After her husband cheats on her, a woman attempts her own affair to settle the score.
Hannah thinks she and her husband, Joel, have a happy marriage. That is, until she snoops on his phone to find out if he's planning a surprise birthday party for her and discovers the unthinkable—he's cheated on her. Joel swears it was a one-time thing and urges Hannah into couples counseling, but Hannah can't put it behind her. So she proposes a radical solution: She'll have an affair of her own, just to make things even. Joel, desperate to convince Hannah that he's sorry, agrees to her preposterous plan. Hannah's problem? She doesn't really want to have an affair, but her anger and unquenchable desire for revenge push her to sign up for dating apps and suffer through some abysmal first dates. Hannah's frustration also stems from the fact that she's the de facto contact person for Joel's father, who's in a nursing home. When Hannah learns that Joel's parents went through relationship difficulties but remained married, she starts to think that perhaps she should give Joel another chance. Hannah's best friend, who's going through her own miserable divorce, encourages Hannah to work things out with Joel. Hannah isn't sure what to do—despite all her bad dates, she does feel some chemistry with Reuben, the kind, charming social worker at her father-in-law's nursing home. But eventually, Hannah has to do what's best for her family—and, most importantly, for her. It's difficult to invoke sympathy for a man who cheats on his wife and a woman attempting to cheat on her husband, but LaBan (Not Perfect, 2018, etc.) pulls it off. Given the situation, Hannah's rage makes complete sense, and LaBan provides enough details about Hannah and Joel's past to help readers see why Hannah would struggle with the idea of leaving him. Refreshingly, LaBan resists making any of her characters into stereotypical villains, instead painting them as complex, flawed human beings.
A moving look at the heartbreaks and high points of a long relationship.
A moving look at the heartbreaks and high points of a long relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Told in her signature realistic style, LaBan (Not Perfect, 2018) brings to life what happens when a marriage goes devastatingly wrong…This is a great addition to collections where Elyssa Frieland’s The Intermission (2018) and other stories of misguided but appealing characters messing up relationships are popular.” —Booklist
“This book begins quickly with an intriguing premise…LaBan gives voice to the conflicting thoughts and emotions spouses experience following infidelity.” —Library Journal
“A gripping story of betrayal, hope, and the messy detours to everlasting love.” —Woman’s World
“Beside Herself is a sweet story of self-discovery, forgiveness, and finding out where you truly belong.” —Arizona Foothills Magazine
“Elizabeth LaBan’s characters are so immediately relatable that I defy any reader not to lose herself inside these pages. From their pain, passion, and vulnerability, I saw into the making and unmaking of a marriage—and found myself desperate to know what could come next for a loving—and daring—wife like Hannah. Whether your heart is skipping in a moment of anguish or soaring at a moment of triumph, you will be moved. Powerful and poignant, Beside Herself is a must-read of the year!” —Kelly Harms, author of The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
“Elizabeth LaBan’s chatty, familiar style instantly drew me into the drama of the story and kept me entertained throughout. A perfect poolside read!” —Cynthia Ellingsen, Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper
“Beside Herself is a heartwarming love story with a unique twist on the aftermath of an affair. With a full cast of sympathetic characters—and the cutest little boy, Linc—readers travel deep inside the complex layers of contemporary family life and a marriage that has lost its way. An outstanding choice for a book club.” —Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise Between Us
“When Hannah Bent discovers her husband, Joel, has had an affair, she knows she needs to find a way to make herself feel okay again. Why not have an affair herself to even the score? Elizabeth LaBan has written a heartfelt and surprising novel about a woman’s quest to restore her self-esteem and survive betrayal—as she embarks on a journey of discovering just what love really means. I could not stop turning the pages to see what was going to happen!” —Maddie Dawson, bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners