The Intermission
Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn't share it with anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know--and how much should we want to know--about the people we love the most?After six years of marriage, the unshakeable confidence Cass felt on her wedding day is decidedly gone. Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten with Cass. It's true that the personality quirks he once found charming in his wife--her complexity, her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes--are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in an otherwise healthy relationship. So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital 'intermission': a six-month separation during which they'll figure out if the comfortable life they've built together is, in fact, the one they both want. After Cass and Jonathan devise an absurd and jet lag-inducing plan to swap custody of their beloved dog every thirty days, they decide that (aside from their monthly canine exchange) the intermission will be a time for self-reflection--and not a time for talking. But, as the months pass, Cass and Jonathan begin to see that the very worst of their problems are rooted in just these kinds of calculated silences--and in a delicate web of blistering secrets they may never be ready to share

The Intermission Details

TitleThe Intermission
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 3rd, 2018
PublisherBerkley Books
ISBN-139780399586866
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary

The Intermission Review

  • Theresa Alan
    January 1, 1970
    This novel, about a couple who has been married for five years, together for six, is not plot driven. When Cass and Jonathon decide to take a time out from each other before they have kids, both have been thinking about the good and bad parts of their marriage. The prospect of bringing a kid into the world brings the problem aspects into a new light. Both of them have secrets from each other that they are ashamed of, but the secrets don’t strike me as the kind of thing they couldn’t talk through This novel, about a couple who has been married for five years, together for six, is not plot driven. When Cass and Jonathon decide to take a time out from each other before they have kids, both have been thinking about the good and bad parts of their marriage. The prospect of bringing a kid into the world brings the problem aspects into a new light. Both of them have secrets from each other that they are ashamed of, but the secrets don’t strike me as the kind of thing they couldn’t talk through. I do understand that if you hide the truth or go along with one version of reality, bringing it up later can seem like a bigger deal than it otherwise would be. We all tend to present our best selves when we’re dating—but then what happens when the details you leave out of your history haunt you later when the dating leads to marriage?I liked the fact that Cass’s past of financial struggle with two divorced parents who were less than reliable puts an automatic fissure of tension in becoming part of Jonathon’s blue blood family. If you’re looking for a page turner that will keep you up all night, this isn’t it, but there is some beautiful writing. Toward the end, the twists and turns did pick up.Thanks so much to NetGalley and Berkley Books for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES JULY 3, 2018.
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    “What three things do you want most out of life? You know, for us? Jonathan asked Cass after they had been engaged for six hours. Shall we evaluate Cass’s answers? And Jonathan’s response? If ‘you’re’ married ....what might ‘your’ answers have been (at that time in your life when you were young - freshly in love - yet also clear you were a whole complete independent individual person?)Here is how Cass answered those questions? “One: I want to be with you forever”.“Two: Beautiful babies.Two or th “What three things do you want most out of life? You know, for us? Jonathan asked Cass after they had been engaged for six hours. Shall we evaluate Cass’s answers? And Jonathan’s response? If ‘you’re’ married ....what might ‘your’ answers have been (at that time in your life when you were young - freshly in love - yet also clear you were a whole complete independent individual person?)Here is how Cass answered those questions? “One: I want to be with you forever”.“Two: Beautiful babies.Two or three little us-es”.“Three: I want never to be petty”. Jonathan: ....( thinking) ..”Her words drifted to his ears like a cloud of baby powder raining on him softly.” Tells Cass: “I couldn’t agree more”. My thoughts: the question was doomed from the start. It’s an ‘ok’ question for an opening for further deeper conversation— but it’s so incomplete that one must laugh. And what guy do you know ‘thinks’ of clouds of baby powder? A little funny.....but I enjoyed the giggle.If couples ‘really’ get married off conversations like the above - no wonder the divorce rate is high. Turns out those 3 questions - which they so easily agreed on as if “problems solved”....wasn’t so ‘steady’ afterall. “The Intermission” asks the question “how well do you know your spouse by looking at their 5 year marriage of Jonathan and Cass Coynes. The chapters alternate between Jonathan and Cass each telling their story.We know from the title of the book - “The Intermission”- (a break, interlude, pause, recess, halftime, temporarily ceased), that this marriage isn’t ending in divorce by the time we finish the book.....but what we don’t know is what their struggles are yet.......their perpetrations with each other...and what will get disclosed from each one of them. Cass proposes ‘the intermission’, catching Jonathan completely off guard. She has secrets to hide. He didn’t see the break-request coming ‘what-so-ever’ and was shocked. Not to worry for the guy, though, ...he has daggers hidden too. Personally - I’ve never been a fan of the separation plan as a tool when solving marital problems —- but it makes for a juicy —‘what’s coming down the pipes next’, storyline. A six month separation begins: living on two opposite sides of the country - taking turns passing their dog back and forth sounded extreme and chaotic to me - which it was ....(better them than you, right 🙂).More time was spent looking at the couple’s relationship before and during their ‘intermission’, .....very little examination after. I think we are suppose to just be happy that Cass and Jonathan were back living together - back on the treadmill — a little more clear that they could never be ‘so clear’ of how things will turn out ‘forever’......but having hopes was still nice. Final thoughts....this isn’t “The Amateur Marriage”, by relationship queen - Anne Tyler.... It’s not a deceptively disarming rich book with piercing psychology......But we do witness a couple fumbling through life - with their own issues - and with each other - Author Elyssa Friedland shows a playful spunky side in her writing through her characters — I like her sparkly spirit. At times Cass was pretentious and Jonathan gullible — but in the end we ‘feel’ the ‘love’ for this twinkling couple. This isn’t rocket science— it’s a solid beach book type......a break from wars, poverty, racism, and other injustice in the world. Thank You Berkley Publishing, Netgalley, and Elyssa Friedland3.5
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  • Berit☀️✨Traveling Sister✨
    January 1, 1970
    4 A Marriage Interrupted Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 intermission: an interval between two parts of an event ie a marriage...Cass and Jonathan have been married for six years... from the outside they appear to be the couple who have everything... great jobs, a beautiful apartment, disposable income.... but, both Cass and Jonathan have secrets and doubts... so, before they start trying to have kids Cass decides they need a break... an intermission.... A six-month timeperiod Where they can figure out if they are h 4 A Marriage Interrupted Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 intermission: an interval between two parts of an event ie a marriage...Cass and Jonathan have been married for six years... from the outside they appear to be the couple who have everything... great jobs, a beautiful apartment, disposable income.... but, both Cass and Jonathan have secrets and doubts... so, before they start trying to have kids Cass decides they need a break... an intermission.... A six-month timeperiod Where they can figure out if they are happy in their marriage, if they are with the “right” person.... but, will this truly be an intermission or will it be the final act???I found this an interesting idea... I also think if my ex-husband had approached me with this idea my reaction would have been... hasta la vista 🤬 during this time out Cass takes a job in LA and moves to the opposite coast... this leads to a crazy custody arrangement with their dog flying him every 30 days across the country usually on the redeye.... this also leads to more distance and more room for doubts... both Cass and Jonathan made some bad and telling decisions during this intermission.... it is always interesting to take a peek into other peoples relationships, probably why we all have such a fascination with reality television.... I spent most of this book trying not to pass judgment and analyzing the relationship between these two... should they stay together or are they better off apart?I found Jonathan the more likable and sympathetic of this couple...Cass came across a bit selfish and calculating.... I also found most of the marriage problems stemming from her insecurities that were routed in her dysfunctional childhood, so very understandable.... we all bring so much baggage to a marriage, don’t we? We all probably bring some secrets as well, does your spells know absolutely everything about you? Now of course all secrets are not created equally.... I just read the blurb for this book, in the blurb the secrets in this marriage are described as “gut wrenching” ummm... I don’t think so, and I really think Cass’s secret was blown out of proportion... by her! Jonathan was a pretty understanding and devoted guy I think he would’ve really been OK with it, but.... then they would have had to open up and be completely honest with one another, something Cass had some trouble with.... I think the issues in this marriage could’ve been solved with some good marriage counseling, but then we wouldn’t of had this most interesting book....Absolutely recommend to those of you who enjoy a character driven story about relationships and human behavior.... and if you are like me and like to play amateur psychologist this one is definitely for you!*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Putting this one on pause for now. Still in a funky slump and I want to give it a fair chance later on since it seems like something I’ll enjoy. Won via Goodreads Giveaway!
  • Meredith B. (readingwithmere)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsThe first thing I need to say is this book made me appreciate my marriage SO much more. I'm super glad that my marriage is 100% honest, real and there aren't any big secrets being withheld. Cass and Jonathan have been married for 5 years. They are young and living the New York dream. He's successful and she works for her dream boss - someone who she sees as a big brother. Then tragedy strikes when Cass's boss Percy gets sick. Cass decides to leave her company and since accordingly to th 3.5 StarsThe first thing I need to say is this book made me appreciate my marriage SO much more. I'm super glad that my marriage is 100% honest, real and there aren't any big secrets being withheld. Cass and Jonathan have been married for 5 years. They are young and living the New York dream. He's successful and she works for her dream boss - someone who she sees as a big brother. Then tragedy strikes when Cass's boss Percy gets sick. Cass decides to leave her company and since accordingly to the marriage timeline it's baby making time she thinks its fine to no longer work. The night they had "baby making time" scheduling in the calendar, when they were about to go for it, Cass says they need a break or intermission. From here we go on a journey from New York to LA with Cass and Jonathan and a test of their relationship.It's worth noting that Cass and Jonathan come from very different backgrounds. He comes from a wealthy family and she comes from a not so wealthy family. They met in college and then met again by "fate" in New York a few years later but since they've been together they may have never been totally honest with each other because they're afraid of what the other may think. Could you continue being with your spouse if that was the case? Not sure I could.When I heard about this book I was SO excited. My husband and I have been married just under 2 years but together for almost 10. I like to read books on marriage to see different perspectives. This book started out good for me but then I found myself getting frustrated with the characters. I just kept saying over and over again "I would never do this to my husband, he'd never do this to me" which for me that's great but that's not the reality for everyone. As frustrated as I got with Cass and Jonathan (mostly Cass), I give the author props for writing a story that is probably very relatable for a lot of couples out there. I think a lot of the time people do try to impress each other and are scared to be vulnerable, even when they are married.I would suggest going into this with an open mind and try not to judge too much (whoops) of someone else's relationship. It may seem perfect on the outside but you never know whats going on in the inside. And Hey it may even give you a new appreciation for your relationship and spouse!
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  • Emer
    January 1, 1970
    'The Intermission' was a fantastic page turning read that I gobbled up over the course of one hot, languid day. It's an utterly compelling read that throws back the curtains on the details of a marriage that from the outside looks perfect. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of the wife Cas and her husband Jonathan and this format really helps to get the reader inside the heads of these characters and to unmask all the secrets that they have been hiding from each other. After a f 'The Intermission' was a fantastic page turning read that I gobbled up over the course of one hot, languid day. It's an utterly compelling read that throws back the curtains on the details of a marriage that from the outside looks perfect. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of the wife Cas and her husband Jonathan and this format really helps to get the reader inside the heads of these characters and to unmask all the secrets that they have been hiding from each other. After a few short years into their marriage Cas and Jonathan have decided the time is right to try for a baby. They both seemingly love each other and are happy... But there are little things. Tiny things that grate on each other. Personality clashes, lifestyle clashes, family clashes.... No one thing that truly seems like a deal breaker but all of a sudden Cas decides that she and Jonathan need to be completely sure of thei compatibility and love for each other before they bring a child into their relationship and so she requests an 'intermission'. This is a six month separation period during which they have to figure out if their marriage and life together is really everything they want. As the old adage goes there really are two sides to every story and the dual perspective in this novel really exploited that to perfection. Both Cas and Jonathan were such interesting characters to read about. Neither character was without fault or blame for the problems in their marriage so as I was reading I kept flip-flopping from which character I believed more. From who was on the side of right... And really, neither character was ever right. They, at times, each were utterly hateful and selfish, and at others so secretive and disingenuous, and this made the book feel all the more realistic. No character was put on a pedestal by the author. Instead she gave us well-rounded and thoroughly believable characters that felt completely human in their fallibility. These characters made tonnes of both mistakes and choices that were nothing short of questionable. At times I didn't like either of them and didn't see how I could root for them to find happiness either together or separately... But then this made the story all the more compelling. Because it showed how really, as humans, we all try to hide these parts of ourselves that we don't like even from the people we are the closest to, the ones we love the most. The supporting cast of characters provided a backdrop to the main events of the novel and really helped to paint the picture of how your friends and family can really impact your attitudes to marriage and your honesty with your spouse. This was an immensely enjoyable, fast-paced read with a lot of bite as it really gives the reader a lot to think about when it comes to marriage due to its incisive dissection of this most vaulted of human relationships. Definitely one of the must read books of summer 2018. Highly recommended four and a half stars*Due to a less than favourable review I had written about Emma Straub's 'Modern Lovers' in which I explained what was missing from that novel about interpersonal relationships I was approached by a marketing representative of the publisher, Berkley, to read and review 'The Intermission'. An e-copy of this book was then kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*For my review of Emma Straub's Modern Lovers please click here
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  • Stacey
    January 1, 1970
    The Intermission is women’s fiction and a genre I like to sit back, relax, and get lost in some else’s drama. Jonathan and Cass have been married for five years and while their marriage started off with a bang, it has slipped off to the predictable and interest seems to be waning. Cass has an idea that they wouldn’t separate per se, but have a six month intermission. Jonathan is in New York while Cass will be staying with a friend in Los Angeles. The only contact will be a monthly hand off of th The Intermission is women’s fiction and a genre I like to sit back, relax, and get lost in some else’s drama. Jonathan and Cass have been married for five years and while their marriage started off with a bang, it has slipped off to the predictable and interest seems to be waning. Cass has an idea that they wouldn’t separate per se, but have a six month intermission. Jonathan is in New York while Cass will be staying with a friend in Los Angeles. The only contact will be a monthly hand off of their dog. Jonathan didn’t see this coming and is confused by the arrangement while Cass is reveling in her new independence. It was a slow start, but as I read on my interest was piqued as Jonathan and Cass’s lives apart start to play out. Each with their own jobs, lives, and secret pasts in the spotlight. Are they willing to confront each other with truth or will pride and stubbornness prevail? Thank you NetGalley, Elyssa Friedland, and Berkley Books for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    Barely 3 stars.Meh! I started off quite liking The Intermission. But I quickly found myself scratching my head. Cass and Jonathan have been married for five years. They live in New York, are both having work troubles and wondering whether it’s time to have a baby. Then Cass panics and decides it’s time to have a relationship “intermission”. She moves to Los Angeles and he stays in New York. They meet every few weeks as they trade their dog back and forth. The story is told from their alternating Barely 3 stars.Meh! I started off quite liking The Intermission. But I quickly found myself scratching my head. Cass and Jonathan have been married for five years. They live in New York, are both having work troubles and wondering whether it’s time to have a baby. Then Cass panics and decides it’s time to have a relationship “intermission”. She moves to Los Angeles and he stays in New York. They meet every few weeks as they trade their dog back and forth. The story is told from their alternating points of view. There is a bit of a Sophie Kinsella feel to Friedland’s writing. I have room for lighter rom com type fiction every now and then, but this one didn’t really work for me. I found myself intensely disliking Cass. I could not figure out what was motivating her decisions and what type of person she was meant to be. There is one decision she makes that was particularly unappealing and cringe making. Jonathan didn’t make much more sense to me. And it felt so long... I’m sure there’s an audience for this lighthearted look at the vicissitudes of early married life, but I wish I had given it a pass. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Brandice
    January 1, 1970
    The Intermission is a story about Cass and Jonathan, a couple living in NYC who has been married for 6 years. Cass questions their happiness and if they’re really still meant to be together. She announces that she wants a break for 6 months to test things out. She moves to LA during this break and the couple meets approximately once a month in the airport to exchange custody of their dog. Old and new flames resurface, work related issues come up for both Jonathan and Cass, and each character tak The Intermission is a story about Cass and Jonathan, a couple living in NYC who has been married for 6 years. Cass questions their happiness and if they’re really still meant to be together. She announces that she wants a break for 6 months to test things out. She moves to LA during this break and the couple meets approximately once a month in the airport to exchange custody of their dog. Old and new flames resurface, work related issues come up for both Jonathan and Cass, and each character takes a hard look at themselves and tries to identify how they got here. “We do what we need to do to make ourselves feel better about our choices.” The story is told from alternating perspectives between the two of them, and I liked this variation as the story progressed. Cass and Jonathan grew up in different circles, they first met at Brown, then again in NYC after college. Both characters have their own secrets from each other and others, which come to be revealed in the story. I thought Cass’s biggest personal issue regarding how her and Jonathan met was a bit overhyped. The book is set in modern contemporary times - With technology and social media, it’s pretty easy to keep tabs on someone. I felt this aspect was a little dramatic. I also thought that for someone who instigated an intermission, it was unfair for Cass to be reaching out to Jonathan so frequently. I know I wouldn’t put up with that. Jonathan is no saint either, but I did find his character to be a bit more likable. Despite my few minor yet perpetual annoyances with these elements in the story, I really enjoyed The Intermission, much more so than The Arrangement which I also read earlier this year, about a couple who tries having an open marriage. I wanted to keep reading The Intermission to find out what would happen - Were Jonathan and Cass better off apart? My opinion fluctuated throughout the book. Both characters were well-developed and I found the story to be pretty interesting. Thank you to Berkley Publishing for providing an ARC of this book.
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  • Sarah Joint
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting premise that suffered from some unlikable protagonists. I started liking them just fine, but towards the middle of the book I could barely stand them. Sometimes that can be fun to read, but in this instance it stopped me from caring about what happened to them and if they resolved their issues. Didn't completely work. I think my favorite character was Puddles the dog, and he could have been mentioned more. He was mostly a simple plot device to keep them in contact, thanks to their An interesting premise that suffered from some unlikable protagonists. I started liking them just fine, but towards the middle of the book I could barely stand them. Sometimes that can be fun to read, but in this instance it stopped me from caring about what happened to them and if they resolved their issues. Didn't completely work. I think my favorite character was Puddles the dog, and he could have been mentioned more. He was mostly a simple plot device to keep them in contact, thanks to their ridiculous idea of exchanging him every month, even though it means a cross-country flight. What's good: it is a quick and easy read, and takes a closer look at a relationship that on paper, should be very happy. They have money, a nice place to live, share a dog they adore, and are planning on having a baby. As with a lot of relationships, little irritations about the other person start to stack up. If this were their only problem, it likely wouldn't be a big deal. But both Jonathan and Cass have been keeping secrets from each other that amount to more than just his constant snoring at night and her inability to pick up even a little around the house. Jonathan is blindsided when his wife of five years requests a break, or an "intermission". They'd been planning on trying for a baby, but Cass has cold feet. She's not completely happy in her relationship, and wants to make sure they're completely right for each other before they throw an innocent child into the mix. While he knew their relationship wasn't quite as perfect as all of their friends think, he is dismayed that she wants time apart. Before he even has time to wrap his head around it, his wife is across the country living a completely different life. She says they need six months, and a lot can happen in six months. Will they decide to work things out? Find new lovers, potential new partners? Divorce and move on? This one kept me interested, but more in a passive way. I would have enjoyed it more if I'd enjoyed the characters more. Their snootiness irritated me. It did come with some surprises, and I think a lot of fans of women's fiction will enjoy it. I received a copy of this book from Penguin's First to Read program. Thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
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  • Lorri Steinbacher
    January 1, 1970
    Well-paced narrative filled with secrets and heightened drama, but with little to no serious consequences, whichever way the drama is resolved. I have a hard time with entitled couples (he because he was born rich, she because she thinks the world owes her something because she is beautiful and had a hard childhood) who are disappointed when their fairytale marriage turns out to be just like any other marriage--sometimes work, sometimes dull, sometimes unfulfilling. Would make a good beach read Well-paced narrative filled with secrets and heightened drama, but with little to no serious consequences, whichever way the drama is resolved. I have a hard time with entitled couples (he because he was born rich, she because she thinks the world owes her something because she is beautiful and had a hard childhood) who are disappointed when their fairytale marriage turns out to be just like any other marriage--sometimes work, sometimes dull, sometimes unfulfilling. Would make a good beach read for the right reader.
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  • Basic B's Guide
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 rounded up to 4 for GoodreadsThank you Berkley Publishing for the free copy. All opinions are my own.When’s the last time your spouse did something to annoy you? That’s a loaded question, right?! Living with anyone is full of compromise and letting the small stuff go. Do I love that my husband falls asleep at the snap of a finger and snores all night long? Heck no! Do I love that he is fiercely loyal and always helps me see the bigger picture? Hell yes! Marriage is hard. “Life wasn’t about c 3.5 rounded up to 4 for GoodreadsThank you Berkley Publishing for the free copy. All opinions are my own.When’s the last time your spouse did something to annoy you? That’s a loaded question, right?! Living with anyone is full of compromise and letting the small stuff go. Do I love that my husband falls asleep at the snap of a finger and snores all night long? Heck no! Do I love that he is fiercely loyal and always helps me see the bigger picture? Hell yes! Marriage is hard. “Life wasn’t about choosing to be single on Mondays and married on Tuesdays or getting to be a parent every other week. It was picking a lane and committing to it.”Excruciatingly stubborn, Cass and Jon are just two people trying to figure it all out. While I don’t agree with the whole concept of an “Intermission” from a marriage, I do think it made for an insightful book. The characters are not necessarily likeable but that is probably because they lay it all out on the table. This book is full of real life problems. This is not a fluffy book by any means. There are sensitive topics and at one point I almost thought I might have to put it down. I forged through and I’m glad I did. Life is messy and that’s the truth.Introspective, well written and honest. If you are looking for a page turner that makes you pause then I suggest picking this one up on July 3rd.
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  • Jamie Rosenblit
    January 1, 1970
    The Intermission was such a unique story for me - first, the characters were close in age to me and living in New York City and dining at some of my own choice restaurants and frequenting similar places - immediately I was drawn in by my ability to relate! It seems marriage "breaks" have been somewhat of a theme as of late, a la - The Arrangement, The Ever After - but what set this one aside from the others for me was that this was a child free couple - they didn't feel bogged down by life and o The Intermission was such a unique story for me - first, the characters were close in age to me and living in New York City and dining at some of my own choice restaurants and frequenting similar places - immediately I was drawn in by my ability to relate! It seems marriage "breaks" have been somewhat of a theme as of late, a la - The Arrangement, The Ever After - but what set this one aside from the others for me was that this was a child free couple - they didn't feel bogged down by life and overwhelmed by caring for others, and that is what made them unique to me and stand out. I really enjoyed the story of Cass and Jonathan and how secrets ate away at them over time. I really recommend this 4.5 star read!I received an advance copy. All opinions are my own.
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  • Caryn
    January 1, 1970
    I appreciated the portrait of marriage with a unique twist but also felt it was truly realistic of what couples realize several years after the wedding. The concept of an “intermission” makes sense. My issue with this particular story was I didn’t like either of the main characters. I wasn’t rooting for either. They were both flawed, which I realized moved the plot along, but given that I didn’t care enough to see what happened, it made the book move at a slower pace for me. My thanks to the pub I appreciated the portrait of marriage with a unique twist but also felt it was truly realistic of what couples realize several years after the wedding. The concept of an “intermission” makes sense. My issue with this particular story was I didn’t like either of the main characters. I wasn’t rooting for either. They were both flawed, which I realized moved the plot along, but given that I didn’t care enough to see what happened, it made the book move at a slower pace for me. My thanks to the publisher and publicist for my review copy.
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  • Cian O hAnnrachainn
    January 1, 1970
    Note to Penguin Random House, supplier of the review copy provided:All this talk of diversity in books, yet where is the diversity in setting? Must every work of women's fiction be set in New York City? Can we have stories about people who aren't jaded, entitled and whingeing over trivialities?I slogged through one-third of THE INTERMISSION before I realized I was wasting valuable reading time on something not worth the investment. Again, yes again, the acquisitions editors at Penguin Random Hou Note to Penguin Random House, supplier of the review copy provided:All this talk of diversity in books, yet where is the diversity in setting? Must every work of women's fiction be set in New York City? Can we have stories about people who aren't jaded, entitled and whingeing over trivialities?I slogged through one-third of THE INTERMISSION before I realized I was wasting valuable reading time on something not worth the investment. Again, yes again, the acquisitions editors at Penguin Random House have found another manuscript that speaks to them, young professionals in New York City with psychoanalysts on retainer, spending every waking minute analyzing the minutia of life and believing that these thoughts are deep, relevant, and of vital interest to the rest of the world.Our characters are a pair of well-heeled New Yorkers, five years into a marriage, and wouldn't you know it but the wife is up to the usual examination of her existence because she has little else to do. No one in these novels ever considers volunteering at a soup kitchen, to be surrounded by characters with far greater problems. That's not how modern publishing works.Poor Cass is so burdened by the weight of entitlement that she must take a break from marriage and so she proposes an intermission (not a trial separation. That's so last century). And where does she jet off to, to find meaning in her empty life?She doesn't land on Mother Teresa's doorstep. No indeed. Our Cass goes all the way across the USA to Los Angeles, that other bastion of entitlement.Where she finds an affordable flat in West Hollywood. Is this historical fiction, you might ask, or do the entitled think $2000 per month for a dump is affordable?But what of the novel? Does Cass find herself and heal her marriage?I don't care. I have given up on her tale of self-centered woe. I cannot finish this novel full of emptiness.Author Elyssa Friedland can string words together to make sentences, but that's not enough to compose an entire novel that is enjoyable or enlightening or entertaining.Diversity in publishing, please. There is an entire world outside of Manhattan, beyond Park Slope, and surely there is the next Ivan Doig seeking publication.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair & honest review.Cass & Jonathan, married 5 years & they seem to have it all....or do they?Cass proposes a break in the marriage, an "intermission". Jonathan doesn't see it coming....But, we find neither has been open & honest with each other.Through back & forth chapters we find out a lot about both of them-secrets, lies, etc.These are 2 very unlikable people, but, the book is well written & keeps you interest I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair & honest review.Cass & Jonathan, married 5 years & they seem to have it all....or do they?Cass proposes a break in the marriage, an "intermission". Jonathan doesn't see it coming....But, we find neither has been open & honest with each other.Through back & forth chapters we find out a lot about both of them-secrets, lies, etc.These are 2 very unlikable people, but, the book is well written & keeps you interested in these people & you want to see how it ends for them. It moved quickly, had some little surprises & I very much enjoyed it!
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    Elyssa Friedland delivers an amazing work using humor to address a very serious subject - Marriage and Divorce! Cass asks/tells Jonathan, her husband of five years for an intermission (rather than a separation) on the day they had planned as their first attempt at baby making. Jonathan never sees it coming and believes that they have the best marriage around, it seems that everyone even Cass agrees! As Cass exits their luxury apartment, she explains that 'they really don't know each other'. She Elyssa Friedland delivers an amazing work using humor to address a very serious subject - Marriage and Divorce! Cass asks/tells Jonathan, her husband of five years for an intermission (rather than a separation) on the day they had planned as their first attempt at baby making. Jonathan never sees it coming and believes that they have the best marriage around, it seems that everyone even Cass agrees! As Cass exits their luxury apartment, she explains that 'they really don't know each other'. She promises to decide whether to return to the marriage or divorce at the end of six months.Cass leaves NYC for Los Angeles and bunks with a close friend from college, who is amazed that she would consider leaving Jonathan, the seemingly 'perfect man'. He has it all, with: great looks; easy-going temperament; a phenomenal career; great bread winner; who comes from wealth. So why would Cass leave? She has a secret! She has never confided this secret to anyone, because she fears that should Jonathan ever know, he would leave her. She gets a great job working for a film company ("think" the Coen brothers). Soon thereafter, she has an affair with her boss (a much older man and unkempt, I kept seeing an older Marlon Brando) as I read along. He is a foil to Jonathan. Soon, Jonathan seeks comfort in the arms of his high school sweetheart, a woman that that always made Cass feel insecure. When Jonathan's Hedge Fund goes belly up and the SEC carts his boss off in hand-cuffs. Cass plans on surprising him to offer him comfort, she flies home unannounced and while she awaits his return, she finds exotic panties (not her size) and a few other possessions not her own. She is so angry when she realizes that it is Brett (his first love and high school sweetheart) that she returns to Los Angeles without leaving a note. Jonathan is deeply hurt that Cass never reaches out to him over this matter, making him believe that she was right, he doesn't know the real Cass.As the story progresses, we learn that Jonathan isn't the perfect man after all. He has a few dark secrets that he has hidden from Cass for fear of her rejection of him.When Cass learns her mother has cancer, she asks Jonathan to join her in comforting her mother since she hasn't told her mom about the intermission. He does and this starts both of them to dig deeper into their feelings. Throughout the story, Ms. Friedland's doles out some great counter punches in the story that leads us wondering will love conquer all? I'm not telling! Ms. Friedland's characters are quirky and believable. We desperately hope that Cass and Jonathan will have the courage and humility to break the intermission. Along the way, there are humorous incidents and details that were so clever, I actually laughed out loud three times! Since I am reading an Advanced Reading Copy (thank you, Berkley Publishing Group and Penguin Random House), I can't quote any text! Suffice to say, this is a funny, quick read and I endorse this for anyone needing some levity. More importantly, I truly admire the serious message underlying the humor, which is that we owe ourselves and the ones we love, being our authentic self by always being honest and transparent!
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  • bookbruin
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsWhen I first read the summary for The Intermission I was very intrigued by the question of how much we truly know (and should want to know) about our spouse. Many times while reading this novel, I reflected on my own marriage - the highs, the lows, and the minutiae that sometimes feels so significant. I'll be honest, I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I felt the author portrayed the nuances of marriage very well and I could imagine these issues of complacency, fulfillment, a 3.5 starsWhen I first read the summary for The Intermission I was very intrigued by the question of how much we truly know (and should want to know) about our spouse. Many times while reading this novel, I reflected on my own marriage - the highs, the lows, and the minutiae that sometimes feels so significant. I'll be honest, I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I felt the author portrayed the nuances of marriage very well and I could imagine these issues of complacency, fulfillment, and trust being confronted by many couples today. However, the drama was so drawn out and both Cass and Jonathan were so frustrating and unlikeable, that I wanted to throw my kindle across the room on more than one occasion. Jonathan was just slightly more tolerable to me since I sympathized with him over how badly Cass handled so many things, but as secrets were revealed on both sides, I didn't actually like either of them. Because of this, I honestly was not rooting for one outcome over the other. I really didn't become invested in the story until about 1/3 of the way through, and even then, it was more out of curiosity for how the story would end rather than genuine love for these characters. It hurt my heart with how much these two wounded each other, but it was hard to feel any compassion for them when they felt so entitled/justified to act in this way. I did wish that more time would have been spent on Cass and Jonathan's final reckoning (Hooray! They were finally honest with each other!), but I think the author's point was to look forward. Overall, this was an interesting read, but I can't say that I loved it.*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher –Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn't share it with anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know--and how much should we want to know--ab I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher –Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn't share it with anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know--and how much should we want to know--about the people we love the most?After six years of marriage, the unshakeable confidence Cass felt on her wedding day is decidedly gone. Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten with Cass. It's true that the personality quirks he once found charming in his wife--her complexity, her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes--are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in an otherwise healthy relationship. So, it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital 'intermission': a six-month separation during which they'll figure out if the comfortable life they've built together is, in fact, the one they both want. After Cass and Jonathan devise a jet lag-inducing plan to swap custody of their beloved dog every thirty days, they decide that the intermission will be a time for self-reflection (and not a time for talking). Being apart leaves Cass and Jonathan vulnerable in ways they don't expect: Jonathan slips into old habits with an ex, while Cass is ensnared by a powerful Hollywood producer with a familiar agenda. And, as the months pass, they both begin to see that the very worst of their problems are rooted in just these kinds of calculated silences--and in a delicate web of blistering secrets, they may never be ready to share.As a newlywed, I do wonder why a couple of six years would need an intermission – what happened to wedding vows and “for better or worse”? But, I digress --- the characters’ need for an intermission makes this book intriguing and the secrets that they keep are juicy! Well written and almost impossible to put down I think many people would love this book as much as I did … definitely a future book club pick! (and I will keep this in mind in case in 5-1/2 years from now I need an intermission!)
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Reminiscent of Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan this book came to me a perfect time. I had been reading a lot of thrillers and needed a genre switch. This book was a delight! Cass and Jonathan appear to have a prefect marriage or at the very least they don't seem to have any real problems, but one day Cass tells Jonathan she needs a break from the marriage,an intermission, to be apart and re-evaluate after six months. Jonathan is thrown for a loop, but lets Cass go. How well do we Reminiscent of Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan this book came to me a perfect time. I had been reading a lot of thrillers and needed a genre switch. This book was a delight! Cass and Jonathan appear to have a prefect marriage or at the very least they don't seem to have any real problems, but one day Cass tells Jonathan she needs a break from the marriage,an intermission, to be apart and re-evaluate after six months. Jonathan is thrown for a loop, but lets Cass go. How well do we know our spouses? Is marriage really for better or worse? Should we reveal all our secrets to our boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancee, or spouse? I loved the alternating chapters in Jonathan's and Cass's voice. Perfect ending, too. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. All opinions are my own.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    3 1/5 stars for this quick read. After 5 years of marriage Cass asks for an ‘Intermission’ from Her marriage to Jonathan. Marriage is hard, but these 2 seem so not ready for it. Secrets before going in and secrets in the marriage. I really could not relate to either and couldn’t root for either. But, it’s a fast paced read, great for beach, or snowy winter day. I received an ARC from Greats Thoughts Reading Ninja Team. All opinions are my own.
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  • Barb (Boxermommyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    These two idiots, with more baggage than someone their ages should have, should never reconcile and Puddles the pup needs new owners!Every once in a while I like to read different genres and let's be honest, I was super curious about the pup on the cover, do I decided to give "The Intermission" a chance. Cass and Jonathon have been married 5 years. They live in NY and to be honest, come across as a very posh, upscale couple. However, neither have been quite honest with each other. So one day, wh These two idiots, with more baggage than someone their ages should have, should never reconcile and Puddles the pup needs new owners!Every once in a while I like to read different genres and let's be honest, I was super curious about the pup on the cover, do I decided to give "The Intermission" a chance. Cass and Jonathon have been married 5 years. They live in NY and to be honest, come across as a very posh, upscale couple. However, neither have been quite honest with each other. So one day, when Jonathan thinks they are finally going to try to start to conceive a family, Cass instead tells him she wants a break. She proposes they take a 6 month "intermission" from their marriage to make sure they are compatible before bringing a new life into the world.I think one of my main issues with this book is I didn't really like Jonathon or Cass. Now once they took the intermission, I saw some glimmer of hope regarding liking Jonathon, but it never lasted long. The both acted so immature and when Cass moves to California, they even exchange their poor dog Puddles, every month so they can each have their turn. I felt they both did things during the intermission which should have indicated to them they should not be together, and which to be honest, in my opinion, could never be forgiven (and I can be pretty forgiving at time - I know, shocker!).There was nothing wrong with the writing in this book, but overall, I just felt "meh" about reading it. I don't read a lot of contemporary and in the end, Puddles just wasn't in the book enough for me to find it enjoyable. I'm sure there are lots of people out there who will enjoy this book and I do think it was fall into the category of an enjoyable "summer read." I just couldn't deal with stupid people and at one point I remember telling my BFF that I was seriously cheering on them divorcing, and I don't think that was the point the author was trying to make.I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Kathleen Carter Communications and PenguinRandom House for a free copy of this book for an honest review. This story is told by both Jonathan and Cass who have been married six years. They both have secrets and now after a few years of marriage things they once liked about each other are beginning to annoy them. Cass blindsides Jonathan when she tells him she wants to take a break in the marriage or an intermission as she calls it. They are to basically have no contact other than sw Thank you to Kathleen Carter Communications and PenguinRandom House for a free copy of this book for an honest review. This story is told by both Jonathan and Cass who have been married six years. They both have secrets and now after a few years of marriage things they once liked about each other are beginning to annoy them. Cass blindsides Jonathan when she tells him she wants to take a break in the marriage or an intermission as she calls it. They are to basically have no contact other than swapping off their dog every month. They are also able to be free to have relationships with other people. Jonathan is initially furious but then decides to take this time to reconnect with his high school girlfriend. Both Jonathan and Cass have kept secrets from each other that could derail the marriage and during this time they analyze whether it is in their best interest to divulge them if they decide to try and move forward together. Both characters are very flawed and self centred. Jonathan and Cass make the most of their time apart so it is interesting to see whether they decide to continue their marriage or not. This was an interesting character driven book and it definitely kept my interest.
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  • Jordan Caldwell
    January 1, 1970
    From the beginning, I did not like either of the main characters (Cass-wife, Jon(athan), husband). And, to be honest, they didn't seem to like each other, or themselves, much either. This fact, though, makes the story pretty relatable and quick moving. In any relationship, you reach of a point of complacency and sometimes it's hard to see your way out of that. Some people look at this as a good thing, some as a bad. For Cass and Jonathan, they viewed this as a bad and worked their way to figure From the beginning, I did not like either of the main characters (Cass-wife, Jon(athan), husband). And, to be honest, they didn't seem to like each other, or themselves, much either. This fact, though, makes the story pretty relatable and quick moving. In any relationship, you reach of a point of complacency and sometimes it's hard to see your way out of that. Some people look at this as a good thing, some as a bad. For Cass and Jonathan, they viewed this as a bad and worked their way to figure themselves out before having a baby, which I respect (as much as you can respect a fictitious person?)Parts of this book bothered me, but having never been in that position, and being 100% happy 100% of the time with my own marriage, I don't discredit these feelings and do believe that people out there can relate to this book. I both felt for them and hated them for what they were doing to each other. I think the over all theme, HONESTY, is so huge in this book. At every corner, if they'd just been honest, what would have happened? Why live with that guilt for no reason? It's culturally relevant at this time--it seems like no one is honest with anyone these days. I thought a lot in between reading sessions, about my relationship with my husband, my family, and I really like when books make me do that. Self reflection is never a bad thing---maybe if Cass and Jonathan self-reflected a bit more, this situation would have been avoided. Of course, what would we have read in that case? :)Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I had been looking forward to reading it and was very lucky to receive an advanced review copy. All thoughts on this book are my own, and I would most certainly purchase as a gift for someone.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    My Review of “The Intermission” by Elyssa Friedland Berkley Publishing July 3, 2018Elyssa Friedland , Author of “The Intermission” has written a unique, honest, emotional, and intriguing novel about marriage. Is it any wonder that deep secrets can cause trouble in relationships, and become something much bigger than they originally were? I appreciate that Elyssa Friedland has explored secrets, problems of communication, and questions of marriage. The Genres for this story are Fiction and Women’s My Review of “The Intermission” by Elyssa Friedland Berkley Publishing July 3, 2018Elyssa Friedland , Author of “The Intermission” has written a unique, honest, emotional, and intriguing novel about marriage. Is it any wonder that deep secrets can cause trouble in relationships, and become something much bigger than they originally were? I appreciate that Elyssa Friedland has explored secrets, problems of communication, and questions of marriage. The Genres for this story are Fiction and Women’s Fiction. The timeline for this story is in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the characters and events in the story. The story is told in alternating points of view from the two main characters.The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. After being married six years, Cass and Jonathan Coyne are about to start having a family. Both characters come very different backgrounds, and dysfunctional families. Jonathan seems relatively happy with Cass and his dog, and is in shock when Cass tells Jonathan that she needs time out or an”intermission” from their marriage. Cass questions if they really know each other. Both have deep secrets that they have not told one another.The couple take this “intermission” with little contact, except for the custodial arrangements of their dog. During this sixth month period, both characters taste their freedom, and try to adapt.I love that the author discusses the importance of communication, honest and loyalty. Is anything perfect.? Shouldn’t one face the problems of their past so they can move forward? I highly recommend this thought-provoking novel to those readers of Fiction and Women’s Fiction. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    I have mixed feelings about this one. First of all, let me say the book is well-written and I would definitely read this author again. I especially enjoyed the way the ending was written to make you wonder what had been decided instead of just spitting it out. My problem with the story is that with two unlikeable main characters, I found myself ambivalent about whether they stayed together or not. They both seemed selfish and self-centered, and even knowing their back stories did not justify the I have mixed feelings about this one. First of all, let me say the book is well-written and I would definitely read this author again. I especially enjoyed the way the ending was written to make you wonder what had been decided instead of just spitting it out. My problem with the story is that with two unlikeable main characters, I found myself ambivalent about whether they stayed together or not. They both seemed selfish and self-centered, and even knowing their back stories did not justify their ill-advised actions for me. That said, I will definitely be reading her debut novel now as I did enjoy her writing style. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for my review copy.
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    Cass and Jonathan Coyne have been married for 5 years and appear to have it all. But Cass feels like their marriage no longer has that exciting spark as it did when they were newlyweds. So she suggests to Jonathan they do a trial separation (aka intermission) for 6 months in which they are allowed to see other people. As the months pass, they both reflect on the secrets they kept from one another that contributed to the downfall of their marriage and contemplate whether this is a marriage worth Cass and Jonathan Coyne have been married for 5 years and appear to have it all. But Cass feels like their marriage no longer has that exciting spark as it did when they were newlyweds. So she suggests to Jonathan they do a trial separation (aka intermission) for 6 months in which they are allowed to see other people. As the months pass, they both reflect on the secrets they kept from one another that contributed to the downfall of their marriage and contemplate whether this is a marriage worth saving. In order for this story to completely work for me, I really needed it to feature characters who I actually liked, instead at first Cass and Jonathan were just a tad unlikable but as the story progressed I found them to be pretty horrible people. One character in particular I really struggled to find any redeemable qualities. With that being said though, I still had an interest to find out what was going to happen with their marriage and the author did a good job keeping me on my toes with some twists within the story. I personally didn't enjoy the ending but I'm probably in the minority there. While I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this book, I would check out future books by the author as she is talented at telling an interesting story. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! All views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    Does marriage get boring? Do we find flaws in our spouses? Do we always handle tragedies well? INTERMISSION tells the story of an extremely likable couple who have us cheering for them to get past the inevitable disappointments that go with marriage. Friedland has crafted the novel about the Coynes, Jonathan and Cass, and how they dealt with life’s imperfections. Their plan was a 6 month “intermission “ to make decisions about their future. Of course, life goes on piling crisis after crisis on t Does marriage get boring? Do we find flaws in our spouses? Do we always handle tragedies well? INTERMISSION tells the story of an extremely likable couple who have us cheering for them to get past the inevitable disappointments that go with marriage. Friedland has crafted the novel about the Coynes, Jonathan and Cass, and how they dealt with life’s imperfections. Their plan was a 6 month “intermission “ to make decisions about their future. Of course, life goes on piling crisis after crisis on the two during their separation. It is in the handling of these moments that the reader sees the essential goodness in the couple and wishes they could understand that all marriages have their secrets and flaws. Yes, they both experience other partners, but they both turn to each other for support. Despite their bi-coastal lives, there remains a strong connection. It is a final near death for one of them that allows them to realize how much they love and depend on each other. I loved the ending, no spoilers, and found myself delighted with the perfect resolution. Thanks to the author for providing such a realistic view of marriage and such a hopeful future for the Coynes!
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  • Laura Hill
    January 1, 1970
    (publication date 6/3/18)Writing; 4+ Characters: 4 Plot: 4An intriguing exploration of the interior spaces of a marriage. Cass and Jonathan Coyne have been married - ostensibly happily - for five years. And yet just as they are about to start a family, Cass suggests a six month “intermission” in which to step back and decide whether or not they belong together. The alternating chapters between their two voices are full of penetrating observations about themselves, their relationship, and their f (publication date 6/3/18)Writing; 4+ Characters: 4 Plot: 4An intriguing exploration of the interior spaces of a marriage. Cass and Jonathan Coyne have been married - ostensibly happily - for five years. And yet just as they are about to start a family, Cass suggests a six month “intermission” in which to step back and decide whether or not they belong together. The alternating chapters between their two voices are full of penetrating observations about themselves, their relationship, and their feelings about the other.The writing is excellent and the characters are drawn with depth and plausibility. I found surprisingly fresh insights on most pages as each of their narratives unfolded. Both want to be good people and good partners and yet each has been holding back from the other - not “body hidden in the attic” kinds of secrets, but secrets that add a self-perceived dishonesty to the relationship. As a reader, I found my allegiance shifting between them as the story unfolded, which taught me a lot about my own morals, preferences, and perceptions. Very readable, unpredictable, and original - I enjoyed it far more than I expected from the basic description.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    The Intermission takes a look at a marriage 5 years old and answers the question - how well do you really know your spouse? Cass and Jonathan met in college, only to be reunited by fate (his words) in NYC years after graduation. But was it really fate?Cass comes to Jonathan and asks for an Intermission in their marriage - six months. And the book tells a her story, his story - chapter by chapter. Cass has secrets, and we learn later - so does Jonathan, some I didn't see coming, and it was nice t The Intermission takes a look at a marriage 5 years old and answers the question - how well do you really know your spouse? Cass and Jonathan met in college, only to be reunited by fate (his words) in NYC years after graduation. But was it really fate?Cass comes to Jonathan and asks for an Intermission in their marriage - six months. And the book tells a her story, his story - chapter by chapter. Cass has secrets, and we learn later - so does Jonathan, some I didn't see coming, and it was nice to see they were both flawed characters - not just one of them. It's an interesting story line. While the beginning was a bit long winded, it does pick up and I was happy with how the story ended up.I received an ARC of The Intermission from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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