Thursday, May 1, 2014

THE IDEA OF HIM by Holly Peterson: A Review

THE IDEA OF HIM: A NOVEL by Holly Peterson
Published by William Morrow, April 1st 2014
Paperback & e-book, 384 pages
Contemporary Novel, Women's Fiction, Chick Lit
Mina's Bookshelf Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Buy it on Amazon

A fabulous and compelling story from Holly Peterson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Manny

 Allie Crawford has the life she always dreamed of—she's number two at a high-profile P.R. firm; she has two kids she adores; and her husband is a blend of handsome and heroic. Wade is everything she thought a man was supposed to be—he's running a successful news-magazine and, best of all, he provides the stable yet exciting New York City life Allie believes she needs in order to feel secure and happy. But when Allie finds Wade locked in their laundry room with a stunning blonde in snakeskin sandals, a scandal ensues that flips her life on its head. And when the woman wants to befriend Allie, an old flame calls, and a new guy gets a little too close for comfort, she starts to think her marriage is more of a facade than something real. Maybe she's fallen in love not with Wade—but with the idea of him. Captivating and seductive, told in the whip-smart voice of a woman who is working hard to keep her parenting and career on track, The Idea of Him is a novel of conspiracy, intrigue, and intense passion—and discovering your greatest strength through your deepest fears. 

A new wave of chick lit has been on a consistent rise in recent times: the new genre trend, launched in 2012 by publishing phenomenon Gone Girl, subverts the "happily ever after" trademark formula and exposes the dark and conflicting sides of the most intimate of relationships - the holy matrimony.  With a focus on the dysfunctional aspects of husband-wife dynamics, Gillian Flynn's wildly popular novel and a number of other successful forays into the complex territory of the psychological thriller genre (The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, The Silent Wife by  A.S.A. Harrison, Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson, How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman, Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse, etc.) target a  predominantly female readership with tales of secretive husbands, deception and lies, intimate betrayals and conflicts that shake the foundations of the domestic walls  and the sanctity of seemingly perfect marriages to their core.  

"The one place you should feel safe - your home - and the one person you should be safe with - your husband - become alien and threatening." (Lucy Scholes)

Bringing to the surface of a fictional mirror a fear that reflects a profound shift of values and habits in our modern society, the current enthusiasm for "chick noir" and "marriage thrillers" explores, with a range of nuances that vary from dry cynicism to dark comedy and family drama, the idea that our nearest life-partner may not be what he seems.

"In that instant, with that one glance in her direction, I knew my instincts over the past year were correct and that I had to stop glossing over problems; while on the surface we were status quo, something beneath had changed for him. Warm on the outside, cold on the inside." (Holly Peterson, The Idea Of Him)

Along these lines, THE IDEA OF HIM by New York Times bestselling author Holly Peterson represents an interesting variation on the 'marriage thriller' theme. Peterson's novel lacks the gloomy quality of a Flynn's murky drama, as it is brightened by the female leads' redemptive qualities, luminous path to self-awareness, romantic elements and glamorous setting. The disillusionment of the 'marriage fairy tale' is the thematic core of the former ABC News producer's  novel: the disturbing idea that our spouse could be hiding nasty secrets is pivotal in the unfolding of this suspenseful plot, but around that grassroots concept Peterson spins a riveting tale featuring high-finance schemes and stock market manipulations. 

The elitism of a glossy, high-profile Manhattan society may not exactly qualify as the most relatable story backdrop for part of the ideal women's fiction audience, but the appeal of Peterson's novel remains wide and profound: THE IDEA OF HIM resonates with emotional authenticity and relationship insights that will hit very close to home with many, many of us.

***Read my interview with the author HERE

***Review copy graciously offered by the publisher in return for an unbiased and honest opinion.


  1. I', so glad you enjoyed 'The Idea of Him'!

    1. More than you can imagine, Teddy! Thank you again for the opportunity to discover Holly Peterson and her fabulous work. #TeamAllieCrawford

  2. So brilliant! I love that you use the phrase "marriage thrillers" to capture this genre. This book is on my list of must-get!