Reviewed by L.D.Y.
Trade, 422 pages, 2008
Reason for Reading: Summer reading.
Synopsis: Jennifer Hunter gets paid well for a job she doesn’t want anyone to know about – she’s a ‘fidelity inspector,’ which means women hire her to find out if their men would have every intention of cheating if Jennifer didn’t stop them at the last minute. But hiding her life from everyone she loves is proving to be almost as much of a problem as what it’s doing to her expectations of men.
Why you should read this book: The Fidelity Files is an interesting study in human nature – or at least in the art of manipulation. Jennifer is a nicely formed character, at first coming across as little more than a professional seductress but moving into a more well-rounded character bursting with issues and reasons for doing the job she does. She’s jaded, but trying to open herself up to the possibility of love, something most of us can relate to after a bad experience or two (or three, or…). The parts about note-collecting and tailoring herself to fit the ideals of each target man are fun – some men want a quiet girl, or a smart girl, while some just want the hot party girl that they think their wife could never be. A quick, fun read for every girl who’s ever wondered what men want…and who wants to read about the ways that men might surprise you.
Why you should avoid this book: I found it rather odd that it’s never addressed how, through the wives’ extremely detailed notes on what their husbands want, they seem to be setting themselves up for failure when they send out Jennifer Hunter in disguise as an absolute ideal. No, it doesn’t make it right that they would choose to cheat, but it’s odd that it’s never brought up in any form. And, while The Fidelity Files tries to find a place of hope, this might not be the best ‘comfort read.’
The man I was looking for was seated comfortably in the back of the hotel bar.
‘First you don’t react to my engagement announcement, then you freak out when I tell you I want to hire someone to make sure Eric is a trustworthy guy before I marry him, and now you’re yelling at some poor, innocent valet for no apparent reason. This is definitely not you.’
She was right. It wasn’t me. I wasn’t sure who the hell it was. I took a deep breath. ‘I’m sorry. I’ve been under a lot of stress at work,’ I lied quickly. Ah, yes. The legendary work scapegoat saves the day again.
‘Monday night, then?’ she asked hastily. This woman certainly was anxious to get this over with. ‘Daniel has drinks scheduled a the W that night; it’s perfect timing.’
I hesitated. I normally like to have a week between the initial meeting and the assignment. ‘Well…’ I began.
‘I’ll triple your fee,’ she offered.
I looked at her strangely. What was up with this woman? She was clearly one sandwich sort of a picnic basket, and in serious need of a firm dose of present-day reality. But still I felt a strong desire to take her offer. I probably could use the extra money. After my previous meeting I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be in business.
Also recommended: It’s About Your Husband by Lauren Lipton; Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman; Everyone Else’s Girl by Megan Crane.
Also by this author: The Fidelity Files is Brody’s first novel.
Fun tidbit: In 2005, Brody sang on a commercial for the television show Desperate Housewives.
Would I read more by this author? I’ll read her second book when it comes out next year.
© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2008