“A Better Man” by Leah McClaren was sent to me to review as I take part in the BritMums Book Club.
“A Better Man” puts the microscope on the marriage of successful and rich Nick and Maya. It was gripping to see a relationship so up close and personal but also very uncomfortable at times.
How many mums have felt that they need to throw themselves into stay at home mumdom to an extreme degree to justify taking time out from a career? How many of us have over-stressed the whole parenting things demonstrating an exhausting level of control and vigilance so that in the end our wellbeing suffers and our relationships are strained?
What happens if a third party gets involved at this very point and perhaps not in the way that you might think?
What are people’s motives and are they ever clear-cut? Can an initially deceitful rationale take a better turn? What if an apparent interest is your welfare is actually quite self-serving?
Who is a Better Man?
Things I loved about “A Better Man”
I found it was a page-turner and I was keen to know how things resolved themselves.
I thought the characters of Nick and Maya were well drawn. Maya in particular reminded me of myself as I have spent so many years trying to justify my existence in a variety of ways since giving up my initial career choice. Relationships inevitably change over time and sometimes we have to navigate as we find a new way of being with a changed partner or changes in ourselves.
Things I did not like about “A Better Man”
I would have liked to have known more about Gray. I did not manage to get a clear picture of him in my mind and I found that frustrating. Similarly Shelley was not described clearly enough for me to imagine her.
I found some passages overly descriptive. This is a personal thing. I hate the Brontes because they always seem to take 42 pages just to say it is foggy. I guess I am always more interested in the human relationships and the dialogue.
In some ways, I felt the book was about 100 pages too short. Incidents are covered to show us what is going on in Nick and Maya’s minds but I did not think there were enough of them.
I thought the ending was not as inventive as it could have been and put me in mind of Shirley Valentine which is not at all what I was expecting at all when I started the novel.
A Better Man is the second novel by Leah McLaren and is published by Corvus. The paperback edition is currently on sale on Amazon for £4 compared to an RRP of £7.99. It is also available in hardback and kindle format.
Shall I be cheeky and ask if you need “A Better Man” in your life?