Review: The Sweetheart Deal

July 15, 2015 book review, books, family, fiction, Little Brown 3

The Sweetheart Deal

  • Written by:  Polly Dugan
  • Published by:  Little Brown and Company, May 19, 2015
  • Length:  320 pages
  • Source:  Publisher, for consideration of an honest review

Summary:  Leo has long joked that, in the event of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident.

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey’s feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.

My Thoughts:  Told in chapters and voices of Audrey, Garrett and the sons Audrey and Leo have, this book feels personal and intimate.  The shock of Leo’s sudden death hits everyone hard.  Audrey walks around in a daze, her close friends helping her to maintain the daily routine for her sons.  Garrett dedicates himself to completing an addition to the house Leo was working on, his intentions are pure and well meaning for Leo’s family.  The individual reactions by the sons are perhaps the most tender and heartbreaking chapters for me.  Christopher, Brian and Andrew face their own challenges.  I admired the way the author had them in group therapy, and was realistic in how each reacted to the death of their father.

Polly Dugan dug deep for her character development and it shows in all the details and raw emotion this family is experiencing. While the premise of a secret pact between friends seems very far fetched, I can see two young men coming up with  such a plan.  Lifelong friends share deep history, and wanting your wife to be cared for is natural.  Garrett had no intention of holding up his end of the deal, but when he finds himself having feelings for Audrey the lines of right and wrong become blurred.  They both look to each other for comfort, but is having sex with your husband’s best friend going too far?

I liked the premise of this book, I was curious as to how it would end up, and I have to say I enjoyed it very much.  It was a stretch of my usual type of book.  It was more emotional, very character driven and yet the more realistic aspects drove home the story for me.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a story of overcoming tragedy.  I think it would make a good book club read too.

3 Responses to “Review: The Sweetheart Deal”

  1. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I feel like I’ve heard of another book with this same premise…but I can’t remember the name right now! And, I definitely think it would make an interesting book club discussion!

    • Anita

      It’s funny Sarah, because I thought I’d read another book with a similar premise, or heard of one, but I’m drawing a blank. Think we read too many books? ha ha

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