Marissa Stapley’s debut novel, Mating for Life is both an interesting and a touching story about the relationships women have with each other in addition to being about family and love. Though the book started off slow for me, and some parts were a bit too wordy for my liking, I thought Mating for Life was overall a nice read.
What I enjoyed about Mating for Life is that it follows only the women in the book with the men acting as more secondary characters. Throughout the book we get to know Helen Sear, the mother of three grown up daughters and a woman who has always prided herself on not needing men. As well, we also obtain an opportunity to get acquainted with her daughters, Liane, Fiona and Ilsa, who are all unique though fairly believable characters. And even though I could not relate much to them with the exception of Liane’s tendency to idealize strangers; they still felt extremely real to me since the issues and questions the characters have are quite common today.
With many characters, it was a bit tough to get used to all the bouncing between different characters’ point of views which often happens in a single chapter, perhaps it would have been better if each character had their own chapter so that the flow was not disrupted as much. However even within the chapters, the transitions between different characters were handled better compared to other books I’ve read previously.
Overall, Stapley’s greatest strength in Mating for Life lies in capturing the complexities of female relationships as well as describing the little and on occasion dramatic moments such as the bridge scene between Fiona and her husband, Tim as well as the epilogue with Helen. The first scene made me tear up a bit, which made me look even weirder than usual as I was reading it while on the bus. Meanwhile the latter just filled me up with so much hope and joy.
Mating for Life is a book that I believe would make for a fine cottage read given its main setting. And I love how Stapley plays with the title of her book by including a brief description of the mating and/or breeding behaviour of a different animal at the start of each chapter. This adds to the book, as not only do you find an interesting story, but you also learn a thing or too.
If you like this book, you’ll love: My Ghosts by Mary Swan
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.