Have you ever been tempted?
The Affair. Normally I would tend to steer clear of a book with a title like this, but maybe I\’m just being pretentious. When I picked it up I told myself I\’d give it a few chapters and see how it went. I finished it in two days.
The Affair by Santa Montefiore is really a lovely book. Of course it is about an affair, but it really is a bittersweet love story with a twist. I was totally drawn into the story, and felt compassion, and something close to approval, for the two lovers who embark on a clandestine love affair, only to be torn apart under savage circumstances.
Angelica is married with two young children. Living the dream, she has a wealthy French husband, a beautiful home in London and a successful career writing childrens fantasy novels. Then she meets Jack, a charismatic South African who makes her feel as though she\’s more than just a wife and mother. What begins as some innocent flirting develops into a friendship via email and then becomes a connection both can\’t live without. The geographical distance between them means the relationship does not progress further than emails and phone calls, until a lunch in London and an opportune book tour to South Africa.
Angelica\’s trip to South Africa is all she dreamed of â€“ Jack is the stuff of dreams and she imagines a future together. But in the back of her mind is of course her family â€“ husband Olivier and her two cherished children. Although she thinks she loves Jack, she wonders if she has the strength, or desire, to tear her family apart.
A terrifying experience that causes her and Jack to fear for their very lives tears them apart. It is then that Angelica discovers the truth â€“ the truth that will break her heart and cause her to make the final decision about where it is she truly belongs.
This story really is about love â€“ love between couples, parents and children, and friendships that we all hold dear. It is also about loss, how people cope and what people are willing to sacrifice to keep the ones they love near. Although it is basically a story about an affair between two married people, the relationship between Angelica and Jack is special. It comes at a time where both of them need to assess their lives and make the most of each moment as it comes.
The other part of this story that I loved is the relationship between Angelica and her best friends. A small group of women who live privileged lives, they nonetheless are always there for each other and the interactions between these women were some of my favourite scenes in the book.
To sum up, although not impressed with the title, I enjoyed reading this book and its exploration of love, in whatever form it takes, and the importance of having your girlfriends near when you need them.
Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99