Monday, February 25, 2013

The Expats

The Expats
By Chris Pavone
Crown, 2012, 326 pgs. Fiction

Kate has quit her job in Washington, D.C., and packed her two children and necessary possessions to follow her husband to Luxembourg. In spite of having traveled a great deal for her previous job, she is having trouble adjusting to life as a full time mom and expat wife. Everything around her somehow seems off-key. What exactly is her husband doing at work and why won’t he tell her more about it? Those other friendly expats, who are they and why are they trying so hard to be friends? And why isn’t she happy when she always thought she’d like to stay home with her children?

Told in alternating chapters that flashback to various times in the past (the present is the smallest part of the action), Kate uncovers layers of secrets and reveals layers of her own secrets. Kate is a flawed protagonist but the European setting is interesting and the secrets keep pulling the reader in. This is a great choice for a female reader who likes spy and mystery novels. I found the ending to be a bit weak but it is probably a set up for a sequel that will continue revealing secrets and tying up loose ends. SH

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