Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on July 19th 2016
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It’s no secret that I tend to like pretty serious, dark books, so things get a little tricky when I’m really looking to escape. Most of the time, I find it easiest to hide out in the stable facts of nonfiction, but the craziness of late has had me seeking out something a little more light and fun. The Hopefuls came by at just the right time.
When her husband, Matt, gets a job working for the Obama administration, Beth has to leave behind New York City for Washington, D.C. Though Matt quickly adjusts to the change, Beth despises both D.C. and the people she encounters, whose lives all seem to revolve around their roles in the government. When Beth and Matt are introduced to a White House staffer and his wife, the couples become fast friends and bond over common interests, with politics and competition looming close by.
Perhaps I’m missing out on a corner of the literary world, but I feel like there aren’t many books focused on the unique challenge of making and keeping friends as a couple, particularly in a new place. Close really hones in on that and teases out the things that can make it so difficult, including the snarky gossip that goes on between couples themselves. Regardless of where you live or the work you do, there’s something familiar in that sour bite of envy.
The Hopefuls is stronger in the first half, as it falls into some predictable plot lines near the end, but it’s an absorbing read just perfect for a bit of necessary escape.