The Insatiables: A Novel
- By Brittany Terwilliger
- Amberjack Publishing
- 338 pp.
- Reviewed by K.L. Romo
- September 11, 2018
In the cutthroat race for success, sometimes more is less.
“Insatiable” — incapable of being satisfied; always wanting more. The idealists and dreamers who always need something they don’t have and are thrilled with the chase. Brittany Terwilliger’s debut novel examines how far a person will go to get what they want and whether they can live with the outcome.
Halley Faust underperforms in all areas of her life — as an underachieving daughter, an unwed sister, and a service staff employee at Findlay Global Manufacturing. An all-around Level 1 person.
Understandably, her greatest fear is that she will end up just like her parents, living mediocre lives in front of a television in Dayton, Ohio. She dreads being ordinary and fantasizes that each new level achieved at Findlay will transform her into the dignified success she’s always wanted to be.
Amid Halley’s boredom and insecurity, her boss, Level 7 Gus Hanley, dangles a prize in front of her: a huge project in Paris and the chance for a promotion to Level 2. But there’s a catch — her best friend since sixth grade, Celeste, is her competition. They must prove themselves by organizing and hosting a meeting in San Francisco; the person who performs best wins the project and the promotion.
Halley has always been the good girl, never one to overstep or break the rules. But at the San Francisco meeting, her chance encounter with handsome and successful Thomas Rousseau, a major client, lures her to the dark side.
A realization hits her: She can be naughty, and the world will not end.
After a long conversation with Rousseau and a stolen kiss, Halley vows to become daring, leaving her ordinary self in Ohio and winning that project in Paris. Now, she will do anything to crush the competition, including sabotaging Celeste. Halley convinces herself that ruthlessness is the only way to get what she wants and is ecstatic she feels no shame.
Readers follow Halley through her ambitious plotting for advancement, and through a lustful affair with the married Thomas Rousseau. Empowered by her choice to leave morality behind, she embraces her new persona. But will getting everything she’s ever dreamed of bring her happiness?
This well-written story examines our desire for success and recognition, and what it means to win and lose. The Insatiables gives us an inside look at the struggle for prosperity and the hard choices we make to attain our dreams.
Are wealth and power the measures of happiness or just steppingstones to sadness and regret? Each of us must consider what success really means and what we’re willing to lose in the process.
K.L. Romo writes about life on the fringe: Teetering dangerously on the edge is more interesting than standing safely in the middle. She is passionate about women’s issues, loves noisy clocks and fuzzy blankets, but HATES the word normal. Her historical novel, Life Before, is about two women separated by a century who discover they’ve shared a soul. Find her on Twitter at @klromo.