Title: As Good As Dead
Author: Elizabeth Evans
Genre: Literary/Fiction (Adult)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review.
At the high-octane Iowa Writers’ Workshop, small-town Charlotte is thrilled and confounded by her relationship with charismatic and sophisticated Esme: One moment, Esme is Charlotte’s best friend; the next, Esme shuns her. After a tumultuous weekend, Charlotte’s insecurities and her resentment over Esme’s confusing behavior reach a fever pitch. Blindly, Charlotte betrays her friend- in the process, unleashing a cascade of calamities on her own head.
Twenty years later, Charlotte is a married novelist and professor- when Esme returns, bringing the past that Charlotte grieved over, and believed buried, to Charlotte’s doorstep. Charlotte is both mystified and elated by friend’s reappearance. Though she yearns to redeem the old friendship and her transgression, she is wary, and rightly so: Esme makes no mention of Charlotte’s old betrayal but her invitation to dinner leads to a request- one that is highly unethical and includes an unstated threat.
Charlotte is faced with a choice: comply and violate her integrity or refuse and risk the destruction of her marriage. As Good As Dead performs an exquisitely tuned psychological high-wire act as it explores the dangers that lie in wait when trust is poisoned by secrets and fears.
In this book, you will see how the past really does shape the future. The characters are very relatable and it’s easy to connect with them. Almost everyone has that one friend who they want to accept them no matter what. This is how Charlotte feels about Esme.
Charlotte is shy and insecure where as Esme claims to be shy but seems to be the exact opposite. Charlotte yearns to be accepted as Esme’s friend and Esme knows it. Esme treats Charlotte in a confusing way; one minute she’s listening to Charlotte attentively, the next, ignoring her. One day Charlotte has had enough and feeling betrayed she commits the ultimate betrayal herself.
Twenty years later, Esme returns to blackmail Charlotte for that betrayal. This puts Charlotte’s marriage and integrity on the line. While I admit, I didn’t care too much for Will, Charlotte’s husband, I definitely didn’t want their marriage to be put in jeopardy over something that happened such a long time before. I could see why Charlotte fell in love with him in the first place so I tried to like him.
I love the way this book is written in the present with flash backs to twenty years previous. The flashbacks always relate to something that is currently going on in Charlotte’s life. I also like that there are other lessons present in the book than just the ones that pertain to the betrayal of Charlotte and Esme’s friendship. The reader really gets to see Charlotte grow as a person and by the end Charlotte has many redeeming qualities.
Rating: 4 stars