Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: The World According to Rachael by Layne Harper

A heartbeat away from the President is where White House Chief of Staff Rachael Early spends almost every waking minute of every day. She’s sacrificed everything to be in this position including her chance at love, or so she thinks. But, if you ask her, all of her dreams have come true. Graham Jackson is a teacher and coach at the President’s son’s school. Graham met Rachael when he was a staffer during the campaign – a chance meeting that Rachael does not remember. However, her rally speech inspired the next seven years of his career. They’re pushed together by the First Family. Rachael’s world shifts on its axis, and she is left to figure out her new future. What happens next is a journey of self-discovery, learning how to be a partner in a relationship, and redefining what it means to have it all.

4.5 Fantastic Stars
Review by Jen Hagen

Rachael is a secondary character from the “Infinity” series, and this story can be read as a stand-alone. 

Rachael is very career driven, focused, and has lived her entire life for this one moment – to be Chief of Staff to the President.  She is currently beginning her 8th and final year in this position.  The end of her career will soon be over and she is left wondering what will she do after that?  She has hit the high in her life at a young age and everything after this will never reach the adrenaline level that she has experienced  while successfully reaching her goal.  Rachael has never had time for love…she has made it clear that she loves herself more than she could love anybody else.  Rachael had a relationship with Aiden (this was briefly touched on in the Infinity series), and he was willing to marry her complete with an engagement proposal, but she wasn’t willing to put him before her job.  Since then she has had mutual agreements with men that they only meet on neutral ground with the sole purpose of having sex. 

Graham is 7 years younger than Rachael and when he had just graduated from college he was filling his time and fluffing his resume by being a campaign staffer.  He met Rachael during one of her drop in visits, and that brief exchange changed the focus of his life.  Graham gave up becoming a lawyer and instead became a teacher/coach.   He just happens to be the lacrosse coach of the President’s son and is invited to attend a family function – the same function that Rachael is at which could be construed as a matchmaking set up compliments of the President’s wife.

Graham puts the butterflies in Rachael’s stomach and she is surprised by how much she likes that feeling.  Rachael is even leaving work early to see Graham.  Rachael never puts anyone before her job, but somehow Graham is showing Rachael that she can have a life outside the Oval office and still balance her job.  Graham has wedged his way into Rachael’s life and for once Rachael isn’t fighting this intruder of her heart away.

I’m lost in him, and I wonder if he knows just how much he owns me.

Rachael is a perceptive gal.  She hasn’t gotten this far in her career by not paying attention to detail.  She notices that Graham’s lifestyle doesn’t match his job income and why doesn’t he ever invite her over to his house?  Something is amiss and it doesn’t take long for the truth to come out.

I need to confront Graham.  He owes me an explanation.  I want him to feel as much pain as he’s caused me.  He needs to see that his heartless actions have injured me.

I didn’t want to like Rachael because of the heartache that she caused Aiden, but within a few pages Ms. Harper had me wrapped around Rachael’s finger.  She’s not a heartless person, just a person who wants to succeed and reach her goals.  I felt the pain that Rachael was feeling, and I felt the strength it took her to confront Graham about their relationship.  I felt her weakness when she couldn’t balance her relationship with Graham after the revelation.  I want her and Graham to find their happy ending, but things have turned so bitter for them.  As book one ends and fades away, we are left with a question mark hanging above their future.  I look forward to book 2…”The World According to Graham.”  I can only hope that this means that the story will be told though his POV.  We were treated to his feelings of rawness and desolation in the final chapter.

You’re so cold…angry.”  She looks into my eyes and I see a sadness, apologetic look in them I’ve never seen before.  “I’m sorry, Graham.  I’m so sorry that you hate me this much.” 


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