By Margaret Ethridge
Review by Guest Reviewer - Julie Doner
Tracy Sullivan seems to have it all, a handsome, devoted husband, three beautiful children, a steady career, and the perfect suburban home; but she isn't happy.
The petty resentments that have built over fifteen years of marriage surface when Tracy tells her husband, Sean, that she is no longer interested in sex, and their marriage threatens to implode.
For the sake of their children, Tracy and Sean agree to lead separate lives under the same roof. With the help of a healthy dose of adult-rated fiction and some gentle prodding from a good friend, Tracy begins to rediscover who she is, what she wants, and the reasons she fell for Sean once upon a time.
After two years of soul-searching, Tracy is finally ready to embrace her happily ever after having learned that while happiness may be fleeting, contentment can last a lifetime.
It all begins and ends with the sexy red shoes.
Tracy Sullivan, the woman with the plan, finds herself married with children years before she intended. She had dreams of climbing the corporate ladder. She yearned to return to school and take the courses necessary in order to make it happen. But when she meets Sean, the man with the yellow hard hat, everything changes.
Their whirlwind romance results in a proposal she can’t possibly refuse. He is a force she can’t stop, and she won’t stop. Though the life she longed for is altered, it isn’t until the strip turns blue that she begins to question her choices.
She finds herself wondering if she ever truly loved him at all.
One thing I loved most about Contentment was the flashbacks. We get to meet the young and hopeful Sean and Tracy and watch in complete rapture as their courtship blossoms into love. Then we flash forward to their life as a married couple, while their family grows but so too does the gnawing uncertainty, aching unhappiness, and nagging doubt.
All the issues and missed opportunities plague Tracy, smothering her like the endless piles of laundry she sorts through each night.
She tells Sean she’s not interested in sex anymore, and though it kills him, he stands by her and gives her the time and space she needs. To family and friends, they try desperately to portray the portrait of a perfect family, but inside the walls of their flawless suburban home, everything’s falling apart.
The supporting cast in Contentment is wonderful. Sean’s Uncle, George, and his brother, Tom, provide comedic relief when it’s needed most, and they’re Sean’s greatest confidants. The kids, Patrick, Erin, and Kevin, are all charming and superbly described, and you’ll fall in love with each and every one of them. And Tracy’s closest friend, Maggie, is totally my new fictional best friend.
Two years of soul-searching later, Tracy finally starts to see what was there all along. She’d always fantasized about the perfect Hollywood life, but she realizes that nobody truly has that, and what she does have is perfect for her. She begins to cherish precious family moments she once took for granted.
The ups and downs of married life are like a roller coaster. This story is touching and poignant in every way because it’s real.
Fueled by her sexy red shoes, a swift kick from Maggie, and a much-needed dose of adult-rated fiction, Tracy plots her biggest plan of all: the seduction of her husband.
I could not put this book down. I laughed, I cried, and I pulled for Sean and Tracy right from the start. I’m so glad I found Contentment. It is truly the best book I have ever read!