Tag Archives: Adultery

The Son Avenger by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Synopsis: With Olav Audunsson facing the end of his lonely days, his children Eirik and Cecilia find themselves trapped in the repercussions of Olav’s as-yet unconfessed sins. Review: There was so much I loved in The Son Avenger, particularly Cecilia’s journey of wife- and motherhood with Eirik’s less-than-reputable childhood friend Jorund. She really came alive as a different kind of woman than the others I’ve seen in Undset’s work, with a rigidity that blossomed into self-awareness and even a kind of independence. She’s mirrored nicely…

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The Snake Pit by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Synopsis: Olav Audunsson finally brings Ingunn Steinfinnsdatter back to his ancestral home as his wife, each harboring a dark secret that threatens the happiness they dreamed of as children. Review: The Snake Pit follows closely on the tragic events of The Axe, focusing on the far-reaching effects of sin in the lives of Olav and his childhood love Ingunn, now his wife. I really don’t want to give too much away about the story thus far, because I loved how it unfolded in the previous…

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The Axe by Sigrid Undset (The Master of Hestviken)

Synopsis: Betrothed as children, Olav and Ingunn grew up together, but when Ingunn’s parents die, they take an irrevocable step that jeopardizes their futures and the social system that surrounds them. Review: The Axe begins a 4-book series by Sigrid Undset, the Nobel Prize-winning author of the acclaimed and beloved Kristin Lavransdatter books. Like that series, The Axe concerns itself heavily with matters of sexual morality and the toxic nature of secret sin, only this time we get the man’s perspective as well. Olav isn’t…

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The Wheel of Fortune by Susan Howatch

Synopsis: The saga of a Welsh family haunted by submerged passions and unfulfilled desire. Review: I was hooked on The Wheel of Fortune from the first pages. It’s juicy, lush, psychologically complex, and keenly observed. The story opens with Robert, scion of the Godwin family, heir to Oxmoon, lusting after his second cousin Ginevra, on the night that she elopes with an Irish rake, Connor Kinsella. When, in pure tragic form, Robert is able to consummate his desire, a chain of events unfolds that scars…

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Luxury by Jessica Ruston

Synopsis: The drama and tragedy surrounding the friends and family of a wealthy hotel magnate. Review: Since I have read and re-read the novels of Jacqueline Susann about a million times, I’m always on the lookout for the next big, juicy, trashy read. Olivia Goldsmith does it for me; so did The Best of Everything. And now I can add Luxury to my greatest hits list of decadent, over-the-top smutty books that make me feel like I’m taking a vacation in my head. Logan Barnes…

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The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine

Synopsis: An MP arranges a kinky, consensual abduction for his mistress, but when a chance car accident takes her life, he chooses to keep silent, with devastating results. Review: Everything is connected–except when it isn’t. In The Birthday Present, Barbara Vine follows a scandal-that-wasn’t over the course of four years to show how a secret poisons everyone it touches, and how unrelated events can become part of a story because they appear to fit. The story is told mostly by Rob, brother-in-law to Ivor Tesham,…

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Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove

Synopsis: After the sudden death of her husband, a young widow begins to hear his voice at the same time she experiences a sort of amnesia about their last months. Review: Boy, I was really not expecting Talking to the Dead to be such a page-turner! I thought it was going to be an Anne Tyler-esque meditation on grief, loss, and moving on, and since I feared it might be a little dull, it languished on my TBR stack. The book actually has a solid…

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A Morning Like This by Deborah Bedford

Synopsis: When David learns that he has a daughter from an affair, and that she needs a bone marrow transplant from his son, he confesses all to his wife and tries to put his marriage back together. Review: I really did not care for A Morning Like This. I felt like David expected cheap grace just because the child from his affair had cancer, and didn’t think he needed to do any real work of repentance. He was just awful to Abby, not allowing her…

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The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

Synopsis: A tight-knit group of 4 couples must deal with the sudden and suspicious deaths of two of their own. Review: The Castaways put me off at first because it reminded me of The Big Chill, a movie I’ve never liked. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on why, except I know it has something to do with Glenn Close’s smug smile throughout. Perhaps it was because although they were ostensibly reuniting because of a death, they were so solipsistic in their…

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You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by Allison Bottke

Synopsis: Dancing hairdresser Susan loves disco and dreams of opening a Disco Hall of Fame, but secrets from her Studio 54 past may ruin everything. Review: I’m totally the wrong demographic for “boomer lit,” and I never really connected with the characters in You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. I felt like the Christian aspect didn’t go very deep, with much of the God-talk feeling like Oprah-theology, not orthodox Christianity. It just was not for me. Share on Facebook

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