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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan

The three lives title comes from a Gabriel Garcia Marquez quote, referring to everyone having three metaphorical lives - public, private and secret. Publicly, Jade has a perfect life; an up-and-coming social media influencer, pregnant and engaged to successful architect Greg. Even though he’s a lot older than her, in the middle of a divorce and his kids hate her, Jade loves him. Their lives are upended, though, by a vicious attack which leaves Greg fighting for his life and Jade devastated by a miscarriage. In the wake of the attack, wondering who and why consumes them both. Secrets Jade hasn’t shared with Greg might be the cause, and desperate to spare him further pain, she hides her investigation from him… unaware that Greg is being fed bad information about her, making him paranoid and convinced she’s out to get him.

There’s an added layer of nuance here in the fact that Jade is Black, of Jamaican origins, and Greg is white. He has no conceptions of the micro-aggressions she faces on a daily basis, even living a fairly privileged life.

I really didn’t like Greg at all, to be honest. Even knowing he had a brain injury, his actions were beyond the pale; at one point he physically strikes Jade and that’s a deal-breaker for me, so I’m afraid I did not like the ending of the book where they appear to be living a happily ever after together. He crossed a line there’s no coming back from, and literally the only thing Jade is guilty of is wanting to be better than her origins, so it was just unforgivable.

It was fairly obvious from early on that the suspect pool was quite small and what the motivation was likely to be, but I didn’t see the exact way things played out coming. It was actually predictable considering Greg’s character failings, that his past actions had set up the present problems… which left me wondering if, even after everything that happened, he had fundamentally changed enough not to fail in such a way again, leaving others to pay the price.

This is well written and Jade was a sympathetic protagonist, but I struggled to see what she saw in Greg and why on earth she would go back to him at the end of the story. Overall, I’ll give it four stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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