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Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova

To the naked eye, Maddy and Ben Ilica have it all. Maddy is a social worker who also runs a support group for battered women in her spare time. Ben is a successful public defender passionate about his work. Together, the couple is raising three kids.

In the privacy of their own home, however, the Ilicas are coming apart. Ben’s passion at work often translates into angry outbursts at home when the smallest of things don’t go his way. He has never raised a hand on Maddy but his emotional abuse cuts deep and Maddy never knows whether the Ben who comes will be sweet and loving or irate and cruel. To quell her anxiety about her husband’s behavior, Maddy often resorts to taking prescription pills–just to take the edge off.

When Maddy’s car is towed and she is stranded in a questionable neighborhood, her first instinct is to call Ben. Ben, livid to have his day interrupted, berates Maddy on the drive back and pushes his sporty car to its limits on a dangerous curve, cutting off another driver. Ben’s reckless behavior causes their car to spin out, leaving Maddy barely hanging on to life in the hospital.

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers is not loud or flashy in the way that many bestsellers are these days; it’s true merit lies in the compelling, true to life description of a family at the brink of disaster. I’ve always questioned the rationale of women who stay with or go back to abusive husbands of boyfriends but Meyers’ Maddy made me understand that these situations are not always as black and white as they seem to be to an outside observer. Maddy was never physically abused but nevertheless lived in constant fear of the man who was supposed to be her best friend, her partner in life. In a way, the emotional abuse depicted by Meyers can be even more devastating since it is harder to explain to others and easier to justify to oneself.

With the family-centric storyline and alternating view points, Accidents of Marriage reminded me of some of the Jodi Picoult’s – my favorite writer – books. I will definitely be on the lookout for future releases from Meyers!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Review and giveaway copies were provided by Atria Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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