Kristina Riggle's second novel, set to come out in September is a character study of four women:
Anna, a hotshot lawyer in Chicago who returns home after the loss of a friend and colleague. Upon her return, she discovers her mother is struggling to make ends meet and is corresponding with the husband who abandoned her twenty years ago.
Maeve, Anna's mother, who will inevitably lose her business to development and thus become homeless, is counting on her estranged husband to come save her from her circumstance after receiving letters from him declaring his love and devotion to her once more.
Cami, who returns home to live with her alcoholic father out of necessity, but must conquer some demons she's had to deal with as a result of his drinking and her mother's death.
Amy is proud of all the weight she has lost from her intense diet and exercise, and looks forward to her dream wedding that she's planning with her fiance Paul. When her insecurities affect her relationship, suddenly it begins to look like she may never get her dream wedding.
This book was a page turner, you couldn't help but care about the characters, and the ending line was fabulous.
However, there were a few places in the story that I felt needed some further development:
1) I would have liked to have been brought more into Anna's life before she returns home. We don't really get to know the character for whom Anna returns home to grieve. If she's returning home to grieve someone, then I'd kind of like to get to know that person through her grief.
2) One of the characters in the story is dealing with some sort of addiction (I'll try not to give too much away here) but there is little of resolution or road to recovery by the end.
3) Amy, while a great and empathetic character, did not feel as connected to the story as the other three narrators.
These are, however, minor criticisms as the majority of the story was full of layers and textures. All in all, this was a great read and would recommend it if you're a fan of first person/multi-narrator novels.
The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle
Publish date: September 1, 2010
Number of pages: 334
Genre: Realistic fiction/chick lit
Audience: Adult women