Received a copy of The Wife of a Lesser Man by Sandy Appleyard through the First Reads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review
Many relationship experts say that love is not a sprint, it is a marathon. But what happens when you can't get off the starting blocks at the firing of the gun. For Mark Tame his world is about to drastically change and coincidentally his wife Shelly Tame is about to find out more about herself than she may have anticipated.
Mark Tame is a police officer who became chief of police at the local precinct after gunning down a murderer. Murders happen all the time but this guy raped women with the insistence of having her loved ones present while he committed his crimes. Rather than a congratulatory handshake, Mark is promoted and dives headfirst into the overwhelming responsibilities required at the station. Shelley Tame is a part-time school teacher who is having an emotional time adjusting to life in an empty nest. With her two young daughters enrolled in school the thought of being alone scared her. On one ordinary day Shelley is in a rush to the hospital after hearing the love of her life had suffered a major heart attack. In a dreamlike confusion Shelley comes to and the only thought she has is of a life without him. After assuming it would be a lengthy recovery, Mark is back on his feet in no time and adjusting to his new medication, diet, and exercise regiment. Unfortunately for Mark the two things that expedited his trip to the hospital are the things he has trouble curbing; workplace stress and responsibilities as well as sleep deprivation.
Mark and Shelle's relationship seemed to be built with sex as a major pillar. At first the idea of spontaneous sexual exploits for a man is obviously great, but what happens when something out of your control takes the readiness away. Throughout history men consistently have had to put up with the women's "headache" or cold shoulder in the bedroom but when a man has a little trouble the women look for help from an outside source. Personally speaking, after having one too many glasses of whiskey (we all know what that means) I have had women tell me "that's why God made the tongue the strongest muscle and gave you five fingers," I guess I am lucky to have been with versatile ladies. With all that said, Mark should be the one that's displeased because by all accounts he doesn't seem like the massage the prostate kind of guy. The way the wife dealt with problems was very juvenile and it didn't help that her best friend from "high school" Sarah was there influencing a lot of her decisions. I thought peer pressure dissipated once you became a parent, and your responsibilities became that of another person, I guess I was wrong. "She pulled her shirt off and the rest of her clothes as she
continued to reminisce about her seemingly absent sex life. As
she lay on the bed, her heart pumped rapidly in long lost
pleasure, for a moment Shelley thought 'why am I sad? Mark
wasn't taken from me; he's still here. I should be thankful for
that. We can still spend the rest of our lives together and this
dry spell could be only temporary.' She swallowed and peered over
at the picture of her and Mark on their wedding day sitting on
the night stand. 'But what if it's not temporary? What if we
can never make love again?' "
Some people will point to Mark's lack of presence in their marriage as a point of blame, but it is blatantly obvious that Mark's heart is always in the right place. The way he handled the crime scene investigators less than stellar work was pure class and he deserved better than what he got. This is a story of love and marriage and how the form can change. On the positive side I enjoyed the eternal aspect of love brought on by Charlie and Madeline. These two identified the way partners should handle troubles and how, although not recommended, when the possibility of an isolated life seems much more complicated than being with your better half.
I really couldn't have been more disappointed in the actions of Shelly Tame. At a point when her husband is dealing with the realization of extreme lifestyle changes she is thinking about her wants and needs. Of course you are internally going to selfishly think about how your life will change but externally she could have been more accommodating to help with her husband's transition.This was very much a soap opera to me, the story was not laced with flowery prose, but it managed to be quite gripping and did not grow tiring. It did make me angry reading this from time-to-time but I got through it quite easily. Their is also a good murder mystery that I failed to write about, but you figure it out. "I, (name), take you, (name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded]
(husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner and my
love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family
and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner
in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy
as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to
support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh
with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we
both shall live."