Review: While My Wife's Away by James Lear

To all appearances, Joe Heath is a typical straight married man, living with his wife and two teenage children, commuting to work, playing sports and going to the gym, enjoying a beer and a barbecue. But there are things about Joe that his friends don't know. For one thing, his relationship with his wife has deteriorated to the point that they're sleeping in separate bedrooms, only staying together until the kids have left home. And there's something else: for the last few years, Joe has wanted to have sex with another man.

While My Wife's Away recounts Joe's recognition of his sexual nature in a series of encounters--some short, some repeated, some comic, some sad, all of them extremely hot in the way that only James Lear can make them. Each chapter is a self-contained episode from Joe's life, but throughout the book we see him coming to terms with what he really is, and struggling with his feelings of guilt and betrayal as it becomes clear that his marriage is over. Much of the dramatic tension in the book arises from the difficulties of negotiating his family life with his new personal life, the awkwardness and potential disaster inherent in each situation.

Well that was a very interesting book which left me with very mixed emotions. I love a good cheating book, one where the relationship is shrouded in taboo, lust and a splash of guilt. However be aware, this isn't a love story. This isn't the story of a man falling in love with another man while he happens to be married. This is the story of a lonely but selfish man who is searching for a connection with someone.

Don't expect to like Joe, he's very self indulgent and knows it. Don't expect a HEA, there isn't one. Some people would say there's a HFN, which I guess for some parts of Joe's life that's true, for some others... absolutely not. Despite all of this I felt for Joe and felt with him, probably because this was so well written. We understand Joe on such depth you can’t help but feel his loneliness and want him to find his HEA and then in the same breath he can make you feel sooo angry you just want to punch his silly head.

I've read a few books where the whole mindset of the cheater was very glossed over because let's face it, it's not a pretty thing, but that was not done here. One of my most favorite aspects of this story was seeing Joe's own justifications of what he was doing, it felt very realistic to cheaters. For example after one of his trysts he comes home feeling guilty, ready to make up with his wife, when he finds she's not there he is angry at her for missing her chance at making up. Like I said not pretty, but quite realistic.

Now all of this is sounding pretty depressing, which is totally not my thing, so why 4 hearts? The sex. Seriously, the sex! Joe plays with voyeurism, exhibitionism, threesomes and moresomes, subbing and dominating, he has sweet sex and rough sex…. Really he does it all!

The end of this story really started to stress me out, like I said some of Joe’s life works out for the better while others don’t. By this stage in the story, he’s so used to feeling connected to the men he has meaningless sex with that he can’t separate sex from human connection and it gets him into some real pickles...

I really enjoyed this story, the sex was hot hot hot and varied. Joe was a complex and realistic character but man I was stressed out reading this towards the end and couldn't help but feel sooooo angry at Joe. If you go into this knowing it's not a love story I think a lot of people could really enjoy it, just be prepared to feel a large amount of different emotions.

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