Emma Shay is returning to her hometown, Sonoma, California. She never thought she would ever move back since both of her parents died, her best friend cheated with Emma's boyfriend, and Emma's stepmother treated her worse than Cinderella. Emma left Sonoma when she went off to college and found her way to New York City, where she marries a much older, wealthier man. Turns out her husband was stealing millions from his clients and killed himself when he realized that he was not going to get away with it. Emma returns to Sonoma broke and alone, but Sonoma is the only place she has ever called home, so Sonoma is where she goes.
Emma finds life in Sonoma is not as easy as she hoped. With the help of an old friend, she finds a charming little cottage, but the only job she can find is at a fast food joint. Nobody wants to hire a woman whose husband was accused of stealing millions of dollars. A series of unfortunate events lead Emma back to her former friend, Riley, and begging for a job cleaning houses. She meets up with Riley's older brother, Adam, and discovers that her former friend's older brother has turned into an intelligent, handsome man, who wants to be her friend and more. Will Emma be able to put the past - both recent and distant - behind her in order to lead a happy life?
The Life She Wants was the first book I have ever ready by Robyn Carr and I have to say that I was disappointed. Emma was a tolerable character, but she was not easy to like. While the whole feud with Riley was understandable, I think she took it too far and played the victim far more about that than she did about the way her late husband treated her. Then when she finally gets the chance to discuss it with Riley, she said that she was over it a long time ago. Really? Riley was just a bitch. To everybody who wasn't her immediate family - yet she was the one who slept with her best friend's boyfriend. She played the "I am a single mother" victim role pretty convincingly - until her daughter's father called her on the bullshit. She didn't do it alone, she had much more of a support network that a lot of single mothers do. The whole book was completely predictable, yet I felt that I had invested too much time to just stop listening. It was really disappointing because I really wanted to like it as much as I like Kristan Higgins books, but it just didn't have that same "spark."
Bottom line - I know that Robyn Carr has quite the devoted following, but I wasn't feeling it. I mean it - I wasn't feeling connected to the characters, I wasn't laughing, I wasn't crying, I wasn't hoping for a "happy ever after". I knew what the ending would be from very early on and how they would get there. The Life She Wants did not evoke any kind of feelings in me at all and that is not I want from the books I read. I want to feel something. Anything.