cover image The Best of Adam Sharp

The Best of Adam Sharp

Graeme Simsion. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-13040-2

In Simsion’s third novel (after The Rosie Effect), an email from an old flame, Angelina Brown, spurs British computer guy Adam Sharp to reassess what he wants from life. Though their affair was short-lived and over two decades before, Adam still believes Angelina is his soul mate. He’s been involved with Claire for decades, but their relationship is mostly practical, and a business deal might require her to move from England to the U.S. Email flirtations with Angelina escalate into Skype conversations and culminate in an invitation to join Angelina and her affable husband, Charlie, at their vacation house in France. At this point, Sharp’s book takes an unexpected turn. What seems like a run-of-the-mill chick-lit tale about “the one that got away” becomes a complicated exploration of marriage, what it means to love someone, and how life gets in the way. Adam propels himself into this situation assuming he knows how things are going to play out. Charlie turns out to be more than his amiable, accommodating first impression would indicate, and Angelina shows facets of herself that are a touch more complicated than the girl-of-Adam’s-dreams trope. The contrast almost makes this feel like two different novels. The story winds down with a great passive-aggressive song trivia contest, and Simsion delivers an ending that feels hard-won and true, though readers will have to tough out getting there with a little patience. (May)