Covet - Tracey Garvis Graves Preorder: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audible.Releases: September 17, 2013.There are certain authors whose books you will snap up having not read a single thing about them just because that author wrote them. For me, Tracey Garvis-Graves is at the tippy top of that snap-up list. Reading On the Island earlier this year practically changed my life. I knew when I saw Covet listed for her, that I would do very bad things to get my hands on a copy. Thankfully, no one was harmed to get this ARC.To start, one of the things that I really enjoy about the way Tracey writes is her ability to let the events unfold at such a natural pace. She doesn’t rely on a constant outpouring of angst and excitement to convey her story. Everything that happens occurs organically, effortlessly. This makes the novel seem so much more relateable and realistic.Chris and Claire Canton are living the all-American dream, or so it would seem to the unassuming eye. Even to most of their close friends and neighbors. However, there’s a different story behind closed doors.Having been laid off a year and a half prior, Chris has retreated inside himself, pulled away from his wife, in order to deal with the disappointment and shame. Chris is a natural hardworking go-getter. His whole life has been a predictable upswing of events. He landed an incredible job and got a series of promotion after promotion. When the economy took a turn for the worse and the company was faced with incredible cutbacks, he never expected that he’d be one of them. So he faces unemployment with the same tunnel vision that he did to achieve his success. Only in doing so, he beings to leave his wife out more and more.“I’m trying to hold on, Elisa. I am. But there is always something more important to Chris than me.”Claire tries to be as supportive of a wife as she can be. She understood how put out and hopeless her husbands unemployment made him feel. I’m sure there’s a lot of emasculation going on there as well. Most men are doers and providers and taking that purpose away leaves them feeling helpless. The way in which Tracey portrays the subtle changes in their relationship as the distance between them grows is absolute perfections. Their relationship wasn’t suffering from a major blowout or difference. They were great together, almost inhumanly happy. But it’s the little things that began to drive them apart. Not sitting down to dinner together, relaxing on the couch during movies, going on dates. Little separations that, when put together, left a chasm between them.I wonder how many marriages are fractured and damaged beyond repair by complacency rather than any single traumatic event.Fortunately, or unfortunately, Chris is offered another job. One that requires he travel a few days a week. Though grateful to be gainfully employed once more, it doesn’t help their marriage one bit. I love that it showed Chris’ point of view on this as well. We see that he isn’t a bad guy, he’s trying to do right by his family and mistakenly believes that working harder, longer will make everything okay again.Maybe because I keep thinking that I’ll get caught up and then I can spend time with her without all this other shit getting in the way. But just when I think I’m close to getting caught up I get more work piled on top of me and then I fall behind again. It’s a vicious cycle.One day, Claire is stopped by a handsome police officer. Nothing happens then, but she immediately notices how attractive he is and the thoughts linger for a few days afterwards. They run into each other again and Daniel mentions a small job that the police department needs done – a new logo. Claire just so happens to be a graphic designer and offers her services. One casual lunch with friendly conversation inspires a connection with a man that she hasn’t felt since before Chris’s lay off.I realize that these are not the thoughts of a happily married woman, but at the moment I am not very happily married.A friendship between Daniel and Claire develops. The companionship with another man, emotional comfort, adult conversation, and subtle intimacy, fills the void in her life. Neither Daniel nor Claire begin their friendship consciously intending to become emotionally involved. They have no false ideas about getting together because it’s very clearly stated that she’s married and obviously unavailable. Daniel is suffering from events in is past, also clearly as lonely as Claire is. I think they both knew what line they were toeing, though. It was very subtly and masterfully done.Gradually they begin to care for one another as their casual outings turn into a constant. Rides together, movie dates, dinners, relaxing on the couch. All the things she should have been doing with Chris she did with Daniel, except actually physically being with him. Cheating-story haters will be pleased to learn there’s no actual physical cheating. Though some could argue she did emotionally cheat on Chris. I may have never physically cheated on Chris with Daniel, but I wanted to and that’s almost as bad.The story ends on a happy, somewhat conflicted note. It extols the virtues and resiliency of love and friendship. All parties have been through an emotionally trying time and though it’s not an out-and-out happily ever after the conclusion felt ‘right’. In situations like this there’s always going to be a tinge of melancholy, but I felt it was aptly done.