Crossing The Line by Elle Knowles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Crossing The Line by Elle Knowles
I received this book from Story Cartel in return for an honest review.
Betrayal in a marriage is like a shot to the heart that can't be dismissed. Like if a spouse continually forgets to put the cap back on the toothpaste or somehow cannot ever seem to find the peanut butter, that can be assimilated into the category of it drives a spouse crazy, but the marriage can certainly survive. There's always more toothpaste or maybe a more convenient spot for the peanut butter. But when a spouse believes there's been an act of betrayal such as an extra-marital affair? That doesn't get fixed so easily.
Helena and Jim have a long marriage, 3 grown children, 1 grandchild with a second one on the way, successful business careers, and for a couple years have a problem neither acknowledges. Jim's assistant, Lori Walters, has been intruding on their marriage, and Helena finally comes to believe that Lori and Jim are having an affair. When Helena finally wakes up to this probable fact, she begins to do some research on the matter such as checking more closely into jointly held bank accounts and credit card purchases. This kind of thing is often called "snooping". I strongly object to that term. When suspicious activity is going on with jointly held assets, either spouse has the right or responsibility to look into it. That's not snooping; I think it's called looking out for one's self-interest. But of course the offending spouse immediately wants to know why (s)he is being checked up on. That's nothing but a ploy to deflect attention from what is going on, so, of course, it's exactly what Jim does to cover up his behavior. Fortunately that doesn't deflect Helena's investigation, and nothing she uncovers helps vindicate Jim.
While in the process of uncovering the information about Jim and what he's been up to, Helena meets a contractor and becomes involved with him through business interests. They become close friends, but Helena begins to realize she's feeling a stronger bond than friendship. She's smart enough to note that she's lonely and dispirited, and it would not be helpful to bring yet another person into her already troubled marriage.
Crossing The Line then becomes the story of how one woman manages to work through her confused feelings, anger, and deeply felt sense of betrayal by her husband. She needs to find out if she and Jim can get past what may be a temporary glitch in their marriage, or if the marriage is finished. The latter choice seems to be the harder one to make because Helena believes she and her husband still love each other and don't want to break the ties that bind them to each other.
Having been in a similar situation myself, I found this story to be riveting. There were times when I thought the rehashing of the marital problems became repetitive, but then it occurred to me that what Elle Knowles wrote is exactly how a wife feels when confronted with this kind of situation. The swings back and forth from one decision to another and the rehashing of the facts is normal. Resolving this kind of trauma to a marriage takes time, and there's no answer to how much of it is needed to decide what to do. With Jim's "help", whether he intended it to be seen that way or not, Helena does finally reach a conclusion about what she'll do. She's a strong, smart woman who does the best she can in the most realistic way possible.
There was one more little twist at the end of the book which surprised me and made me smile. It was clever and well done, and gave the story even more depth. I liked Elle Knowles' style of writing, and I liked the way she allowed the reader to know exactly what Helena was about. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone going through a similar situation because I think it's helpful with this kind of life disruption to find out what the process has been like for someone else. It can allow such a person to feel less alone and at the same time, point out that all those feelings one has through such a mess are normal. I'd also recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story well told. I look forward to reading more of Elle Knowles in the future.
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