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The Mistress's Revenge    by Tamar Cohen order for
Mistress's Revenge
by Tamar Cohen
Order:  USA  Can
Free Press, 2011 (2011)
* *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Crowley

Narrated in the form of a journal, The Mistress's Revenge develops the consequences of abruptly ending a sordid five year affair. Clive Gooding and Sally Islip had a long and passionate secret relationship. Clive, a music producer, was married to Susan for nearly eighteen years. Sally, a freelance writer, was in a relationship with Daniel, with whom she shared two children.

But when Clive and Sally meet, a casual acquaintance turns into private escapades to pricey hotels, hundreds of intimate emails and text messages a day, and even a sudden marriage proposal. Sally's world crumbles when Clive suddenly announces that their relationship is over. In an attempt to deal with her grief, Sally visits a therapist who suggests she write a journal in order to speed up the healing process.

Sally's journal, which is in fact addressed to Clive, initially begins as an outlet for Clive's many faults. But the journal slowly begins to reveal a woman consumed by bitterness, heartache, and hatred. Desperation begins to overtake Sally when Clive repeatedly ignores her many emails and text messages. Being left out of Clive's life proves unbearable to Sally, leaving her one last resort: to squirm her way into his family's life. Much to Clive's anguish, Sally befriends his wife, Susan. Sally even Facebooks Clive's wife and daughter in order to not miss a single significant event in Clive's life.

Sally's friendship with his wife and daughter begin to push Clive over the edge. When Sally's email account is compromised and a damaging email she sent to a friend is forwarded to everyone in her address book, Sally's career as a writer goes up in smoke. Sally knows the hacking is Clive's doing, but she considers his actions proof that he still cares about her. In fact, she is flattered.

When Sally ignores Clive's emails warning her to stay away from his family, she begins to notice that she is being followed by a mysterious stranger. She convinces herself that it is simply her overactive imagination, but when a brick with a cryptic message is thrown into her car, Sally realizes Clive is sending her a warning. Still, she cannot give up her obsession. Soon the two former lovers begin to play a dangerous game where winner takes all and loser loses everything.

The Mistress's Revenge offers a chilling look at the consequences of infidelity. Sally's refusal to accept losing Clive brings to mind the movie Fatal Attraction. Yet, Sally's journal is narrated with a dark yet witty sense of humor. Readers will sympathize with her plight as she discovers that the man she loved never really existed. But Sally's rapidly deteriorating mental state will also keep readers hooked, wondering what mayhem she has in store for the Gooding family. Tamar Cohen's debut novel is a hit!

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