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The Couple - Sarah Mitchell

Please note that I received this ARC for free from NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review. 


Good grief, I don't know what to start with here. There was just too much going on. It didn't help that the author jumped back to the present and then 5 years before every every chapter. We are following our main character Claire's current engagement to a man named Angus and then her university romance with a guy named Dan. If you wanted to know about either guy, there's not much there. We just know that Clarie is still obsessing over Dan and where things went wrong, apparently went into a funk after the relationship ended and seems to be ambivalent (at best) about Angus. Things go to the weird where quickly where Claire meets a man who reminds her of Dan. And then it's just Claire running to and fro looking into something that made a little bit of sense at the end of the book. 


"The Couple" starts with Claire's engagement party to a man named Angus. Her family is pretty relieved that she has moved on from someone named Dan. FYI, it takes a while to even get to Dan and why Claire was so hung up on him. Claire works for the Home Office and deals with immigrant cases. We know she has a mother, stepfather, and brother, but she doesn't talk to them much, she is just telling you about them. Same with Angus. I didn't get a good sense of him via Claire. Same issue with Claire obsessing about the man she meets (Mark) and  her former boyfriend (Dan). She just runs around and says, well this person reminds me of Dan and I am now going to just run around and force this person to be with me, when I am not hiding it from my fiancee and trying to make things work there. This book was confusing. At least Mitchell didn't do the unreliable narrator thing (which I loathe). I think the big issue is that Claire is written inconsistently in this book. I don't know what she really wanted in the end. And then all of a sudden we get some huge reveal about things and I maybe squawked plot hole a few dozen times and let it go. 


The men were a mess in this book. We don't spend much time with anyone but the perfect Dan and good lord I didn't get it. You have to make him some big perfect love. Or something. Mitchell messes with his halo a bit, but then we don't get to see how things ended. We just get comments here and there and the rest is left to you to imagine. 


The writing feels really disconnected at times. Claire works at the Home Office and apparently deals with immigrant cases. Anytime Mitchell goes into whatever case Claire is working on the book gets odd. You have the idea that maybe Claire looks down on these people at times, or she doesn't really care (which I still say she doesn't) and all these cases just hang in the book. The flow is impacted by going from the present to five years ago. I just ceased to give a crap about Dan. Claire's obsession with him and his dealing with his ex got old fast. She was just a mess as the ex was in my opinion. That opinion isn't helped by the fact that though Mitchell over explains everything in this book, she decides to keep what happened to Dan vague. I mean you can guess what happened, but I wish that the rest of the book was more like that in order for it to really hit you.


The book's setting is mostly Angus and Clarie's home with Claire occasionally going out to stalk Mark somewhere else. 


The book ends in a whimper.