Without Benefits by Nicole Tone – Beach Read With Soul


Nicole is someone I got to know on Twitter when looking for critique partners. As we swapped first chapters, I soon realized her writing was exemplary and she had much to offer in terms of feedback and the craft of writing, something I could only aspire too. So, when I knew her first book was coming out this year, I signed up for an ARC.

I received my copy over the long weekend and I settled in after an exhausting couple of days with my Kindle in hand.

Emma. Connor. Owen.

Two men. One woman. Emma flees NYC after the September 11 attacks, leaving behind a city that she called home. Reinventing herself in Seattle, she is engaged to Connor when Owen from her past surfaces.

The story moves predictably and slowly. Tone takes her time weaving Emma’s college years with her current life (in her 30’s) alternatively. Just when we are about to get frustrated as to why it takes her so long to see what everyone else in her life seems to know, we get a peak into the kind of person Emma has evolved into based on what happened in her past.

Tone works on revealing each character, their motivations and their place in Emma’s life leisurely. Seattle and New York City come to life in this debut. The prose sparkles with understated emotions and beautiful imagery. She delves into relationships with a beautiful sensitivity. I loved the way Emma related to her sister Leah and their mom. There are moments in the book almost every woman will relate to.

Having said that, I would have found the book compelling with a stronger conflict. I kept waiting for a story to unfold until the very end only to realize that was all to the story.

Pick it up if you are in the mood for a beach read with soul.

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