The Stuff That Never Happened
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The Stuff That Never Happened

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,812 ratings  ·  269 reviews
What if you were married to a wonderful husband for twenty-eight years but in love with another man? What if you were in love with them both?

Annabelle McKay knows she shouldn’t have any complaints. She’s been in a stable marriage that’s lasted almost three decades and has provided her with two wonderful children, thousands of family dinners around a sturdy oak table, and a...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Girls Gone Reading
The Stuff that Never Happened took a hold of me early, and it never let me know. I was initially intrigued by the mystery of the plot: What could their big secret be? What could be so bad in your marriage that you would rather just ignore it? But the mystery aspect of the novel was just enough to get me into the plot. Then Annabelle and the fantastic story took over.

Usually, I have a little trouble with narrators. Sometimes I find them frustrating. Sometimes I wish they would turn right when the...more
Meghan Lamm
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison
A beautifully written look into the choices we make in our past and the consequences that they carry long into the future. I really enjoyed this one.
Jo Anne B
I ended up really loving this honest portrayl of a woman torn between two men. I almost put it down in the beginning because I didn't think the characters clicked but I am glad I stuck with it. Turns out the reason I almost stopped reading this was the reason for the story in the first place.

Anabelle, a fifty year old empty nester, takes a look back at her marriage of 28 years to Grant. With the kids gone she is not getting the attention and love she needs from her husband who is a boring, rigi...more
Shannon
This book was full of amazing quotes that will resonate with me for awhile. My favorite parts: "I tell her the thing I truly believe - that sex and love and parenthood and complications can coexist, that you can be happy even when sex is something you steal away for once you've gotten the last of the dishes washed and the kid with the fever to finally go to sleep. But then my throat is suddenly clogged up with so much sadness and longing and regret that I think I will choke. It's because of toda...more
Pam
This was an excellent book, I feel like I could go on reading about Grant and Annabelle forever. I want to read about them growing old together. The story is told in alternating chapters between the beginning of Grant and Annabelle's marriage in the 1970's and currently, 2005 as they face the trials of begin married 20+ years.

What makes this book work so successfuly is the characterization. I really feel that Grant and Annabelle are fully fleshed characters. I understand why they do what they d...more
Rhiannon
This book freaked me out: it was the first package that was delivered to me in my new apartment. The apartment I just moved into with my boyfriend. With only my boyfriend. Now, I knew when I moved into this boyfriend-only apartment that it would lead to marriage. And I hate marriage. Just generally. Now, I know, I know... "don't hate it til you've tried it," and all that. If you say so.

So, The Stuff That Never Happened arrives, and here's this empty-nesting lady-mom deciding that she's going to...more
Laura
I cant believe how many people rated this book so favorably and said they enjoyed and even liked the characters. I found the main character incredbily self absorbed and selfish. The betrayal of her young husband was just disgusting to me and the fact that she continued to perseverate on the other man for so many years while she was still married, seemed so unfair to her husnad. However, I didnt really like Grant or Jeremiah that much either.
The book was an easy read and had some enjoyable parts...more
Jules
3.5 stars

This book had a real feel to it. Loved the messages about marriage and the mother and daughter heart-to-heart conversations. Sadly, I couldn't feel the connection between her and Grant. He seemed self-absorbed and selfish. He was always working. How could a college professor be that busy. (view spoiler)

Favorite passag...more
CC
I think I wanted to like this more than I did. The cover, for one, is beyond awesome. And the setting, New Hamsphire, is just different enough to evoke intrigue. With those two things going for it I didn't even read the jacket copy, I just swooped it up.

New Hampshire resident Annabelle McKay is having a midlife crisis. With her kids gone and her professor husband Grant working on a novel, she finds herself thinking about an affair she had in her twenties with a man named Jeremiah. The book alter...more
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
When Annabelle and Grant got married, they really didn’t know each other all that well. They moved across the country and lived with another young couple and their two children. Something happens in those early years that will haunt their marriage for the rest of their lives. Rather than talk about it, Grant makes Annabelle agree to never mention it again, and in effect, pretend that it never happened. On the surface, that seems to work – they move to New Hampshire, raise two children and seem t...more
Sonia
Credo che a volte, tra le centinaia di letture in cui siamo immersi durante l'anno, sia un bene trovare una storia che non appartiene al nostro genere, che non avremmo preferito se qualcuno ce ne avesse parlato, di fronte a cui forse avremmo storto il naso.
La trama di Facciamo finta che non sia successo niente mi aveva attratta a suo modo, ma ritrovarmi in quella storia mi aveva fatta sentire un'intrusa: non voglio leggere di storie quotidiane di amori che si trascinano, che forse sfociano in tr...more
Chris
I loved this novel, about the "what-if" person who enters our minds unbidden but can't be forgotten--and almost every woman I know has a person like that. It reads so true.

"Maybe this is common. Perhaps the whole human race goes around with an ache like this. Maybe we're all dreaming of a person from the tantalizing past who sits there, uninvited, watching from the edge of our consciousness, somebody you find packing up and moving out of your head just as you're waking up in the morning, and wh...more
A. R.
If it hadn't been for the language in this book I would have given it four stars. I'm picky in how much profanity I will tolerate in a book and this was one had a little too much.

But putting that aside - I thought The Stuff That Never Happened was a very interesting look at marriage and extramarital affairs. An interesting look at what constitutes real solid love over the passionate, rip your clothes off kind of excitement. I found myself asking if the later was truly love or just an adrenaline...more
Tammara
This is what Women's Fiction is supposed to be. The story built slowly, alternating between Annabelle's past as an early 20-something, and her present late-40s self.

An affair with a friend - her husband's mentor - early in her marriage pulls her out of a floundering rut of day-to-day existence, shakes her up, and makes her question everything she'd ever thought or assumed about love and marriage. Her marriage survived, but at what personal cost? Now she has grown children, a career her husband d...more
Laura
I really enjoyed this book. Annabelle is about my age and going through some of the same things (not the affair...I promise!) Just that empty next thing. Here's a funny passage:

"...let me tell you: the one with the most free time loses in all marital discussions. It's a given. So, if you're the less busy person, take my advice and fake extreme busyness...."Well, that leaves me out, I'm afraid, because nobody on earth could be busier than Grant"... then you'll have to go to Plan B, which is just...more
Catherine McKenzie
Really glad I picked this up. Maddie Dawson has a great way with character; the main character here is just as realistic as a slightly lost, a little wild twenty-year old as she is as a down to earth fifty year old. Recommend.
Wvqueen1 Cockerham
Loved it. Let me say it again: Loved this book. Read it.

The writing is great, the story--heart-breaking b/c it is so real and so true, but uplifting for the same reasons. It's honest. The characters are people you know--maybe you, yourself? Loved the generations of women, how the questions kept going to the next generation, and the answers too, though each generation has to find the answers for themselves. Read it, Now.
ReBecca
Hmmm... This book left me with a mix of emotions. I was disappointed that Jeremiah did not meet her so they could start their life together back in the 80s. However it really shows you that he was a lying scum bag from day one! Especially when the lovers meet up later in life and he is showing his true colors to her. Grant on the other hand I have even more mixed emotions about... Sometimes I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs at how grant acted. I'm sorry but there is nothing that importan...more
Karen Skinner
"I know this feeling: It's a cousin of the mood that made me cry among the pork chops." This book may not resonate for you if you have never wept in the aisles of Whole Foods, but so far I am eagerly picking it up in my spare moments. There's a mother who dabbles in art, and there's a daughter who is going to be a mother. There's a lot more but those are my basic requirements.
Christine
Annabelle and Grant McKay have been happily married for thirty years. She is a successful children’s book illustrator and he is a professor of history trying to write his first book. Their son if off at university and their daughter is married and expecting their first grandchild so it seems like the kind of life that everyone would envy. Oh – of course that were that little glitch at the very beginning of their marriage when they were living in New York, Grant was establishing his career and An...more
Michelle Balbat
I enjoyed this book, for as much as it made me uncomfortable. I rarely read fiction about middle aged women and for me it was very interesting to see how a woman's perspective of her past experiences can shape her reality, especially in relation to how her loved ones view reality.

Annabelle's journey was both familiar and foreign to me. There were times that, quite honestly, I didn't like her but I understood her. I particularly loved her illustration of the men in her life and how her feelings...more
La Mala
Últimamente , mi insomnio y mi hijo (combinación fatal) estan consiguiendo que tenga menos horas de sueño , muchas menos de las que uno deberia tener en vacaciones (existe realmente el sueño en las vacaciones? En realidad , probablemente se duerma menos )

Si hay algo bueno en esta situación (zombie , soy un zombie) es que estoy leyendo el triple . Y en estos últimos días se me dio por este genero , "women's fiction" le dicen . No se a que refiere exactamente el nombre , no me parece que realment...more
Myndi Keyton
When I read the synopsis for this book, I thought it was going to be about a woman who marries one man and spends her life dreaming of what might have been with her old boyfriend that she still loves. This is not that story. The stuff that never happened actually refers to things that DID happen that they make a conscious choice to never speak about-an affair that happens AFTER marriage. There were so many brilliant moments in this book but for me, Annabelle's character was written in two confli...more
Lightblue
The Stuff That Never Happened
Bello! Semplice ma originale nella trama e nella scrittura. E' la storia di Annabelle che da quasi nonna si trova a ripercorrere la sua vita, il suo matrimonio e soprattutto il tradimento avvenuto 25 anni prima e mai dimenticato con Jeremiah, uomo carismatico e passionale al contrario del marito razionale e un po' assente. Annabelle si coccola nella sua testa la figura di Jeremiah, "utilizzandola" nei momenti difficili, soprattutto ora che il marito è tutto preso dal...more
Peggy
I liked this book. At first I thought it would be about a sad lonely wife in a bad marriage. But that wasn't the whole truth.
C.R. Everett
This is a story about imperfect people dodging life's curve balls in married/family life. It begins in the 1970s when free love and drugs were the rage and ends in the 2000s. This story explores relationship mistakes and trials through three generations and delves into some of the fundamental issues that can cause couples to become unhappy with one another. In the end, the main character comes to terms with questions that have haunted her her entire life.

This book not only explores interaction b...more
Debbie
What if you were married to the same man for 28 years, but have been in love with another man for almost that many years? This is where Annabelle finds herself, after 2 beautiful children, but things she and Grant have agreed to never discuss again, come to Annabelle making her question why she is still married to Grant once their children are out of the house. The journey this story takes them on is one that could and often does totally tear families apart...but as is typical in most chicklit,...more
Marla Hampton
It's human nature to wonder about the what ifs? But it seems she had a good idea of what would have become of her future had she not stayed with Grant. This story is a reminder of why women need to talk things to death. We need answers so we don't keep wondering about what could have happened. We need the truth and details of what happened when we were not around so we can love our guys even more when they stand up in our honor. Just think of how much better their marriage could have been had th...more
Jennifer
I totally loved this book. I was hooked pretty quickly and every time I got a moment to read, I would take it. I was intrigued by the marriage between Annabelle and Grant, but loved the flashbacks even more. It was nice to see how they got started, how he proposed, etc., to really build the story. It got me wondering a lot about what could be so bad that your marriage would suffer the way it obviously had.

I will say that I was pretty much uninterested in the "current" plot once Sophie took over...more
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52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.16: The Stuff That Never Happened 4 40 May 04, 2014 07:34AM  
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I'm the author of two novels, published by Crown--The Opposite of Maybe, which came out in April 2014, and The Stuff That Never Happened, which was published in August 2010. I love writing stories about second chances and complicated love lives.

I have also written three novels under the name Sandi Kahn Shelton.
More about Maddie Dawson...
The Opposite of Maybe Non c'è niente che non va almeno credo

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“She batted those
eyelashes at me so hard I thought I felt a breeze.”
3 likes
“Listen. I don’t know how to do this right, but I really, really love you,” he said, and cleared his throat. He licked his lips and started talking fast. “I think you’re the sweetest, most beautiful girl in the world, and I’ve been living for our telephone conversations. It’s the only thing that gets me through these days, knowing that I get to talk to you every night. Keeping the secret about this job was the hardest thing for me to do, but I wanted to tell you in person. And ever since I knew I was going to come here and ask you this, I couldn’t eat or drink anything. And I know I’m different from you, and I’m probably never going to be cool, but I love yourpaintings, I love that you do art, I get it, and I won’t ever tell you that you should do paintings that match somebody’s couch. I will keep you in paint and canvases for the rest of your life, and if you really want to teach elementary school, then I think you’ll be the best teacher there ever was. And I love that you dress so cute, and I love the way you smell and the way you sing in the shower. I used to camp out on the floor outside the door when you were showering just so I could hear you, and the first time we made love was the best thing that ever happened to me, and I was so afraid you were going to say it couldn’t happen again. I just want to spend all my time looking at you and telling you things, and even though I’m just some nerd who thinks about strikes and contracts all the time, I want you to know that I’m financially solvent right now, I have some investments, and I’ll always do anything I can to make you happy. Your happiness is going to be the main thing for me. From now on. Forever. I mean that.” 2 likes
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