“Don’t miss the beach read of the summer! A heartwarming and hilarious novel about swinging, marriage, and complexities of the heart.
Georgina Wagman has it all—a great marriage, a great job at a prestigious law firm, and great friends. She’s living the life she always wanted, and everything is perfect. Until, that is, she walks in on her husband Nathan in a compromising position with a junior associate. Georgina has a moment of crisis. But divorce is not a part of the five-year plan, so she comes up with an idea to save her marriage and recapture the spark. She and Nathan are going to become swingers.
Georgina isn’t going to embark on this adventure alone, though. Her friends Felix and Norah and their respective partners decide to tag along for the ride. They’ve got relationship woes of their own that swinging just might fix. Georgina, convinced Felix and Norah belong together, is thrilled. What better place to reignite romance between two people destined to be together than a swingers’ party? Her plan is foolproof, until she runs into a college ex at the first party. When they reconnect, Georgina will find herself torn between her head and her heart, with her very happiness hanging in the balance. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Weiner and Sophie Kinsella, The Lifestyle is a playful homage to Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse and an outrageously fun summer read.”
I try to be open-minded about many things, including how others live their lives. However, I must have forgotten the synopsis of the book when I finally got down to reading The Lifestyle by Taylor Hahn, I was a little shocked to read it was about swingers (that is what they used to be called. Now, apparently, it’s called “the lifestyle.”) I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of the book from NetGalley and Anchor Books in exchange for an honest review.
The Lifestyle (Amazon) is being pushed as a beach or summer read. Well, for one thing, if I were browsing books in the store, I’d pass over the crude cartoonish cover. I certainly hope that the book gets a new cover sooner than later because it offers no appeal whatsoever. What a fail in the marketing department. The book is also being sold as a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. Apparently, that’s because there’s some attempted matchmaking.
Georgiana is a career-driven woman who is married to Nathan, who also has similar ambitions, or so she thinks. That is, until Georgiana walks in on Nathan and a junior associate at the law firm they all work at. Instead of leaving her husband, suggesting therapy, or something you know, more sane, she decides to suggest they try the lifestyle as a way to bring them closer. She heard from a client what a life-changing experience it was so Georgiana thinks it will work with her and Nathan.
She also thinks that it’s time to get her two college buddies back together, despite the fact that one is married with three kids and the other is in a committed relationship. Quite frankly, there’s nothing charming about Georgina’s meddling with her friends’ relationships the way Austen’s Emma was. She should have spent more time focusing on her own relationship with her husband.
The swinging part of the book wasn’t as salacious as it seems from the outset. There are a couple of sex scenes, much like many other summer beach reads, but nothing really wild. While “the lifestyle” is not for everyone, it’s explored in a way to shed a light on some of the myths and mysteries of swinging.
I got fed up with Georgina’s matchmaking early on and never really warmed to her as a character. The reader does see growth in her character arc, but I found the other characters more interesting than her.
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