The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland

The Intermission

Elyssa Friedland

Cass and Jonathan go on an "intermission," a six-month separation to see if this life is the one they want. Told from alternating perspectives, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage.

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Have you ever had a secret so gut-wrenching you couldn't tell anyone, not even the person who shares your bed? Told from the alternating perspectives of a husband and wife who both have something to hide, this incisive novel pulls back the curtain on a seemingly-happy marriage, posing the question: how much do we really know--and how much should we want to know--about the people we love the most?

After five long years, the unshakable confidence Cass Coyne felt as a bride is gone. Her husband, Jonathan, on the other hand, is still smitten. It's true that the quirks he once found charming in his wife--her high standards, her refusal to clean the dishes--are beginning to grate. But for him, these are minor challenges in a healthy relationship.

So it comes as a complete shock to Jonathan when Cass suddenly requests a marital "intermission": a six-month separation during which they'll decide if the comfortable life they've built is still the one they both want.

Aside from a monthly custodial exchange of their beloved dog, contact will be limited. But as the months pass, they begin to see that calculated silences just like these have helped to drive them apart--and that it may finally be time to confront the blistering secrets they've been avoiding.

Advance Galley Reviews

The Intermission has some good points--the seemingly realistic dialogue, thoughts about marriage, the love for a furry child. The problems; characters marginal--not loved, not hated; after only 5 years, that really isn't a LONG time in married life; and the "games" used as singles, and as a married couple--well, kind of normal. Five years, without children, albeit with busy careers doesn't allow a couple to really have the time to question the total relationship. After Cass quit her job, and her friend "came out," that was when Cass began to question her motives (guilt) in "landing" Jonathan as her husband for life. Guilt seemed like a strange reason to try an intermission, especially since Cass seemed to be a lazy butt (couldn't even wash a dish) and Jonathan went along with it--wish I had a husband who would come home from work and wash all the dishes. I liked the way each character had his/her own chapters, and the reader could see what was going on in each character's head. Not a bad story, just a bit slow--glad I was able to read the galley copy. Don't think I would have picked it out at the library or purchased it.

I could not get into this book. Cass was just too hard for me to like, at all. Their entire relationship was based on her lie. She has a devoted husband, who thinks fondly of when they first got together, and it was all a construction of Cass's scheming. Once she snags him, she treats him quite awful. The writing is a bit dry for my taste, this was one of those rare books that I just don't finish.

I had issues with getting this one to open. :( I will look for it when it comes out.

After a few years of marriage, Cass wants an intermission. While the characters were not easy to like, it was an interesting and fairly true representation of probably many marriages. I enjoyed the story and the ending was not what I expected.

Unpleasant protagonists make this foray into the ups and downs of a relatively young marriage hard to enjoy. Each of the partners is, in their own way, entirely too entitled, their individual concerns too narrow to hold anyone’s interests other than their own. Sadly, I would include my own interests as well, the book just didn’t capture my attention and it was a struggle to keep reading.

I did not like this book. I wanted to, but I couldn't. It wasn't just because I couldn't stand either of the main characters (I've enjoyed many novels where that is the case), I simply couldn't believe that Jonathan would tolerate being treated so poorly by Cass for so long. What was the attraction? That was never made clear to me, and the ending was particularly hard to swallow.

This book provides an accurate portrayal of how marriage can reach plateaus - the day to day grind of just living with one another and needing to create excitement to keep the relationship going. I had a hard time liking or relating to Cass - regardless of her upbringing, her Intermission was not something I’d expect a spouse to accept and live with. Even though Jonathan had his faults, I found myself looking forward to the sections written from his perspective. I was anxiously awaiting the end to see how it was going to be resolved, and while it seemed very cookie cutter and easy, I still enjoyed it. The book was well written and kept me reading.

The writing for this book is good but I just didn't enjoy the storyline and I didn't like the characters. I have trouble getting into a book if I don't find the main characters likeable and I had a hard time finishing this book. I will checkout the author's future books because I think she has good potential.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. First let me say that I did enjoy the alteration between the characters in the delivery of the story. I felt that the dog was the only thing forcing them to refocus throughout, but was a necessary part if it was truly to be an intermission and not a “turn your back and walk away” event. The ending was not particularly based in reality for me, but just what the story needed. So much time was spent on each character by themselves that it overshadowed the marriage itself which I felt was rather addressed only superficially. I thought it dragged on a bit at times but it did keep my interest throughout and was a good read for an afternoon.

Cass and Jonathan Coyne have been married for 5 years and appear to have it all. But Cass feels like their marriage no longer has that exciting spark as it did when they were newlyweds. So she suggests to Jonathan they do a trial separation (aka intermission) for 6 months in which they are allowed to see other people. As the months pass, they both reflect on the secrets they kept from one another that contributed to the downfall of their marriage and contemplate whether this is a marriage worth saving. In order for this story to completely work for me, I really needed it to feature characters who I actually liked, instead at first Cass and Jonathan were just a tad unlikable but as the story progressed I found them to be pretty horrible people. One character in particular I really struggled to find any redeemable qualities. With that being said though, I still had an interest to find out what was going to happen with their marriage and the author did a good job keeping me on my toes with some twists within the story. I personally didn't enjoy the ending but I'm probably in the minority there. While I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend this book, I would check out future books by the author as she is talented at telling an interesting story. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! All views expressed are my honest opinion.

A fast paced read that pulls you in from the beginning. Cas and Jonathan have decided its time to try to have a baby but they aren't always on the same page about things. Its never anything big, but small little things that cause friction within their relationship. The characters were never super likable so I had a hard time rooting for their relationship. however I did enjoy the back and forth between the two characters. It's a good read despite the characters.

This book gives us two unlikable protagonists and their alternating personal narratives. It was a quick read that kept me engrossed enough to finish it in one go, and make me think about complacency and honesty in relationships. Thoroughly enjoyable for a beach or snow day.

Enjoyable. Similar to 2017’s The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn. However, the book is different enough as it plays out that it didn’t seem like a complete retread. Decent beach read.


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