BOOK REVIEW – The Mistress’s Revenge by Tamar Cohen

The Mistress's Revenge

Sally and Clive have been having an affair for 5 years. Unbeknown to their spouses, the seemingly spineless Daniel, and steadfast, reliable Susan, they have been contriving their various liaisons outside the safe haven of the friendship that the couples share.

But suddenly and unexpectedly, Clive is ending their relationship and Sally is devastated! Her world literally implodes and she cannot conceive of a way she is going to continue without their regular assignations. Clive suggests that she seek therapy, which she does. Therapist Helen suggests that Sally records her feelings in a journal, and this is the way in which the book is written – as Sally’s journal of this tumultuous time in her life. Through her writing we understand why she continues  a  stalker-like friendship with Clive’s family, and although she writes about how much she loves and misses Clive, she actually allows us to see him for what he really is: arrogant, controlling and manipulative. He made her feel special and loved throughout their affair, but in actual fact, it seems that for him she is just another in an ongoing succession of extra-marital relationships that he has had purely because he can.

Sally’s friendship with Clive’s wife Susan, his spoilt daughter Emily, and easy-going son Liam seem desperate and somewhat deranged. But for her they are purely ways to hold on to any tenuous connection that she can still have with Clive. From the way she writes her journal, and the peripheral way she mentions her husband Daniel and children Tilly and Jamie, we see how she so mistakenly made Clive the one and only star in her sky.

Through various embarrassing interactions with his family, we follow Sally through her pathetic, desperate attempts to re-gain what she thinks she had with Clive, unaware of how she is threatening the vision of a perfect family life that he’s trying to create. But then he makes a critical error and Sally reaches a turning point. If she can’t have Clive back, she’ll make sure he loses everything he holds dear.

Cleverly written from the perspective of a woman pushed to the brink of her very sanity, this is an insightful read that makes one wonder what we’re all really capable of when driven to our breaking point.

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