Contemporary, Review

Unliving the Dream by Sandra Vischer


First, I have to say I really, really like this title. People are always talking about their dreams and here is a story about Alex, who wants to dig her way out of what she thought was a dream that would last the rest of her life. Sometimes dreams change or turn out not to be what people thought, as she finds out.

Alex is a normal woman; wife, homemaker, career woman, mother, friend, daughter etc. She and her husband have a dream business that has exploded into the fast lane, making them money, keeping them busy, and which Alex believes she will always be a part of. Unfortunately, she discovers that her perfect husband is, in fact, a two-timing louse. She takes this news with alarming calmness, barely reacting to James’s declaration of love for a woman who works for them and whom Alex sees every day. This is pretty awful, but, yet again, she remains one cool gal.

James had always appeared to be a doting husband with nothing but joy for his wonderful, beautiful wife. Imagine her surprise when he suddenly turns into a screaming, loathsome dictator, who blames her for all of his problems. In actuality, he is an unlikable individual, whose employees wish for him to leave for lunch and never return.

When Alex and James are forced to take a business trip overnight, she thinks this is the perfect opportunity to remind him of how much he used to love her. She dresses in her best, styles her hair attractively, does an exquisite job with her makeup, and what does he do? Looks at her like she’s a cold, unappealing cup of soup. Of course, I was wondering, why try? He is a nasty dude that feels the need to spread his ugly behavior over his girlfriend, as well. May they live happily ever after. Not likely.

After coming to grips with the fact that James is on his way out, Alex takes their two kids and goes sailing. Yep, problem solved with a trip on a yacht. Her girlfriend, Nat, happens to be a sailboat captain in the British Virgin Isles. It sounds too good to be true, but off they go for adventure and a break from reality. They have a wonderful time, a few adventurous moments, but then have to come back. When she returns, James is worse than ever, trying to drive her out of the business. Eventually, he succeeds and she allows him to buy her out.

Now, she has to come up with a new life plan, but where to start? Somewhere along the way, she finds a boyfriend, only to un-find him, once James realizes that she wants an actual life. She starts reading self-help books and finds her favorite place, Peru. It is  there that she discovers that she is not who she thought she was; she’s much better.

I was a bit frustrated by her martyrdom. It took too long for her to finally give James a taste of his own medicine and she spent a lot of time trying to make him remember how much he loved her and what they once had together. I wondered if maybe they never had what she thought they did. This is written in first-person and I was surprised by her lack of pained, vengeful thoughts. She’s just a little too good and even-tempered, when I felt that a normal reaction would be to refuse to accept his inexcusable behavior, as she files for divorce. Maybe not all women feel that way about an abusive, cheating husband; this is just my take. The writing is what I can only call ‘smooth.’ In spite of it all, Alex’s life is presented as if she has all the answers once she puts her mind to it. Sailing away, letting James buy her share of the business, finding a boyfriend, saying goodbye to said boyfriend, and finding life, all wrap up in the splendor of life-altering Peru.

For my rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – Contemporary for adults.
  • Level of sexuality – Not much.
  • Was there graphic language? No.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No, not that either.
  • Is this part of a series? No.
  • Level of character development – The whole story is about Alex’s development and the focus is on her.

Overall, I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

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