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A Beautiful, Terrible Thing
Cover of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing
A Beautiful, Terrible Thing
A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal
by Jen Waite
**An International Bestseller**
"Be forewarned: You won't sleep until you finish the last page. " -Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World

One night. One email. Two realities.
It all started with an email...
Before: Jen Waite has met the partner of her dreams. A handsome, loving man who becomes part of her family, evolving into her husband, her best friend, and the father of her infant daughter.
After: A disturbing e-mail sparks suspicion, leading to an investigation of who this man really is and what was really happening in their marriage.
In alternating Before and After chapters, Waite obsessively analyzes her relationship, trying to find a single moment form the past five years that isn't part of the long con of lies and manipulation. Instead, she finds more lies, infidelity, and betrayal than she could have imagined. With the pacing and twists of a psychological thriller, A Beautiful, Terrible Thing looks at how a fairy tale can become a nightmare and what happens when "it could never happen to me" actually does.
**An International Bestseller**
"Be forewarned: You won't sleep until you finish the last page. " -Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World

One night. One email. Two realities.
It all started with an email...
Before: Jen Waite has met the partner of her dreams. A handsome, loving man who becomes part of her family, evolving into her husband, her best friend, and the father of her infant daughter.
After: A disturbing e-mail sparks suspicion, leading to an investigation of who this man really is and what was really happening in their marriage.
In alternating Before and After chapters, Waite obsessively analyzes her relationship, trying to find a single moment form the past five years that isn't part of the long con of lies and manipulation. Instead, she finds more lies, infidelity, and betrayal than she could have imagined. With the pacing and twists of a psychological thriller, A Beautiful, Terrible Thing looks at how a fairy tale can become a nightmare and what happens when "it could never happen to me" actually does.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2017 Jen Waite

    B E FO R E

    MARCO. This man, I knew in my gut, was it. I finally understood what it meant, when you "just know." I just knew about Marco. I met him at the Square, the restaurant where we both worked. I got a job as a waitress to make the money that did not seem to be materializing from my acting and modeling careers. Two years out of college, I had quit my job as an analyst at a hedge fund and decided to become a full‑time actor, to "go for it." It sounded great in theory.

    A year later, I'd gone to audition after audition, casting after casting, and the biggest job I had booked was starring in a holiday vodka commercial. The role called for "blonde, pretty, aspirational, Swedish‑looking." Check, and apparently check, check, check. A whole twenty seconds of staring dreamily into the eyes of the chiseled‑faced man I had met a few hours before and clinking my glass against his. Having a restaurant job to pay the bills made me a cliché, but it was necessary, and besides, it gave the days structure.

    On the first day of training at the Square, a trendy burger restaurant a few blocks from my apartment, I sat with ten other new employees around a large, circular table, listening to Bruce, the tiny, energetic manager go over the corporate "steps of service." It was my second waitressing job—the first, a chain restaurant in midtown (the only place that would hire me with no experience) lasted just two months. As Bruce danced around the restaurant, demonstrating when to bring steak knives versus butter knives to a table, I scanned the faces around the table, landing on dark brown eyes belonging to one of the bartenders. He was tall and Latin with black, slicked back hair and mocha skin. Judging by his accent when he asked a question about the bar setup a few moments earlier, he had been born elsewhere but had lived in the States awhile; the way he spoke was confident and fluid. Our eyes briefly locked and he gave a quick, easy smile. I looked away, willing myself not to blush. I had learned long ago that the best way to survive in New York City was to keep my defenses up at all times. And anyway, I was happy with my long‑distance boyfriend back home in Maine. Jeff had light blue eyes, curly brown hair, and a build comprised of the muscles he used every day in his construction job. When I saw him without clothes, it was like seeing a Greek god in the flesh. I had never seen a body like that in real life before. I had met Jeff while I was home for the summer helping my mom recover from surgery. When I went back to New York at the end of the summer, we substituted drunken nights on his couch for hours on the phone, and what was supposed to be a fun summer fling somehow turned into a year‑long romance. Our relationship of texting and sporadic weekend visits was easy, and he made me laugh.

    The meeting ended, and I gathered my notebook and pen and slid my sunglasses up to rest on top of my head. I was almost through the doors leading to the street before anyone else had even gotten up from the table. I felt someone come up right behind me and suddenly the door was opening. It was the Latin.

    "Jen, right?" Except the way he said it, it sounded like "Gin."

    "Um, right. Sorry, I was just—"

    "I'm Marco, the bar manager. Bruce asked me to hand out these employee packets to everyone at the end of the meeting, but you ran away before I could give you one," he said, passing me some rolled up sheets of paper.

    "Oh, sorry, I was just . . . thanks." I couldn't help but meet his open face...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 8, 2017
    In this emotionally charged memoir, Waite, who lives in Maine with her daughter, describes how the man she married turned out to be not at all what he seemed. Waite details the unraveling of their five-year romance in a powerful narrative. Waite was a waitress in her 20s when she fell in love with Marco, the bar manager where she worked. She believed she’d found her soul mate even though he had a child before meeting her from another relationship and was working in the country illegally. They married, he got a green card, and she used her savings so that they and some friends could open a restaurant. But soon after giving birth to their daughter, she found a suspicious email from her husband to another woman. He denied having an affair and told her that something was very wrong with him psychologically: he’d stopped feeling anything. Exhausted and confused, she retreated to her parents’ house to figure out what was making him sick. She couldn’t help continuing her detective work, going through phone records and emails. As she researched his changing behavior, the truth about her relationship was revealed. She realized, with the help of a therapist, that she’d been in love with a liar and a psychopath. Waite’s is a well-written and at times gripping story of deceit.

  • Kirkus

    May 15, 2017
    A woman discovers her husband is not whom she thought he was.Waite met Marco at work; he was the new bar manager, and she was working as a waitress "to make the money that did not seem to be materializing from my acting and modeling careers." They went out for drinks even though Waite had a long-distance relationship with another man. "He was sexy and mysterious and all of a sudden I wanted him more than I had wanted anything in my life," she writes. Before long, they were a couple and moved in together; she agreed to help fund Marco's lifetime dream of opening a restaurant; they got pregnant and married. Then their perfect life fell apart when Waite discovered Marco was cheating on her and had been for quite some time. Alternating between two time frames--before finding out about the affair and after--the author slowly unravels the complexity of lies and disillusions she suffered because of Marco. The tension, disbelief, and grief permeate the pages as Waite chronicles how she obsessively checked Marco's email and Facebook accounts for proof of his infidelity. The author makes palpable her inability to cope with the enormity of her situation and the confusion and fear for what a divorce would mean for her newborn child. Her recounting of the events gives readers an up-close look at the psychological damage that occurs when one partner falls completely for another and ignores the gut instincts and warning signs that the relationship may not be what it seems. Those who have been in a manipulative partnership with a narcissistic or abusive person will find Waite's honest retelling relevant and potent. Many will find they can use this as a guidebook of what to watch out for so they don't make the same mistakes that the author did. A frank and visceral dual timeline shows the romance and failure of a woman's marriage to a psychopath.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2017
    Married to the love of her life, Waite began catching him in ever more serious betrayals and manipulations, finally realizing that she didn't know him at all--that he was, in fact, a psychopath. Big expectations on this book, which has attracted media attention.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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