A Better Next by Maren Cooper, her debut novel that was released in May 2019 and another book being brought to you by Suzy Approved Book Tours.
About the book:
Jess Lawson, a forty-five-year-old healthcare consultant, wife, and mother of two, has spent most of her adulthood fostering the illusion of having a perfect life. Her impending empty-nest syndrome as her youngest child prepares to start college is troubling enough, but when her doctor husband, Arthur, announces his intention to take a prestigious new job on the other side of the country—and relocate with-out Jess—her world quickly crumbles. Amid their acrimonious divorce, revelations about Arthur’s infidelity come to light; and at work, instead of the revitalized career Jess is hoping for, she uncovers surprising financial corruption that threatens a scandal for her client—and the well-being of the many unsuspecting patients and physicians they serve. Ultimately, this superwoman is forced to acknowledge that her put-together veneer can’t hold up under the weight of these new burdens. She also, however, refuses to wallow in victimhood. So what now?
A smart, relatable story for every woman who’s gone bold to sort out her next chapter, A Better Next shows how—with a little soul searching and a supportive circle of friends and colleagues—it’s possible to redefine happiness and establish a liberating, new normal at any stage of life.
2019 International Book Awards Finalist, Fiction: Chick-Lit/Women’s Lit
“Both sprightly and deeply felt, A Better Next captures the losses, trade-offs, and rewards of the contemporary career woman/wife/mother. Many are the women who will recognize themselves in Jess’ story.” —Faith Sullivan, award-winning author of Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse
“Take a woman determined to move on from a failed marriage, give her the support of loyal women friends, and plunge her into a morally challenging, high-level business merger: now that’s a story that will keep you turning the pages late into the night!” —Jenni Ogden, author of A Drop in the Ocean
“Maren Cooper has created memorable characters, especially in Jess, a smart, strong, and savvy hospital consultant who is blindsided by her husband’s affair. The situation may be universal but the story is unique, making for a page-turner tribute to friendships and families.” —Romalyn Tilghman, author of Through the Stars with Difficulty
“Maren Cooper’s touching debut details one woman’s journey through divorce and professional challenge. Jess Lawson is devoted to her family and its veneer of perfection, but in her preoccupation with work, she fails to acknowledge her disintegrating marriage. Featuring a strong female protagonist who takes charge of her life, A Better Next would be a fitting and meaningful read for those entering new chapters in their lives.” —Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, author of Eden
“Jess Lawson is an expert multi-tasker, successfully juggling marriage, family, and career. Yet when her husband announces that he’s through, things threaten to spin out of control. Can she hang on, restore balance, and put everything right? Or must she accept what she can’t control? Maren Cooper’s debut novel takes the reader on Jess’s personal journey with skill, compassion, and insight. A Better Next is a lovely read.” —Anne Leigh Parrish, author of The Amendment
“A Better Next is a sensitive drama that follows the day-by-day challenges of starting over.” —Foreword Reviews
Do you ever get tired of hearing book reviewers say “this one was good?” It gets kind of hard for us as as reviewers to keep things exciting without giving you the same old lines, but sometimes you just can’t help but say “THIS ONE WAS GOOD.”
So Jess Lawson is a married middle aged working mother who is about to start the “empty nest” phase of her marriage. Her physician husband Arthur starts to become distant, and Jess just blames it on the stress they’ve encountered since Jess’s healthcare consulting firm started working with Arthur’s University in a major merger. When Jess attempts to work on her marriage she soon learns that her husbands “coldness” has more to do with his infidelity (and multiple ones at that) as well as his desire to get divorced and take a job elsewhere. Jess now has to learn a whole new version of empty nest.
While starting a whole new phase in life she did not expect, Jess continues to work with her consulting firm and Arthur’s former colleagues, and soon finds a financial corruption scandal that could affect everything. Fortunately, with a great group of friends Jess learns how to navigate her way though a whole new path she never expected to be on.
This became a very emotional read for me. I became quite absorbed in the story very quickly and flew flew the chapters finding I did not want to put the book down. It’s not like you don’t know what you are getting into when you start reading the book. The synopsis clearly states what happens with this couple. But for anyone who has gone through this type of relationship or scenario, its the raw emotion and feelings expressed by Jess that you really can connect with. Maren Cooper was able to capture that essence and put it on paper, which is not easy to do. It was difficult to see Jess going through this horrible experience but so worth pushing through and seeing how she made things work. The majority of the second half of the book centers around how Jess reestablishes a new life for herself both personally and at work, and how she navigates life and dating on her own, almost giving the reader a cathartic like experience.
Yeah, this one was good. I think I liked it so much because I related to Jess on different levels and felt that Ms. Cooper’s dialogue and descriptions were spot on. I also was intrigued by the hospital merger storyline because of my medical background and it kept me turning the pages. Great debut by Maren Cooper, I really liked it. Definitely giving it 3 3/4 stars. Going to keep my eyes out for whatever she comes up with next.
I just would like to thank Maren Cooper, Suzanne Leopold of Suzy Approved Book Tours and (#partner) She Writes Press for the gifted copy of this book for my unbiased and honest opinion for review.
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About the Author
Maren Cooper grew up in the Midwest and now resides in Minnesota. During her long career as a health services executive, she led a number of organizations in their efforts to respond to the challenges of new, competitive business models, im-prove their operating systems, and optimize their governance structures. A lifelong reader, Cooper recently discovered the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, began taking classes, and slowly unearthed the aspiring writer inside her. She writes best on the shore of Lake Superior, where she retreats frequently to hike, watch the deer devour her hostas, and needlepoint. https://marencooper.com/
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