Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review:: The Pilot's Wife

This story begins late one night. Kathryn is awaken by a knock on the door. It's Union man Robert Hart and he's there to inform her that the plane her husband Jack was piloting has exploded off the coast of Ireland and there are no survivors.

Kathryn is obviously quite devastated and tries to hold it together for the sake of her daughter, but it all gets even more difficult as investigators begin to suspect that Jack is responsible for the explosion and she finds out he had a secret life she knew nothing about. Of course, by the time the news media gets a hold of this information, it's total mayhem and Robert Hart extends his stay to help Kathryn deal with the ensuing drama.

Eventually, Robert and Kathryn grow close, and he even travels with her to England in a search for more answers to all the questions that Jack's death opened up. At first, this part kind of irritated me and I dismissed it as too predictable. But after some thought I can see how it could be possible to have feelings for someone who's helping you through this type of a situation. Plus, the relationship only goes so far, which I thought was realistic.

There were parts of this story that moved incredibly slowly, but I liked it. I felt as if I was there with Kathryn, experiencing her grief and anger along with her. Although this is total chick lit, I feel like all the emotions in the story are real and genuine and it never gets too mushy or saccharine sweet.

I suppose if I have one complaint, it's the theme of the story, which is a question that's asked throughout the book, "How well can we ever really know a person?" Kathryn answers this at the end of the book by dismissing her own naïveté and reasoning that someone who is "dedicated" to keeping secrets will cause "no suspicion, because they truly don't want to get caught." I don't necessarily agree and I think that kind of reasoning does a disservice to true partnerships and maybe gives people, not only an excuse to not fully get to know their partner but a cop out if something bad happens. I mean, if you reason that no matter what you do, you can't ever know someone, then what's the point of even trying?

Plus, I feel like there were a lot of red flags in Kathryn's marriage that she never picked up on. Her husband's past and childhood were secrets that he never really wanted to talk about, claiming them "too painful" to discuss. When he traveled overseas, she could never reach him but always had to wait for him to call her. These are things I would think wouldn't be issues after fifteen years of marriage.

I'm going to be completely honest, I wanted to hate this book. One being the damn Oprah sticker on the cover. For some reason, that's always a turn off. Then there's the whole plot, which just sounds soooo Lifetime. But I loved it. I loved the story and the characters, especially Robert. (Sigh. Is it possible to love a fictional character?) I was a little sad when the book ended. Because I wanted to keep this party going, I looked to see if there actually is a Lifetime movie based on it. There isn't. But there is a made-for-tv movie starring boring people I don't care about like Christine Lahti and Campbell Scott. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.


Barefoot_Mommy said...

I'm still snickering at the "So lifetime" comment. LOL But it sounds like a book I would enjoy. I'll have to check it out.

Dani said...

It is very possible to love a fictional character. 2 books: Atonement & The Time Traveler's Wife. In love with both of the male lead characters. *sigh*

I will be reading this.

R.H. Ducky said...

you think christine lahti is boring? hmm...i kinda like her.

i've never read anything by anita shreve...but i did just receive a copy of her book testimony the other day. i say again, i love

Lia said...

You're such a reader! You've blown through like 5 books in the time it's taken me to finish one- and it was one that I loved. Those Oprah stickers irk me, too. I feel dumb buying a book if it has one on it.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

I was in love with a British inspector -- a character from an Elizabeth George mystery. Actually, I think I might still be in love with him (don't tell my husband, though).

I read "The Pilot's Wife" ages ago and watched the movie (don't waste your time). The book was much, much better.

Tammie said...

dani: im glad im not the only one having crushes on fictional men.

ducky: maybe im being too harsh, i dont hate her or anything, shes just one of those actresses who've never been on my radar. plus, as i was reading the book i had the main character pictured differently, so i was disappointed when i found out she playing her.

lia: i dont normally read this much but im really trying to put a dent in my reading list. plus, all of these have been library books so ive been motivated to read them quickly and get them back on time. oh, and i feel the same way about the oprah sticker! honestly, if i was an author i wouldnt want her seal of approval on my book. i think it ruins it.

jolly: im glad someone had seen the movie! there was a small part of me that considered hunting it down. now i know not to bother.

Carla said...

I read this book quite awhile ago and I remember not liking something about it. It must have been all right overall or else I wouldn't have finished it. Hmmm, I might have to dig it out and read it again.

Agnes Brown said...

I feel the same way with the Oprah sticker, it turns me off. I picked the book for my own reasons, not because Oprah told me to read it! I haven't read this book but I read Light on Snow by Anita Shreve and really liked it. No crush worthy leading man though.

hester said...

This was the first Anita Shreve book I read (ages ago) and I thought it was a great read. She reminds me a bit of Elizabeth Berg - good at getting inside people's heads.

Just caught up with your blog after a week away, so sorry to hear about moving going on hold for a while. Hang in will work out ok.

hester said...

PS I loved Dani's comment about Atonement. I just reread it and fell in love with Robbie all over again. It's got to be one of my all time favourite books.

Nowheymama said...

Jamie Fraser in the Outlander series. *SIGH*

I read Anita Shreve's "Testimony" this summer. It was really dark. I've been wondering about her other books. Have you read any others besides this one?

Tammie said...

agnes: i know! its almost as if i have some sort of backlash towards oprah. shes not going to tell me what to read
this was the first anita shreve book ive read. apparently ive been missing out.

hester: thank you. :) im hanging in there. and i dont know what this Atonement book is, but apparently i need to get my hands on a copy poste haste.

nowhey: someone else suggested the outlander series! ive actually been keeping my eye open for it every time i go to the library. they have all the others in the series but Oulander is always checked out.
im anxious to read more of anitas books since i loved this one so.

Jenny said...

@nowheymama - Jamie Fraser....*sighing with you, dreamily* I'm in love. Just finished Outlander last night and it is haunting me. I'm headed to Barnes and Noble to buy the next one today - I can't wait...though, like any series, it's bittersweet to move on to the next stage. I always miss the early days of the relationships.

Tammie - I think I started reading The Pilot's Wife a long time ago, but can't remember the whole story, so I must have abandoned it for some reason. (typical of me - I multi-book and multi-task far too much at times) I'll have to pull it back out after I finish this Outlander obsession. As for the Oprah stickers, while I really don't care for Oprah anymore as a person/TV personality/host - I ALWAYS love the books she chooses. So, I tend to have the opposite reaction to the sticker - I know it will be a book I love. She and I must just have similar taste in books. I just don't have the same infatuation with her that she has for herself. :)
Definitely keep looking for Outlander. You won't be sorry.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I too really didn't want to read this book. I was given the book after a surgery from a cousin who was visiting. It sat next to my bed forever. She kept asking if I liked it when she called. She said it reminded her of everything i used to say about pilots. So I finally had to open it and get started. It was not what I thought (harlequin romance type is what i was thinking)

I enjoyed the book so much more and it had many more layers than I thought it would.

And yes when I worked in the airline industry I was a bit prejudice of pilots because all I knew had women in other ports yet professed to love their wives.
All nice enough and fun guys at work but should not get married then. (hear that Tiger?)

Then one night I had insomnia and I turned on the tv and saw the movie. Oh it wasn't great and it was a lifetime type movie just as you stated but at 3am not much else was on. I knew how it ended but watched it anyways. So stick with the book and skip the tv movie!

I guess I am the only one who refuses to read Oprah books not in defiance of her telling me to but because i find her choices of books dreadfully boring the majority of the time.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

It's been a long time since I read The Pilot's Wife but I think that each chapter flips back and forth from current day to a previous time, is that right?

I felt the same way...didn't want to like it and kind of felt like I should trash it in public but secretly I wanted to rush home and read some more. Oddly enough, I don't think I've read another book by her.

Tammie said...

jenny: i had another fruitless search for Outlander today! i may have to break down and buy that one.

peggy: i feel the same way about oprahs book choices. i just tried to read another one, Love in the Time of Cholera, and couldnt make it past 5 pages.

mag: thats the one! and my thoughts are much the same. i was reading a bunch of reviews of it on Goodreads and so many people hated it that i was almost embarrassed to admit that i loved it so much. :)

Daphne said...

Terri has a weakness for Lifetime movies, which cracks me up. Maybe I should recommend this book to her. :)

Ελλάδα said...

The Pilots wife begins with a very intriguing premise, how well do you know the man you married? It promises a great mystery will be unraveled. The book starts with a bang and ends with a whimper. I felt like Shreve was getting bored with her own story and did a mundane job of wrapping up the details just to get it over with. It certainly did not have the shocking suprise ending that the reader has been set up to expect.

Bonnie said...

Picked this dramatic novel up on the bookshelf of a hostel in Jasper AB on x-c ski weekend and could not put it down.It is one of those that simply tugged at heartstrings as the story itself slowly unfolds, esp the intensity of the grief process And there has been a constant flow of emotions surging through every bit of this book in a way that was almost poetic. Like the flashbacks between times, and detailed descriptions of small moments such as the unravelling of the scarf Kathryn received from Jack, and her increasing awareness of possible red flags.The ending did tie the plot together but happened very quickly and really did not like the too convenient linking of Robert and Kathryn. BTW have read all of the Outlander series.