MY WIFE’S AFFAIR by Nancy Woodruff

Book Quote:

“Georgie could see Mrs. Jordan only as a modern, working woman struggling with the demands of career, motherhood, and love affair, trying to do the right thing on all fronts…Georgie refused to question her own impulses about this character, this woman who loved her family but lived for the stage. How could she, when Mrs. Jordan’s struggle was also exactly her own?”

Book Review:

Review by Jill I. Shtulman (JUL 22, 2010)

If you’ve got a hot work project with an overdue deadline, a soccer game that you simply must attend, or any “must do” commitments in the next couple of days, whatever you do, DON’T pick up this book. It will grip you, entice you, and place you under its spell. And in the end, it just may break your heart.

The book, narrated by Peter – a wannabe novelist turned businessman – focuses on his wife Georgie, a mother of three who has become unmoored with the day-to-day drudgeries of an ordinary life. A promotion to London puts a world of possibilities suddenly within reach. Peter ponders, “Shouldn’t I have told her…that everyone’s life had flat, ordinary parts? That growing older meant moving on, closing chapters in your life and opening new ones…”

But he senses Georgie’s boredom and is on her side when she reignites her acting career, taking on the prestigious one-woman role of the true-life preeminent 18th century comedic British stage actress Dora Jordan. As she throws herself in the role, she discovers that she and Dora – the long-time companion of the Duke of Clarence (later, William IV) and the mother of 10 of his children – have a natural affinity.

Gradually, Georgie “twins” herself to Dora, a kindred spirit whose struggle of motherhood versus career so mirrors her own. And, as any reader can guess from the title of the book, she enters into an affair with the elusive playwright, Piers Brighstone, that sets in motion a chain of events with tragic consequences.

There is much about this book that sets it apart from the “chick lit” designation it might have become in a lesser author’s hands. For one thing, there’s the strength of the writing; Nancy Woodruff never resorts to overwrought, obvious, or manipulative sentences. For another, these characters and their pain are achingly real with genuine insights. At one point, Peter reflects, “When I looked at Georgie I saw two different people, the one I loved and the one who had broken my heart, and I had no idea how to dispose of one without losing the other.”

But perhaps most compelling is the interspersed letters of Dora Jordan herself; in a preface the author claims to “remain faithful to both the facts of Mrs. Jordan’s life – insofar as they are known –and the warmth of her voice.” She admirably succeeds. As Georgie states, “Two hundred years later and it’s exactly the same thing.”

This is an unsparing look at a modern (and not-so-modern) marriage, a punishing glimpse into the costs of the decisions we make – yet it’s never preachy or moral. While I was reading My Wife’s Affair, I was totally enveloped into the world Nancy Woodruff created. The “new life rising from the ashes of Georgie’s unhappiness” is really about getting what you want…and still wanting more.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 19 readers
PUBLISHER: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (April 15, 2010)
REVIEWER: Jill I. Shtulman
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Nancy Woodruff
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Another take on the subject of adultery:

The Narcissist’s Daughter by Craig Holden


July 22, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, United Kingdom

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