A wife who has forgotten her own beauty and allure. A distant, distracted husband. A smart, candlelit dinner party, witty conversation, and a charmingly rugged vineyard owner from South Africa.
“I hope you don’t mind my writing to you,” begins the first e-mail bestselling children’s book author Angelica receives from Jack. Surely it can’t do any harm to indulge in a mild flirtation. After all, she wouldn’t risk her stable marriage and the happiness of her treasured children. But things don’t stop at an e-mail, and when Angelica goes to Cape Town for a book tour, her affair with Jack begins in earnest. On their last day together, he makes a stunning confession, and now everything Angelica thought she knew about love and passion, safety and experience, right and wrong are entirely upended once again.
The Perfect Happiness is for any woman who has ever looked up from her steady, secure life and secretly wondered “what if . . .”
I am a real sucker for a happy ending. When I escape into a book, it is with the full expectation of seeing the girl get the guy, the guy get the girl, vengeance will be mine, bad guys in pieces etc… Of course, sometimes books have a different kind of happy ending, and those are enjoyable too, but I was a bit worried about a book called The Affair, as Santa Montefiore’s latest is called in Europe. If the book came in the US version of The Perfect Happiness, maybe I would have been less concerned. But I love Santa Montefiore’s books, and really, what’s in a name…
The story begins in London, where we meet Angelica; wife, mother and children’s book writer. She seems to have it all – lovely house in Kensington, a handsome successful french husband, two perfect children, wonderful friends and a lifestyle that would make most anyone jealous, but Angelica is not happy. She feels her husband Olivier takes her for granted, that he doesn’t appreciate her hard work as both mother and wife and that he doesn’t respect her abilities as an author. He can only see her faults, and she is starting to see some major cracks in her marriage. Then, one night at a dinner party she meets Jack, married, visiting from South Africa. He flirts, and she responds, but is Angelica contemplating more than just a flirtation?
Angelica finds herself more and more attracted to Jack, they text, email and finally agree to meet, but something is holding Angelica back from taking that final step, the one she thinks will label their flirtation as an affair. While she questions her love, or, her being “in love” with her husband, she also wonders if she is finding excuses for simply doing what she wants to do – be with Jack, a man who understands and appreciates her, and sees her as her husbad did when they first met. As someone who has been a shoulder to cry on for my married friends for over ten years, I can honestly understand Angelica, even if don’t always agree with her. Most of my friends have been married for at least five years, and a few of them have had “I could just smother him with my pillow” moments…Then again, maybe I just have aggressive friends.
Montefiore’s characters are most definitely flawed, yes, Angelica and Jack are written as very sympathetic characters, but they aren’t perfect. There were moments when I really disliked them both, and while Olivier is most certainly not the most sympathetic of characters, very much pillow-smother worthy, as the story unfolds, Montefiore show a different side to his character, no, he is far from perfect, but you do understand more of where he is coming from, and why he is the person he is.
Then there is Candace, a straight talker best friend who doesn’t mince words, and tells it like it is. Throughout the book, I found myself nodding in agreement when she stated her opinion. Perhaps she plays the part of moral compass, or at least, voice of reason, depending on what you think these should be. What I most enjoyed about The Perfect Happiness was that Montefiore allows the reader to come to his/her own conclusions. She doesn’t tell you what is right and what is wrong, you can either agree or disagree with the characters decisions.
I didn’t expect to be smiling when I finished this book, but I was. For me, Angelica’s story was not always an easy one to read, but it was very much an enjoyable one. Now, does that mean the story had a happy ending? You will just have to read it and decide for yourselves.
The Perfect Happiness will be released June 8th 2010.
This book was purchased by Noa
Visit Santa’s Website here
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=paperbackdolls-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1439183465&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=paperbackdolls-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B003A02WKI&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=paperbackdolls-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0340840552&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=paperbackdolls-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1416543732&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr