A Better Man by Leah McLaren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"Maya wants Nick to be less of a workaholic, to come home earlier, to spend some time with his children. Nick wants a divorce. With his mind made up, Nick is determined to leave quickly and with dignity, but it comes as an unpleasant shock to realise how much it will cost him to walk away. As a stay-at-home mum, Maya is entitled to everything. Nick is resolute, so when an unlikely solution presents itself he gives it everything he's got. If Nick becomes a better husband and father, if he encourages his wife to rediscover herself, the more self-sufficient Maya will become: and the cheaper Nick's pay-out. But as Nick pretends to be a better man he becomes one. He remembers his connection with Maya, their ability to be a couple and not just parents who share a house. Everything seems to be back on track. Until Maya finds out exactly what Nick has been planning..."
This story is told by the male of this partnership - an unusual angle - tells the story of Nick and Maya the seemingly perfect couple with their darling twins and ideal life and the revelation that Nick wants a divorce.
It seems that since the birth of his children he finds it hard to cope or adapt to parenthood while Maya appears to embrace it which is driving a wedge between them. He believes that Maya is a natural mother but does not realise that she is having just as much a hard time coping as he it, she is having to learn as she goes along which is what Nick should be doing instead of which he chooses work as an escape route and the gap between them just gets wider. Nick decides that he wants out, a divorce. Before she gave up work to start a family Maya was a lawyer and although she loves her children she misses being able to work as well. Nick confides in an old friend Adam Grey (also happens to be a top billing family lawyer in the city's biggest firm) that he wants to divorce Maya, that is his intention until Adam shows him just how much it will cost him. Nick is resigned then that he can't afford to divorce until Adam suggests a 'way out' and convinces him that if he were to treat her better, wine and dine her, take her on holidays, become a better man, suggest she go back to work and say he'll help out with child care then when he does petition for divorce she will be unable to say she is totally dependant on him and won't get everything in settlement. Gray suggests 6 months of this would be enough to make it work. Nick decides this is for him and immediately embarks on the 'new man' strategy.
So the story is set in motion; I struggled with this in the respect that Maya apparently being a divorce lawyer herself does not 'smell a rat' and it was a bit much to expect that she would be so gullible. I also felt it made her look a bit feeble and needy so it didn't really work for me.
The story rumbles along, a bit slower than I would have liked and ended up very much as expected. No surprises or curve balls, no excitement or fizz - quite disappointing.
It's an OK read if you accept women as being feeble, weak, gullible, shallow and stupid but not really a modern day depiction of females so not really believable. If you're looking for a book that is just a frivolous read then it's OK but not really a page turner or a memorable read, very predictable, very ordinary.
From being Nicks' story at the start it essentially turned into Maya's story which was disappointing as having started from the man's point of view and an unusual angle (also a unique selling point) I felt that the author really missed an opportunity here. Because of this I can only really give it a 3 star rating.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.