephanieLoves 10 months ago
Pros: Great integration of each character's subplots in the main theme of rekindling friendship // Easy to read; Carr never fails to impress me with her storytelling // A beautiful modern take on Cinderella // Strong, empowering women characters that are still likable and relatable—ironically, these are often hard to find in the romance and women's fiction genres! Cons: The ending regarding Emma's financial insecurities seems a little too inconvenient // Riley is a bit of a stubborn character; I didn't care for her playing the victim card when she's the one who betrayed Emma to begin with // Predictable in terms of outcome Verdict: In her newest standalone novel, Robyn Carr considers a relatively unexplored topic in the women's fiction genre: two ex-best friends reconnecting in middle adulthood, and all the complications that accompany it. Featuring a multidimensional conflict, a strong ensemble of lovable characters, and the buildup of traditional small-town romance and heartbreaking family backstories we've all come to expect and love, The Life She Wants offers readers a glimmering portrait of true friendship, the meaning of forgiveness, and the value of self-worth. Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (3.5 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable; would recommend, but borrow a copy before you buy! Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Little Bird Publicity!).
MasonCanyon 11 months ago
Author Robyn Carr has a unique way of taking headline material from recent events and turning it into a fascinating novel of friendship and new beginnings. The contrast of settings between lavish New York City and the small town atmosphere of Sonoma County come alive through the author’s vivid descriptions. The author explores the differences in life styles adding depth to the story. The characters are well-developed and engaging. The author gives the protagonist a drive and determination despite her shattered surroundings and sense of loneliness. The author further explores bonds between best friends, what breaks it and how, if ever, it can be slowly mended. The story moves at a good pace and holds your attention from beginning to end. The author weaves through the characters’ lives making the reader feel a part of the events that can easily be related to. THE LIFE SHE WANTS is an enjoyable read that may just cause you to stop and ponder what would you do in that predicament. This well-blended story will have you wondering who really knows what is going on with the one they love. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Lisa-LostInLiterature 11 months ago
Emma has just entered a rough patch in her life. After her millionaire husband is found guilty of stealing his client's money, he commits suicide, leaving Emma alone, guilty by association. Though Emma is completely innocent and had no idea what her husband was doing behind her back, her community is quick to accuse her anyway. She moves back home, hoping for a clean slate... but it's not that easy. People everywhere are assuming she's guilty, and even hiding some of her husband's stolen money for her own use. It's impossible for her to find a job, and she's running out of hope. Emma runs into her ex-best-friend, Riley's, brother, who suggests she gives Riley a call for a job. She swallows her pride and contacts Riley, who immediately agrees to give her a job. This is, however, strictly professional. Both make it glaringly clear that they're still holding grudges against each other about something that happened over ten years ago. Watching the friendship, or lack thereof, between Emma and Riley was the main focus of this story. There is a light romance, but the story is much more focused on this friendship. These two are holding grudges that are quite silly at this point in their lives, and still they're unable to let it go. I definitely appreciated the way Robyn Carr portrayed this friendship, giving us glimpses into their conflict from the past. Watching them grow and learn from their mistakes was a highlight of this story for sure. I have to say this story was a bit slow for me. I kept expecting it to really pick up, but it never really did. I wanted more drama, maybe a little suspense... but it was all pretty straightforward. Definitely not a negative thing by any means, I just tend to like my stories a bit more on the juicy side. I also wish Emma's husband, Richard, and his trial had been a bigger part of the story. This book begins immedaitely after his death. I think had the allegations, trial, and then suicide been more addressed, I probably would have felt for Emma a bit more and connected with her on a deeper level. I was also curious about why, exactly, her stepmother was so mean and nasty. I know some people are just like that, but I was hoping for more of an explanation on that hatred and why she treated Emma so incredibly poorly on a regular basis. This was my first Robyn Carr book. After hearing such wonderful things about her books, I went into this one pretty excited. I do read some women's fiction and chick lit books every now and then. It's a genre I truly enjoy. I have to say I did enjoy this one overall, despite the few issues I had. I believe most chick lit fans will really enjoy this one, especially if looking for a story that is more strongly focused on friendship, versus romance. (Thanks to Little Bird Publicity for the review copy!)
Anonymous 11 months ago
The Life She Wants is a Riches to Rags story. Emma Compton's financier husband, indicted as the author of a Bernie Madoff-type Ponzi scheme, caps his betrayal by committing suicide. The court acquits her of complicity, but Emma's left as the vindictive focus of the press and disappointed investors. Armed with a small bank balance and very few possessions, she decides to start over in the small California town she left years ago. But her hometown doesn't want her. The only person willing to give her a job is the woman who caused her to sever ties with the town in the first place. Riley Kerrigan was her best friend until Riley got pregnant by Emma’s boyfriend Jock. The betrayal and the epic quarrel that followed scarred Emma and Riley both. This is a story of hardship, healing, renewal and family, and, of course, true love. There are other threads and I am going to let you discover them. In my mind, Robyn Carr can't write a bad book. She always draws me into her world. This stand- alone book is no exception. I Received an ARC of The Life She Wants. That’s a lovely gift for the readers of my blog. Because I always buy Robyn’s books and they are all on my keeper shelves.
DebDiem 11 months ago
What a fantastic read!! The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr is (as expected) a well written book, very smooth reading. Ms Carr has delivered phenomenal characters, so perfectly written you could easily understand the anger, jealousy, hurt and sadness from each of their perspectives. At the same time I caught myself muttering quit being such a selfish witch now and then. The characters in this book, including secondary, were my favorite thing about The Life She Wants. There's plenty of drama, humor and spice to keep the pages turning. I enjoyed reading The Life She Wants and look forward to reading more from Robyn Carr in the future. I won a copy of this book from Goodreads.
bookchickdi 11 months ago
Emma Shay Compton's marriage to big-time financier falls apart when he is convicted of bilking his clients (ala Bernie Madoff) out of their life savings. Emma is devastated by his betrayal, of which she had no idea. But many people and the media believe she is hiding money and so she is a pariah as well. All she is left with is a few kitchen tools, and she moves back home to Sonoma County. Her father died years ago, and his second wife, who treated Emma badly, wants nothing to do with her. Emma tries to pick up the pieces of her life, starting with finding a place to live and a job. Her old friend Lyle finds her a small guest cottage behind Penny, an elderly woman, who becomes Emma's friend. Penny's other widowed friends welcome Emma into their circle. The only job she can get is working as housekeeper in a nursing home. But when her coworkers realize who her husband was, she loses that job. Emma reconnects with Adam, the brother of her former best friend Riley. Riley and Emma had a big falling out in high school and haven't spoken since then. Adam gets Emma a job with Riley, who has her own successful cleaning company. The Life She Wants is a wonderful story of female friendship that you don't frequently see. Riley and Emma are very wary of each other, unable to forget the past. I love the character of Riley, how she overcame her life's challenges to build her own successful business. Riley and Adam's mom is a great character too, one who did a terrific job raising her kids, and is a good grandmother. I admit to tearing up more than a few times reading The Life She Wants. Carr's writing hits your heart, and her characters' grit and grace win you over. There are a few hot sex scenes and you hope that love eventually wins out. While sitting on the plane, the man next to me said "Is that Robyn Carr's newest book? I've read all of her books- I love her!" I have to admit that one took me by surprise. I recommend Robyn Carr's The Life She Wants to anyone who loves a good story about female friendship, and if you like Jennifer Weiner's books, give Robyn Carr a try.
Sailon 12 months ago
What do you do when all your dreams come crashing down around you? That is exactly what Emma Shay Compton must decide. Her husband was convicted of stealing people’s life savings, kills himself and leaves Emma with the mess left behind. The law thinks she is hiding money, people hate her for what her husband did and worse of all she had no clue and let herself be deceived by the man she thought loved her. Returning to her home town, Emma has more demons to face while trying to rebuild her life. She left and never looked back, cutting ties with almost all her past, especially her best friend and her best friends family who took her in when her family life fell apart. Raw emotions and true character bring Carr’s characters to life in The Life She Wants. Another great small town romance from Carr, The Life She Wants is about heart, home and forgiveness. I received this ARC copy of The Life She Wants from Harlequin (US & Canada) - MIRA in exchange for a honest review.
Pure_Jonel 12 months ago
This is one of those rare novels that has left me speechless. Carr's hard hitting, emotional tale astounded me with it's intricacies while it drew me in with the sheer realism of the lives that she created. I'll admit that it was a little hard to get into at first, but once I was there Carr's masterful storytelling shone through. She brought this town to life, allowing me to visit the local haunts while my heart was being pulled in every direction by the intricate tale that she wove. I love the way that Carr engages your emotions, drawing you deep into her character's stories. Readers become part of this small town, experiencing the highs and lows alongside the characters. I'll admit that I definitely fell in love with Adam. I felt for both Emma and Riley, even if I wanted to lock the pair in a room together for a while. The entire dynamic between everyone really allowed me to get a feel for the whole picture. This novel may be different from what I've come to expect from Carr but it was still an absolutely fantastic read. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little escape into a small town where the lives of the characters become part of you.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Robyn Carr wrote a story that is full of so much emotion. There are second chances, renewed friendships, and strong women characters within this story. Emma Shay and Riley were best friends who had a falling out of a guy and never managed to reconnect until Emma comes back home after her husband kills himself. The mess Emma is left with comes as a shock and changes her entire life. I loved Emma. The strength, the power, and the ability to stand on her own two feet made her so very strong. While most women would fall apart and play the poor me card whenever they could Emma decides to come out on top and make a life for herself. She does that and so much more. Riley is equally as strong. Growing up poor, without a father, and then becoming a single mother is not an easy life. Yet, Riley proves she has what she takes to make something of herself. She takes a house cleaning business and builds it into a successful business. I really enjoyed how she respected her employees. She catered to the working and single parents; she understood the life’s that they led and what they needed to be employed successfully. But what really stuck with me is when she started to realize what she was missing in her life. She began to understand what was important and what needed to be changed to be able to become successful and happy. I think this is a lesson for many parents’ not just single parents. There were other relationships within this story but Emma and Riley’s is the one that I enjoyed the most. Adam and Emma were great together, Riley and Jock’s was interesting, but the best friend relationship is what really talked to me the most. I recommend picking up your own copy of The Life She Wants.
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
A beautiful and powerful story about life, love, forgiveness, family in all the different forms and shapes, and moving on after one of the life's curveballs. The story flows well, with often taking a step back and going through the events again, with little more depth, with a different point of view. For those who like to read a book from cover to cover in one sitting, it might feel like repetition, but most might enjoy it. The characters in the story have all faced life's difficulties, have had challenges most can't imagine. As they work through their past in the story, the complications, and disputes, without difficulty it made me reflect on the matters of the tale in my own life. I love stories that make you think and you get life lessons from them. Emma's life situation felt like a never-ending nightmare, the consequences of her choices and the judgment from others seemed unbelievable. She wasn't perfect by any measure, but she was willing and eager leave the past behind, learn from it, and move on. Riley had her own issues to be faced and dealt with. I loved how the two stories harmonized with each other. How both Emma and Riley developed, flourished, and matured as the tale unfolded. A charming tale of life and love, with characters that fascinates, a pleasing plot that intrigues the mind, while delivering messages that make you take inventory of yourself, I believe that is called a life-changing romance novel ~ Five Spoons
Anonymous 11 months ago
I do not know what it is about but i want to find out pretty soon for this book expely this book i want to see it yahhhhh