A Better Man, by Leah McLaren

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Have you ever read a novel you get so wrapped up in, you have a hard time letting go? You tell yourself, “I’ll only read one more chapter…” yet it’s impossible. There has to be some sort of finality. You need to know how it ends! That’s the predicament I found myself in, while reading A Better Man.

The story centers around Nick and Maya Wakefield, an old married couple who are far from old. Their lives are on repeat. Day in and day out, Nick heads to work, while Maya tends to the three year-old twins, trying her hardest to be the best stay-at-home mom she can be. There was a time not so long ago where Maya was part of the corporate ladder, a successful attorney who thrived on late nights and tough cases. She traded it in for bedtime routines and play dates. She will never regret the choices she’s made for her children, but can’t help feeling like those choices have caused an imbalance within her life and in her marriage.

Nick can’t see Maya for who she was, because let’s face it: she’s not the same girl he fell in love with. The way he copes is by distancing himself with long hours at the office and shamelessly flirting with whoever might give him the time of day. He’s at the point of major contention with his lackluster marriage, so much so that he seeks guidance from an old friend, a family attorney who informs Nick that leaving his marriage would mean a catastrophic hit to his pocketbook. This revelation enables the two to conjure up a plan: If Nick can appear as though he’s a changed man, a doting husband who genuinely wants to spend time with his wife and children, it could potentially loosen things up with Maya, meaning she’ll be a lot more cooperative and won’t want to take him to the cleaners when the divorce has been finalized.

What Nick never bargained for, however, is how much he finds himself changing, for the better, and not on purpose. What starts out as a tactic turns into something much more real, and right when he realizes what he truly wants in life, all hell breaks loose, causing what could be irreparable damage. Will Maya ever be able to forgive him? Is this marriage salvageable? I’m sure many of us can relate with this scenario. In so many ways, you can’t help but identify with what both characters are feeling, regardless of the ramifications or whether it’s the wrong or right way to feel. It’s human nature, described beautifully, flaws and all.

Can someone really fake his way to becoming A Better Man? I can’t say for sure, but I do know that this novel was written with absolute perfection. Leah McLaren really takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes all the limits. It couldn’t get any better than this!

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