Untender Lives

Reviewed by Amy Gruzesky

In “Untender Lives” author Teagan Kearney introduces readers to five complex and conflicted heroines, melding their day to day existence with life changing experiences, with sometimes surprising outcomes.

Ruby, an aspiring rock star, learns she is unexpectedly pregnant, right at the time her music career is finally on the upswing. She finds her life mirroring her mother’s — who also had promise as a singer, but gave it up to have Ruby — and finds herself struggling to decide what she wants more — a baby or pursuing her dream of making it as a musician.

Ivy is a woman past her prime and living a very ordinary life — until one evening she sees a vision of a mesmerizing stranger in her garden — and things start changing for the better. But are they really improving, or is her sudden stroke of good fortune leading to something more sinister?

Miriam is a wealthy businesswoman living in a future time who undergoes a procedure that allows the spirits of two Catholic saints to be downloaded into her body. Her hope is that it will gain her access to heaven when she dies, but things don’t work out as planned when the two saints take over Miriam’s body and do what they want.

Melanie is a typical middle class wife and mother, harboring an awful secret that she knows she should share with someone, but can’t bring herself to do it. Instead, she tries to bury it — until she sees an article in the newspaper that forces her to consider finally revealing it.

Faye is in a failing relationship, but needs to have someone in her life, even if it is less than ideal. After a weekend with her sister, who encourages her to break free and live her own life, Faye realizes she has to decide if she wants to stay or move on.

In this collection, Kearney has created characters that are very relatable and ones you’ll find yourself either cheering for or wanting to shake some sense into — but they keep you interested, and in some stories, guessing what their final outcome will be right to the very end.

The collection is a quick, easy and thoroughly enjoyable read, and one that I was glad to happen upon — and I’m looking forward to more from this author.

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