The Affair is the latest book by Amanda Brooke, an author renowned for her “human” stories. This one centres around florist Nina and her family. Newly remarried to Bryn she has been trying to settle him in to family life with her two teenage kids. Liam, at seventeen, is practically welded to his computer and rarely leaves his bedroom. Scarlett is a different creature entirely, a pretty fifteen year old social butterfly with lots of friends.
When Nina discovers that Scarlett is pregnant her entire world falls apart. All her daughter will tell her is that the babies father is a man rather than a schoolboy and that he will stand by her when he has told his wife. Unable to fathom that it must be someone that she knows, doubt starts to creep in and all of her relationships start to suffer.
The timeline swings back and forth throughout the book so it does force you to pay attention. The action varies from present day back to the time when Scarlett met the man who took advantage of her. Some of the chapters are told by Scarlett herself and truthfully she’s not a particularly nice person. Even though something dreadful has happened to her she is quite unlikeable. She is still under the spell of the man who has groomed her but she is self centred and really quite horrible at times.
The cover art really interested me because it is very similar to the image on the Twilight book, except here it has been given a makeover to look like a much younger person. Forbidden fruit is always quite an evocative image, and in the context of the story here has another meaning altogether.
It isn’t that difficult to work out who Scarlett has been having the relationship with but in many ways the book isn’t really about that. It is more concerned with how this event stresses the other relationships around them. Nina and Bryn, Nina and Liam, Nina and her best friend Sarah who has always had a deep suspicion about taxi driver Bryn and his intentions towards her friend’s family. It is a story well told even if that story is sometimes a little unsettling.
Supplied by Net Galley and Harper Collins UK in exchange for a fair review.
UK Publication Date: Jan 12 2017. 432 pages.
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Prolific reader, enthusiastic theatre and movie-goer and ex-Olivier Awards judge who spent twenty years working in the music industry in London. I love sharing my favourite books with friends - nearly always spoiler-free as I hate reading a synopsis of the whole book in other reviews.