Publisher: Skyhorse (Reprint Edition)
Release Date: May 02, 2021
Genre: Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Life is sweet for New Yorkers Molly and Gabe: They’re young, in love, and newly engaged.
But when Gabe sells his first novel—a thinly-veiled retelling of his wild love affair with ex-girlfriend Talia—and it becomes a national sensation, Molly can’t help but feel like the third wheel. To make matters worse, Talia reappears in Gabe’s life, eager to capitalize on the book’s success and to rekindle what she had with Gabe… at least, that’s how it seems to Molly. But even more concerning? Gabe doesn’t seem concerned at all. Instead, he’s delighting in his newfound fame and success.
Jealous, paranoid, and increasingly desperate, Molly starts to spin out of control. Her social life, work life, and love life all go to pieces. As fact and fiction, and past and present, begin to blur, Molly realizes the only way out of this downward spiral is to fight her way back up. But what—if anything—will be left of her life and her relationship when she arrives?
Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jennifer Weiner, OTHERWISE ENGAGED explores the life we seek when the life we have… suddenly goes down the drain.
Otherwise Engaged by Lindsey J. Palmer definitely gives new meaning to the term unlikeable characters. There were about 3 that I actually liked in the book (Molly’s mom, her mom’s love interest, and her brother Leo), and I’m not sure if I actually liked Molly or not. This for me was not a bad thing and even though I love likable characters as much as anyone else, the unlikeable ones are what really make things interesting. The story is basically what happens after Molly’s boyfriend-turned-fiancé Gabe writes a book about his ex-girlfriend Talia, and I can tell you it is not pretty. Molly basically loses her mind and a lot of other things in the process, and we get to watch as she tries to right the train wreck that has become her life. Gabe is a pretty awful man, and I was rooting for Molly to kick him to the curb the entire time.
There is also a book-within-a-book in Otherwise Engaged, and Palmer lets you read parts of Gabe’s very disturbing novel. I actually really enjoyed this, and I think it gives the reader an idea of what Gabe is like even though he says it’s just fiction. I was hooked from the very first page and it is a pretty short novel as well so it was a quick read, even though I would call it a slow burn overall. There were some fun laugh-out-loud moments, and even though Molly really struggled, I liked where she ended up as a person when all is said and done. There are also a couple of heavy topics that Palmer took on which added more depth to the story as well. I think if you are a fan of slow-burn women’s/domestic fiction and don’t mind unlikeable characters Otherwise Engaged would be a good book to check out.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.