Bethany Chase’s new novel, Results May Vary brings forth a topic that is often shoved under the table, but perhaps whispered about in hushed tones at dinner parties. Adultery is to many the maximum betrayal in a marriage, a breach of trust that can often never be repaired when broken. What happens when this betrayal not only conceals a lover from an unsuspecting spouse but also hides a completely different life?
Caroline Hammond is happy. She married her high school sweetheart, the man with whom she lost her virginity. She has a job she loves, and while things aren’t great in her relationship with her younger sister, it’s something she can live with as long as she has Ben by her side. But all of this changes the day that Caroline and Ben go to a gallery show of one of the most sought-after photographers in the city. A friend of Caroline’s offers her a private tour of a series of edgier photographs that are not displayed to the public. As she innocently takes a closer look, she sees that one of the photographs reveals the artist himself in the throes of lovemaking with a man. Upon a shaky closer inspection, that man is slowly revealed as Caroline’s husband Ben, tragically recognizable by a distinctive mark on his shoulder.
Caroline’s world as she knows it, has been obliterated in a matter of seconds. Her husband has not only betrayed her, but has done so with a man, revealing a side to her husband that Caroline knew nothing about. She soon discovers that this is only one of the secrets he’s kept from her. Caroline is now forced to pick up the remaining pieces and begin her life from scratch, which includes the not entirely welcome intrusion of her estranged younger sister and the unexpected attentions of a co-worker, who may be Caroline’s chance of starting over. Or who on the other hand, could be another tragedy in a long string of disappointments.
With a narrative that is exquisitely outlined to show a life-altering scenario, made even more so by the flashbacks into Ben and Caroline’s past, in Results May Vary Bethany Chase forces us to look at an outcome both heart-breaking and poignant. Is it possible that when we think our life is over, in reality the life that we are meant to have is truly beginning?