By Bonnie Trachtenberg
Published 2011, iUniverse
Paperback, 260 pages
On what should be the happiest day of her life, Rebecca Ross is panic stricken. Rebecca has just wed Craig Jacobs, but she realizes she put more thought into choosing her florist than she did in choosing the man she's just pledged to love for the rest of her life. Before Craig, Rebecca, a talented Long Island girl, dreamed of following in her grandmother's footsteps with an acting career. Unfortunately, she was cut down to size by years of disappointment, and by her first love-a Hollywood director. She returned to Long Island a lost and broken woman, and ended up in the last place she ever wanted: her old bedroom at her parents' house.While the cover of the book gives the impression that the story is exclusively about the main character Rebecca's bad marriage. The book actually encompasses her life leading up to the bad marriage and what happens as a result of the rocky nuptials. The actual ceremony is understood to have happened sort of "between the lines," so to speak. The book is a before and after image in prose.
But Rebecca's mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has a long held dream too: marry off her three daughters to Jewish men. So no one is more thrilled than her when Rebecca meets and marries bon vivant Craig Jacobs, the man who has won over the whole family. Too bad they're all about to discover that underneath his charismatic shell, this Prince Charming is anything but!
The prologue to the book is the immediate aftermath of the ceremony when Rebecca is undergoing the realization of her mistake. I was a bit confused at this point since I could not figure out if the ceremony took place or not. The next chapter starts in Rebecca's childhood, growing up with two sisters and a very marriage-minded mother in a strict Jewish household. To her mother's dismay, Rebecca is quickly influenced by her grandma Emma into a love for acting, movies, and theater. From there, the book walks us through Rebecca's pursuit of an acting career and near-absence of dating material.
Though Rebecca is likable enough, I had a difficult time relating to her career struggles, since I have little interest in that side of the business. I also did wonder if she was really as talented as she claimed to be, since her struggles were so great.
When a man, Evan, finally lays claim to Rebecca's heart, both Rebecca and Evan handle the relationship poorly and Rebecca abandons her suffering career with a broken heart. The man she eventually becomes "wedlocked" to, Craig, then shows up in her life, and a rebound relationship becomes a permanent one before Rebecca thinks to learn a bit more about her new husband. A honeymoon from hell makes the reality of her situation quite clear as Craig's bad behavior and numerous secrets get him in trouble with the Italian government, until a new friend, Michael, flies in to save the day.
Without spoiling the ending, I think Rebecca handled her problems remarkably well, with a little help, and ended the book with a humorous twist. If I suspend my opinions of the Hollywood-influenced methods of dating, marriage, and divorce that is so common in America today, the book was an entertaining read, and likely would make an even better movie.
The Cover: The cover image is a very good representation of the the overall premise of the book according to the title - chained to a bad marriage. While I think the book was about more than just this, the cover still gets my attention.
First Line: "I used to think the term 'temporary insanity' was just a dubious courtroom plea."
I love this opening line - what kind of romance would fall into the category of temporary insanity?
Favorite Quote: "I bet there are a lot of things that vision distracts us from."
Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*