Books

The Mistress’s Revenge – Tamar Cohen

Where did it all go wrong? Sally is asking herself that very question from the moment this books opens until it closes, and I am not sure if she ever finds the answer she was looking for. 

When her married lover Clive tells her it is over after nearly five years, Sally goes into a downward spiral which seemingly gets more and more out of control as the pages go on. In fact the author Tamar Cohen has even taken the brave decision to not let the book have any definitive stops in it and this is a stream of consciousness as Sally ultimately seeks answers, from answers comes revenge. It is Sally’s voice throughout the whole book, she has taken the brave decision to write a journal (directed at Clive) about her recovery. But this journal turns into Clive’s worst nightmare.

Sally sees the way back to Clive is through those close to him, and if that is not her then it must be his wife and children. Sally begins a very modern campaign if you will of infiltrating their lives whilst her own is disintegrating. And so as the pages turn, it all gets a bit too messy, Sally becomes too obvious and the book turns on a twist and I as a reader was in free fall as it all turned out very differently.

This is an interesting debut novel, which although deals with infidelity, it also raises a lot to do with mental health as well as the emotional upheaval of love and obsession. I went through differing emotions for both the main characters, Sally the mistress who I hated and then loved in probably equal measure. Clive who I actually felt sorry for as he tried to piece together back something, but then there that was that nagging doubt that affairs were his thing and he would have moved on to someone else. The supporting characters for me were much stronger than they can be in some novels, Susan Clive’s wife I was convinced knew, but turned a blind eye. She was in her own free fall of not accepting the truth. Daniel, Sally’s partner and father of her children were who felt for the most, they were affected deeply and the short brief moments with Tilly, Sally’s daughter made me want to actually take hold of Sally and shake her so she could see what she was doing. It was heart wrenching.

An emotional rather exhausting book to read, but for a debt novel a great basis for forthcoming books. If you like your ‘chick-lit’ books with a lot more substance then this is certainly the book for you.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book and copies for me to share at my reading group. I will write a post about that soon and what everyone else thought! 

I liked the way this was such a modern novel, it uses all the things that many people can relate to and also shows the damage such things can do such as the use of Facebook – and everyone knows what is happening in an instant, backed up with text messages, led to Sally making a visit based purely on what she read and not what she knew or whether she would be welcome.  How would this fallout from an affair worked without the age of technology would there have been even more devious means to seek revenge. 

I was completely surprised with the twist, I knew the book was building to some sort of crescendo but I really could not see what – and would never have predicted what happened.  

But as I finished the book and reflected on it; I enjoyed (surprisingly) the way it was written with no chapters, one long stream of paragraphs, the fact that we only saw it all from Sally’s point of view, but that we ONLY saw it from Sally’s point of view. What would a journal of Clive’s or even Susan’s told us? We are only getting Sally’s interpretation of her actions? Do not we always play our own actions down? The age of Facebook, I think it is a great idea but not without its hurdles, which the book touches on. It was good to see Mental Health being an issue within the book and showed how help is needed for many people, and also how dangerous it can be accepting other people’s medication, which I am sure contributed to Sally’s decline so rapidly. Was the intimidation that strong, it warranted the result? So much to reflect on from this book, I will enjoy the book group discussion I am sure. 

Tamar Cohen’s new novel The War of the Wives is also on my TBR pile, but I think I might have a break from all this revenge and treachery for a couple of books, it is rather exhausting. 

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4 thoughts on “The Mistress’s Revenge – Tamar Cohen

    1. The lack of chapters did bother me, in the need for a pause to regroup what you have read. However, I can also see the need for no chapters to enable the storyline to progress as it did.

      I have her next book on the shelf and intrigued by it, however I have recently read a book by Emma Burstall; The Darling Girls which has a very similar theme and so I am having a break from all this treachery.

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