Tuesday, June 11, 2013

5 Reasons to Leave a Lover / Carolyn Moncel

Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin

Genre: Women’s Lit/ Contemporary/ Short Story Collection

Approximate word count: 20-25,000 words

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Carolyn Moncel currently resides in Lausanne, Switzerland with her husband and two daughters. A virtual media and web consultant by day and author by night, she received her bachelor's degree in Communications from Loyola University and has a long list of credentials. Short stories and novellas are Ms. Moncel’s preferred format.

Find out more at her website.


This novella explores “how love relationships are affected and splinter due to abuse, ambivalence, deception, cheating and death. This bittersweet collection of tales proves that some breakups are necessary; while others are voluntary; and still others are simply destined and beyond anyone's control.”


Ms. Moncel has explored the feelings of a jilted wife, her cheating husband, and the mistress in the first novelette giving the reader a first person point-of-view from each character. Told mainly through narrative and inner dialogue it was hard for me to connect with the characters. Ellery Roulet, a 35 year-old American PR executive living and working in Paris, was a strong independent character who has an emotional response to Julien’s infidelity by destroying all of his possessions. Julien feels threatened by her independence and success but comes to realize that this is one reason he loves her. The mistress, Katrine, was stereotypical in my opinion. The best part of this story was the meeting between Ellery and Julien in the park at the end where there was actual dialogue between these two.  

Maybe Just Leave, Steve is a short story about infidelity more or less seen through the eyes of a dog. Well, Cinnamon was Steve’s dog but for what ever reason he leaves her with Leah as he moves out of their apartment. The thing is Steve inherited Cinnamon from an ex-girlfriend when she moved out.  Do you see a pattern here?  It is a unique perspective. Dogs are always loyal to their caregivers.

The last short story Maybe in Death, Beth is a poignant story of an elderly couple where the ending of their relationship was not infidelity but a parting just the same. It was a heart-wrenching story where Herman reflects on his life with his late wife. I could totally relate with Herman and I worried about his future.

In essence these stories are character studies and Ms. Moncel has added a short interview at the end of this book along with questions for book clubs to consider.


Apparently some of these characters are included in other stories Ms. Moncel has written. I cannot say whether I would have been able to relate more with these characters or not if I had had prior knowledge of them before I read this novella.

Format/Typo Issues:

I found a small number of proofing errors which consisted of missing or extra letters that changed intended words and missing beginning or ending quotation marks. All small errors that added up enough to mention here.

Rating: *** Three stars

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