Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: The Perfect Affair

By Becky Gulc

If I'm completely honest, going by the title and book cover alone, I wasn't completely sure whether The Perfect Affair was going to be a book that I would necessarily love. I imagined it being about two people who were married, gratuitously going about an affair. I'm very pleased to say I was wrong, and this is a book that is beautifully written, captivating and sophisticated. So what is it actually all about?

Well, yes, of course there is an 'affair', even two, but not at all gratuitous. These are tales of falling in love in the most inconvenient way, finding a soul mate even when both or one of you is already married. The narrative switches between past and present for our three central characters of Rose and Eve (who are generations apart in age; not blood relatives, but may as well be as the pair are extremely close) as well as Myles.

Myles, a writer who cannot concentrate at home with his family, rents out the downstairs flat of Rose's house. Sparks fly when Eve pays her weekly visit to her elderly friend Rose and bumps into Myles, a spark that doesn't go unnoticed by all three parties. But with Eve and Myles both being married with children, is this a spark that can ever ignite? Well, we soon learn that it does, but the narrative then takes us back to see how this came to be. As the reader we are drawn into both Eve and Myles' mindsets, we learn of their marriages, the early days, the now...all the while without ever really swaying the reader to think of whether an affair in these circumstances is right or wrong for these characters, it maintains the complexities of the situation throughout.

Rose lives alone and has never married, seeing the spark between Eve and Myles reminds her of the feelings between her and the love of her life, someone who was also unfortunately married. As the novel progresses, we slowly learn more of Rose's back story and again the complexities and emotions involved in the situation. In this case, however, we are left to make assumptions about how the married man in this situation was feeling.

As mentioned the complexities of an affair are perfectly written about in these stories, and I enjoyed the different insights and different timeframes involved. I particularly enjoyed Rose's story, both past and present, and loved the relationship between her and Eve, which was very poignant without either one speaking of their affairs to one another; it almost didn't need to be spoken about.

I found this novel very moving and uplifting, it is a real love story that was thoroughly enjoyable with a very fitting final few chapters. The Perfect Affair, in my opinion, was perfectly written.

Thanks to Quercus for the book in exchange for an honest review.


Bella1 said...

Not on Amazon.

Melissa said...

It's sold in the marketplace through Amazon.