Karalee's Reviews > The Mistress's Revenge

The Mistress's Revenge by Tamar Cohen
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, fiction-general, mystery-suspense
Read in June, 2011

This novel chronicles, in journal form, the experience of a middle-aged woman in the aftermath of a 5-year affair with a married man. Sally and Clive (and their respective partners) were friends and neighbors before they became lovers. Eventually their friendship turned into an explosive, intense affair that lasted five years. When Clive breaks off the affair, Sally falls apart. The book tracks her emotional and mental collapse and the course of months during which Sally simply cannot accept that Clive no longer wants anything to do with her. Her desperation and depression drive her to increasingly risky and extreme measures.

The book is so many things at once -- horrifying, pathetic, terrifying, disturbing, sad and just plain creepy. Neither of the main characters have much in the way of redeeming qualities. Both are utterly narcissistic and self-involved. Following the story of their mutually self-destructive behavior is like watching a train wreck. It is absolutely impossible to feel sorry for Clive, who is nothing but a horrid, selfish man. I wanted to hate Sally too but, while I certainly didn't like her at all, I did feel some pity for the utterly pathetic creature that she becomes. The book is extremely well written, with wry humor and sneaky plot twists. The horror of the situation was made only the more intense because it is presented in such a subtle, brilliant way. Although the book does remind me of a modern day Fatal Attraction, it also stands entirely on its own and the characters remain completely distinct and unique in their own terrible ways. I absolutely could not put the book down until I knew what happened although I must admit that I was left feeling a bit like not everyone got everything that they deserved.

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