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REVIEW: The Expats by Chris Pavone

Moving to a new place can be an incredible adventure, but even for the excited, it brings a real feeling of pressure. How will I fit in with the new people I meet? How will I learn about local customs and laws? How will I handle a new work situation?

In The Expats, Kate and Dexter move to Luxembourg from their home in Washington, D.C. to follow a golden opportunity in Dexter’s career. The huge increase in salary is going to be enough to allow Kate the chance to settle into being a mother and enjoying life in Europe.

But Kate’s attempt to withdraw from her career – one that Dexter doesn’t know about – proves more difficult than she imagined. Kate struggles to balance her desire to support their new life with her need to be back in her old. What starts as a simple curiosity quickly develops into an expanding web of questions that surround not only Kate and Dexter, but new friends in the expat community of Luxembourg, and even some not-quite-buried secrets from Kate’s past.

Pavone navigates the tale through two paths – one set in the present day and one which begins at the outset of Kate and Dexter’s journey to Luxembourg. Kate’s plight may be beyond the scope of the readers’ lives, but her circumstances are certainly familiar territory. The book’s many mysteries are doled out in little bits, with hints to guide the reader into figuring the story out just before an answer is given. Thankfully, the whole of the plot is revealed near the end, either to confirm the readers’ conclusions or to provide that sense of finality that many readers desire.

I very much enjoyed this book, and was impressed with the level of intrigue Pavone brought to the characters. There were a few parts in which clever writing seemed to get in the way of telling the story, and a few scenes that seemed to do little more than pass time. The mystery of the story, though, is ultimately more than worth the time to read the novel.

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This entry was posted on December 3, 2012 by in Books, Reviews.

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