Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn't share it with anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know--and how much should we want to know--about the people we love the most?
After six years of marriage, the unshakeable confidence Cass felt on her wedding day is decidedly gone. Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten with Cass. It's true that the personality quirks he once found charming in his wife--her complexity, her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes--are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in an otherwise healthy relationship. So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital 'intermission': a six-month separation during which they'll figure out if the comfortable life they've built together is, in fact, the one they both want.
After Cass and Jonathan devise an absurd and jet lag-inducing plan to swap custody of their beloved dog every thirty days, they decide that (aside from their monthly canine exchange) the intermission will be a time for self-reflection--and not a time for talking. But, as the months pass, Cass and Jonathan begin to see that the very worst of their problems are rooted in just these kinds of calculated silences--and in a delicate web of blistering secrets they may never be ready to share.
Cass knew the minute she laid eyes on Jonathan Coyne that she would spend the rest of her life with him. He’s everything that a lost little girl growing up in blue collar Michigan could ever ask for.
But after six years together, everything has changed.
She’s haunted by the untruth that started them down this path of uncertainty and wonders how her life would have been different without it.
Is her marriage truly real or just the result of a lonely college girl’s master plan? There’s only one way to find out.
Yes, she had secrets she kept from her husband, but they were never of the mundane variety. And on good days she could delude herself into believing that a healthy relationship wasn’t based on revealing the deepest parts of oneself, it was about exchanging the day-to-day freely. That marriage was trading the bits and snippets that make up a life with someone who cared: what was had for lunch, whose breath was deadly at work. That had been her and Jonathan for years, and until it was time to have a child, it had seemed to be adequate. Now even that part was disintegrating.
Jonathan Coyne always admired his wife. She’s artistic, strong and beautiful. He never paid any mind to the fact that she didn’t come from the same moneyed background that he did. Her heart always fit his perfectly.
Or so he thought.
When Cass suggests that they somehow hit the pause button on their marriage, he’s left battling feelings of guilt and anger. After all, she was the one thing that he could always count on and now she’s building another life without him on the other side of the country. He should move on and do the same.
After six months apart – will they come back together stronger than before or will they finally realize that the love they thought they had was never meant to be at all?
Since the moment Cass declared the intermission, he’d nurtured a gut feeling that his wife would eventually return to him. Some weeks he felt it more than others, but the basic idea was always there, migrating between the deepest recesses of his brain and his outermost thoughts. Now the certainty evaporated. Especially the part where something he might do or say would be just the thing to reel her back in. He now believed that he was powerless to determine his future with respect to his wife.
The Intermission is a stunning and honest look at relationships. Every single one is as different as the people in them. Hearts can beat with passion but they can also hold endless mysteries that can either build or destroy. And it’s her smart exploration of this eternal paradox that makes Elyssa’s book so completely engrossing.
It’s sincere, thought-provoking and maddening all at the same time. And it makes you want to hold that special someone just a little bit tighter…
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