Title: RIPPLE EFFECT
Author: TRACEY JERALD
Publication Date: FEBRUARY 3, 2020
I’ve experienced the ways love can change a poor man into a rich one, a sinner to a saint, and make people beg for redemption.
Yet nothing I’d ever done was as profound as marrying the woman I love.
Every mission I took was a risk worth taking knowing I’d go home to her loving arms.
What I didn’t know was in my quest to right all the wrongs of the world, I was destroying the only part of it I’d die for—my marriage.
The ripple effect of miscommunication and the sin of my omissions would change all of our lives.
And it would be my wife who would pay the price.
I have so much to talk about when it comes to this book, but I’m not sure if I will be able to do it justice in my review. I did a lot of thinking on how can I write my review for this one. I’ve never felt like I fail in writing a review for any books before, but this book is so different that I don’t know how to begin and what else to say/write. Well, I’m trying my best and hopefully my review make a lot of sense!
This is the most intense and heartbreaking story of a broken marriage and second chances. Cal and Libby’s story is very realistic, from how they first met to how they fall in love with one another to their marriage to how they try to give their marriage another chance. It was all worth the read. I get really emotional reading this type of story, but I enjoyed every single thing about it and ended up loving it even more.
The setting of the story actually took place in a live studio where Libby and Cal was telling their story to a therapist in the present day, and the story of how they first met up to the point where they came back to give their marriage another chance all happened in the past. There was a lot of flashback scenes, it wasn’t just a short scene but a full one, and very much entertaining. It wasn’t like the flashback scenes in most books, this one is very different and more enjoyable in my opinion.
The whole time, I was wondering what actually happened that made Cal and Libby’s marriage nearly end, and who was at fault. There are so many questionable things in the story, and since this book has 80 chapters, trying to find the answer will takes time. And the answer was kind of predictable but also kind of not. It doesn’t surprised me that Cal’s job and their lack of communication regarding Cal’s job are mainly the reason why they had so many issues in their marriage.
There are so many lies, secrets, misunderstanding, and miscommunication in Cal and Libby’s relationship. Waiting for the reasons why their marriage was in trouble was very hard. I had to wait for so long to reach to the part where Libby finally touch on that matter. The anticipation of finding the answer was quite challenging. Since the beginning, she and the therapist keep on mentioning the Sea Force, and I was like, “what is the Sea Force? And what is the connection between it and Libby’s marriage?” I was confused actually, but then later on in the story, I can see why the Sea Force tragedy is important. That is the tragedy that brought Cal and Libby back together. I’ve been wondering the importance of it, I thought Libby work in the Sea Force and got into trouble then Cal saved her, oh how wrong I was!
So much happened in this book that just made it more painful to read. I had tears in my eyes since the earliest chapter, and after that, I just keep on crying due to Libby’s pain. This book is a huge emotional rollercoaster, and thankfully I survived.
This story focus more on the aspect of a broken marriage, or should I just say…an unsecured marriage that is ready to collapse any time because of too much problems in it. I loved that the author explored this aspect more and make it as the main theme of this book. This is why I find this book so unique than most books I’ve read.
The exploration of this aspect was deeper than I thought, and I gladly pay attention to it. It helps me understand how a compatible pairing and their beautiful marriage can collapse, and what was the reason behind it. It also showed that if you still love your partner, you shouldn’t give up on them but instead, listen to their full explanation first before making any decision that will leave you with full of regrets and guilt. This book does leave so many great messages for the readers.
Not only that, but this book also showed how Cal and Libby try to overcome their guilt, and how to deal with their broken relationship and their broken marriage in a proper way. What will it takes for both of them to reconcile and get back together again. Is their marriage worth fighting for? And what will happen to them once the truth came out? Will they be able to handle it or are they going to walk away from each other’s lives permanently? So many questions, but the answers are worth waiting for.
Since this book has dual POV—from both Cal and Libby—it does help me to understand their feelings more, and also makes me see very clearly what was in their head the whole time. It does help me connect with Cal and Libby on a deeper level. These two are so precious, but I was sad and even felt sorry for them because of the complication in their marriage that made them lost their connection to one another, and put their relationship in jeopardy.
Cal and Libby are both great and flawed characters which is very realistic that makes anyone can relate to them. I loved the way the author written their character as. The whole problem in their relationship was already tough, and I don’t want to blame only one of them for what happened. But one thing for sure is that, both of them are at fault for different reasons.
Cal is a nice man, he was all good, but the moment he chose to keep a secret about what his job actually is and covered it with lies, I knew right then and there that it will become a problem. Well, I wasn’t wrong. I liked Cal’s character, he’s so charming, so romantic, and always try his best to fulfill his promises and be the best he can be. He’s a workaholic, and his job always come first. I literally had no problem with him being a hardworking person, but I was fuming that Libby doesn’t come first and that he chose his job over his wife on more than one occasion.
He deserted his marriage with Libby because of all the tough mission he had to do, and I get why his job is important because he is a secret agent and the things he had to do are beyond normal people’s imagination. He’d been saving lives, and sometimes had to go overseas for weeks. Not that it was wrong, what he did was truly remarkable, but it was better for him not to make many empty promises. I get why he had to protect some information from Libby, because there are rules that he had to follow and his boss can’t let him tell everything about his job to Libby.
Overall, Cal is a nice man. He has a great personality and his protective side is worth swooning over. But some of the things he did to protect Libby can be so wrong, for example: the dishonesty. I loved that despite working a lot, he never stop loving Libby. Every time he told her, ”I love you Libby. Always,” that made my heart soft. His favorite word is ’Always,’ he never left that word whenever he told his wife he love her. Every time he did something wrong, he always went to a great length to prove that he can be better, and he always give a better gift to his wife in order to make up for his wrongdoings. Cal is the type of man who will never give up, and he always try to better himself and that’s why I love his character development. His character keeps on growing to be so much better than before.
Libby on the other hand is a very nice and wonderful woman. Her character went through so much changes in the story. It was nice to see her all happy and smiling, but then after having to go through a lot of painful things in her life, she just changed. She’s not the same Libby like in the early of the story, but instead Elizabeth the American heiress. She had two different sides; Libby the happy sun-flowery woman, and Elizabeth the heiress. She doesn’t put on her heiress mask for a lot longer, and for the majority of the book, she did stay as Libby. Seeing the shift in her character just shows how wonderfully-written her character is, it was like she can be any character. She truly pulled off the happy look and the serious look so well too.
The whole time I read the book, I could feel her pain, her sadness and loneliness. I feel bad for her because she spent a lot of time being alone than with Cal due to the all dangerous and secretive mission that Cal had to do. I get why she was upset, but I was wishing for her to understand Cal more, like truly understand that his job is complicated and that he cannot shore a lot more details since he is basically a secret agent as he already told her. Cal’s dishonesty is what makes Libby second-guessing everything about their relationship, and why she always demanded answers from him because she couldn’t come to an understanding about his job. I do get both of their reasons, but seeing Libby was the only one who had to suffer really breaks my heart.
Libby is a very vulnerable character. She easily get hurt, get sad, but despite all of that, she is still a strong and independent businesswoman who is also a workaholic. The way she made her business thrive successfully made me admire all the strength she had in her even though she usually cried herself to sleep at night. When she said, ”when did I gain a roommate and lose a lover?,” that line really hits home. It showed how she tried so hard to hold on to her marriage with Cal, but his works always get in the way and eventually she was left alone whenever Cal was out of the country. The way I look at it, their relationship turns from being a married couple to roommates which is so devastating. Her character might be weak but actually is strong, if you look closely and understand her more then you’ll know it. She’s too strong but she always underestimated herself, and when she realize her strength, she doesn’t easily back down from a fight. I loved that she’s not stubborn when she and Cal tried to reconcile their marriage, but instead willing to give their marriage another chance. She’s so unpredictable, I thought she already gave up and walked away forever, but thankfully she doesn’t. She made me nervous more than once when it comes to her thinking and making decisions. Honestly, I really loved her character.
Their romance was wonderful. Cal always showered Libby with a lot of gifts; buying sunflowers for her because it always remind him of her smile. And all their dates was beautiful. There wasn’t a lot of romance due to the story is focusing mainly on their broken marriage and the reason behind it. Despite there wasn’t a lot of romance going on, I still loved their romantic moments that was shown in the story. I loved that despite the ups and downs of their marriage, they still have a great and strong chemistry. But sadly, the more Cal was away on a mission, the more they lose their connection—not just physical connection, but also emotional connection—making their relationship slowly going downhill. This is the most heartbreaking thing for me to witness, and having to see how this wonderful couple struggling to repair what’s broken between them was so painful. I had a hard time reading it because I was crying so hard.
There are so many issues in their marriage; like how Cal was away during Libby’s accident, how he always missed out on Libby’s special day, the misunderstanding thing with Libby’s cousin-in-law, the Sea Force tragedy that nearly ended Libby’s life. These two went through a lot of things in their married life, there are a lot of tough challenges they had to face, but when they couldn’t face it together, they couldn’t survived it. It was really sad watching Libby walked away and seeing her going to enjoy her own time on the Sea Force to clear her mind and next thing you know, a deadly tragedy hit everyone who were on board the Sea Force. The suffering Libby went through was harsher than anyone can predict. The whole Sea Force thing really shocked me, it was the most unpredictable thing happened in the book. I didn’t know what it was about and why it was so important, but after I get to that part, I finally knew why the Sea Force is playing a major part in the story.
To me, the reconciliation was very well-written. After all, it always went back to the beginning of the story—the time Cal and Libby first met each other. I was swooning over how Cal knew where Libby was, and he doesn’t give it a second thought and just straight up pack his things to win her back and he never forget to buy her a bouquet of sunflowers. Also, I really like how the author made both of them have a full conversation regarding the issues in their marriage and made both of them be more open about everything, especially about Cal’s job. It will be sad to see these two walked away from each other if the author wants to go that route, but thankfully the author choose to bring these two back together again.
This book, the whole story, the journey of Cal and Libby are all worth the read. I was glad to be able to witness everything and to follow them on their journey from the moment they first met up until the moment they’re back together again. This is the most heartbreaking, devastating and yet moving story about second chances and marriage in jeopardy, and so many great messages can be taken from this book. Lots of lesson can be learn from this one. It can be quite heavy for some people to read this kind of story due to so many heartbreaking and painful things happening to the main couple, but prepare a lot of tissues because this story will take you on a high emotional ride. I came in unprepared, and I didn’t know what will hit me, but all the tears are worth it. Cal and Libby’s story will break your heart in a lot of ways, but you’ll be happy once you reach the ending. This is the type of book that I would read more than once because of how beautiful the story was written and the experience is so out-of-this-world. I highly recommend this to those who loves reading a romance story about broken marriage and second chances.