Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Review: "Guest Bed" by Luke P. Narlee

Ah, I love books that keep me guessing.

Ron isn't having a very good morning, to put it mildly. It's the day before his 12th wedding anniversary. When he finds his wife Kate cooking breakfast, he hopes they'll have a pleasant morning, or at least coexist reasonably peacefully. But his hopes are quickly dashed when his attempts at casual conversation turn into a huge argument. An argument like all the others they seem to be having lately.

Disheartened, angry, and figuring his marriage is on the verge of ending, Ron heads to the train station, only to get into a car accident on the way. On the way home from work, shaken up and bruised, he falls asleep on the train, and when he wakes up from a bizarre nightmare, he finds he is seated near a beautiful young woman named Courtney. The pair clearly have some chemistry, and as they flirt and talk during the train ride, Ron finds himself thinking about how pleasant it is to be appreciated by a beautiful woman, how good it feels to talk with someone who is clearly interested in what he has to say, feelings he hasn't had with Kate in some time.

The more time he spends with Courtney (when he is supposed to be home with Kate), the more drawn to her he becomes. And as she tempts him into some fairly reckless behavior, at the same time, Ron has flashes of conscience, moments when he wonders if all of this seems a little too good to be true. And then he readies himself for another miserable night with Kate, a night of accusations, arguments, and unhappiness.

I'll stop my plot summary here, because things certainly get more interesting! Having read many books and seen movies with a similar plot line, I definitely had expectations of how things would unfold, but Luke Narlee was having none of that! Guest Bed is surprising, tense, romantic, thought-provoking, and tremendously compelling.

As much as I've described Ron as a bit of a victim, Narlee doesn't allow his characters to be one-dimensional stereotypes. His characters are definitely more complex than they initially appear, and you're not sure which person to root for, or what conclusion you hope will occur. This is a book about the excitement of new love and how over time, it is often worn down and/or taken for granted because of the challenges of our everyday lives. It's also a story about trying to understand what happiness means to you, and how hard you're willing to fight to find it or keep it.

This is a quick, entertaining read, one which will draw you in pretty quickly and not let you go until the end!

The author and Take Exit 3 provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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