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Dec 10 2016 1:00pm

Once a Trophy Wife, Always a Trophy Wife? Noelle Adams’ Alison Faces Major Change

Trophy Wife by Noelle Adams

Is the past bound to repeat itself? If you were once a trophy wife, are you always going to be a trophy wife? That’s the question Alison Davies seeks to answer once she’s free from her “wealthy jerk” ex…Arthur, the man she had once thought was so charming.

She’d been an eighteen-year-old trophy wife to a rich older man. She’d thought she could live with it.

The marriage had been fine in the beginning, but it had slowly declined until she couldn’t live with it anymore. Pretty soon, if she stayed, she would start to anesthetize her deep unhappiness with alcohol or prescription drugs.

After Alison overhears Arthur tell a business associate about the benefits of having a “young, gorgeous, vulnerable, and completely dependent” wife, she leaves him the next day. Six months later, divorce decree in hand, she moves into the house her grandmother left her, in the mountains of North Carolina; a hick town, according to her friend Vicki. Her wheels are “her father’s old tank of an Oldsmobile.” Because of an iron-clad prenup, Alison is going old-school and down-market—because that’s all she can afford.

Folks are friendly in small towns, like Rob West, Alison’s across-the-street neighbor. Out of the blue, he starts helping her move her stuff into her house. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? For Alison, who tells her helpful neighbor, “I said I could get the bags by myself,” maybe not. She doesn’t want Rob telling her that he’ll get her moved in.

“I don’t need any—,” she began.

He just ignored her, striding back outside as if she hadn’t spoken. Arthur had done that all the time—completely disregarded what she was trying to say. She hated it.

Alison wants to be independent and Rob wants Alison to notice him, just in a friendly, neighborly, maybe there could be more sort of way. In the familiar “starting over in a small town trope,” part of the heroine’s journey is often to explore independence, particularly if she is escaping a less-than-happy city experience. Reality hits Alison hard when she realizes that her dream of returning to Charlotte to open a jewelry shop is very distant indeed.

But now all she had was a crappy job and a mostly empty house and a bunch of boring college classes in her future. Telling herself to take it one step at a time didn’t really help when she could no longer imagine herself in a life she really wanted.

Alison shakes off her self-pity and gets on with it. Her growing friendship with Rob certainly sweetens her day-to-day life, particularly since he really listens to her when she tells him about her new life. Part of the residue of Alison’s marriage to a controlling “asshole” (Rob’s phrase) is fatalism about achieving her dreams to own her own jewelry boutique. She equates not having enough money to be 100% successful with failure. Rob’s comments are a revelation.

“Maybe you could start small, then. We have a lot of craft fairs and little knickknack stores around here. Maybe you could sell some of your stuff there. It would be something, anyway. Maybe a piece of the dream is better than nothing.”

There’s more to Rob than career advice. When canoodling on the coach leads to Rob’s bedroom, I was reminded of that memorable line in The Big Easy when Remy tells Anne “your luck’s about to change, cher.”

“What do you like?” Rob asked, gazing down at her like she was special. He sounded a little breathless himself.

“I don’t even know.”

“Then we’ll figure it out.”

From harder to faster to the best sex of her entire life, is this where Alison closes the curtains on her painstaking endeavor to become independent? No siree Bob (or should that be Rob?) I thoroughly enjoyed the tension between Alison “learning to live life on her own” and Rob wanting more. Noelle Adams spins an anything-but-predictable tale of two people who find themselves while they fall for each other.

***

Learn more about or order a copy of Trophy Wife by Noelle Adams, available now:

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Janet Webb aka @JanetETennessee moved from the San Francisco Bay to eastern Tennessee. Baseball is my passion: I follow the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Nashville Sounds (farm team of my beloved Oakland Athletics). Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Helen MacInnes. I also review at Criminal Element.

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