Authors - A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

The Scarlet Letter Society (2014)

The premise of this novel takes its inspiration from Nathaniel Hawthorn's famous story about adultery, A Scarlet Letter. Centred around three main characters - Eva, Maggie and Lisa - it charts the lives of the women over an 11-month period. Eva, a lawyer in her early 40s, is successful, independent but trapped in a loveless and sexless marriage to Joe. She escapes by having two simultaneous affairs with Ron, a much younger intern, and Charles, a chef who is coping with the death of his wife to breast cancer. Then there is feisty Maggie, in the throes of a divorce from a man she never loved, who is having an affair with Ted and on a bi-curiousity experience with Kate, a university professor. To complicate matters further, she still engages in random sex with her first husband Dave, who she never really got over. Finally, Lisa is desperate for a child with her husband Jim but he seems more interested in his shoe fetish and increasingly Lisa becomes attracted to graphic designer Ben. The Scarlet Letter Society is a monthly refuge for the women, where over coffee, cake and books, try to reason and fathom their way through their complicated lives by discussing their issues and develop their friendships due to their common link - adultery. I really was genuinely blown away by this breathtaking book. The author cleverly references classic tomes which deal with the concept of faithfulness by encompassing them in the format of a fictional book club; in which the girls meet to discuss each month. Each of the women is faced with infidelity; either by actively committing it or thinking of straying. As the writer shows and as many of the books she uses highlight, woman have always fared badly in extra-marital affairs. Each woman is forced to confront issues in their past and discover that life is really a question of choices. What I liked most about this book is that the characters are very strong, empowering women; they are successful in their careers, forthright and even though each one of them comes across challenging situations, there is positivity in the result. Ultimately, each of the ladies realises that although there is the impetus to stray, nevertheless, this is due to some emotional void within their personality and rather than seeking to appease it with other people, eventually, happiness is found within. It made me question the concept of people cheating and especially how society views a woman who does commit adultery. Fantastically written, beautifully plotted with warm, feisty and inspiring characters, this is definitely one to recommend to a friend. (LP)

Back to Authors M