Publisher: William Morrow
Hardback 400 pages
Book Source: TLC Book Tours
My Rating: 95/100
From the tour page:
“Every story has a narrator. Someone who writes it down after it’s all over. Why am I the narrator of this story? I am because it is the story of my life—and of the people I love most. . . .”
Harry and Madeleine Winslow have been blessed with talent, money, and charm. Harry is a National Book Award–winning author on the cusp of greatness. Madeleine is a woman of sublime beauty and grace whose elemental goodness and serenity belie a privileged upbringing. Bonded by deep devotion, they share a love that is both envied and admired. The Winslows play host to a coterie of close friends and acolytes eager to bask in their golden radiance, whether they are in their bucolic East Hampton cottage, abroad in Rome thanks to Harry’s writing grant, or in their comfortable Manhattan brownstone.
One weekend at the start of the summer season, Harry and Maddy, who are in their early forties, meet Claire and cannot help but be enchanted by her winsome youth, quiet intelligence, and disarming naivete. Drawn by the Winslows’ inscrutable magnetism, Claire eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But over the course of the summer, her reverence transforms into a dangerous desire. By Labor Day, it is no longer enough to remain one of their hangers-on.
You can probably tell from both the title of this novel and the description above, an affair occurs and is central to this story. From the first few lines of the story, you also get the feeling that something tragic happens, and not just the affair. There will be no happy ending to this story. The four main parties in the story are:
Maddy – wife and injured party
Harry – indiscreet husband
Claire – their new young friend and the object of desire
Walter – bystander and narrator of the story, friend to all parties, and in love with Maddy since childhood
In the case of an extramarital affair its easiest to blame one party, mainly the trollop who sleeps with the husband. But with this affair, I don’t think it’s that easy. Throughout the story we learn about each character, and the readers attitudes change towards each character the more we read. At first I wanted to blame Claire for most of what happened, but it takes two to have an affair. Harry is not blameless, and the more I learned about Harry, granted from Walter’s narrative, the more I felt that it was his fault. He could have said no, but instead he takes the easy way out. Harry has never taken responsibility for anything in his life, so why should he now. Harry thinks saying sorry will fix everything but it doesn't always.
Claire, in her early 20’s, is young, vulnerable, and it’s easy to see she is looking for a father figure. This doesn't excuse her behavior, but as an adult with 20 more years of experience than her, everyone else should have realized her hanging around was not quite right. I know hind sight is 20/20, but still…I guess you trust that your marriage of 20 years is rock solid, and you don’t see your husband for who and what he is.
As for Walter and Maddy, my feelings about them also did a 180. Once Maddy has her world shaken by this affair, she freaks out. I get that. However, at some point, you have a child, an 11 yr. old I think, you need to attend to, so it’s not all about you. But Maddy can’t do that. She goes off on a path of self destruction and eventually gets herself right. However, I do think it’s her actions that in the end, contribute to the final devastating blow. No, I won’t give that away folks! As much as I wanted to empathize with Maddy, I couldn't. Maybe it’s me but Maddy ended up being the character who I ultimately disliked. I do not like people who are always the “victim” and need to be cared for. Harsh? Probably, but I’m being honest. And no, how this story concludes did not alter my opinion of her.
As for Walter, he also suffers through this entire story, being disappointed at every turn. He seems to have more sense than Walter and Maddy, but not really. It’s those childhood feelings for Maddy that constantly hold him back from ever achieving his own happiness, separate and distinct from Maddy. And you know, Maddy has to know Walter still carries a torch for her, so she is a bit irresponsible too, now that I think about it. Poor Walter!
In the end, it’s actually Claire that is the adult. After everything is said and done, she is the one with the wisdom and enough sense to know what she did was wrong. Claire was sorry, and she moved on with her life.
This book was a page turner for me, and I enjoyed it immensely. Not my typical read at all, but Charles Dubow sucked me into his novel with the first page. I was immersed in the story, and apparently as you can see from my thoughts above, was strongly interested in these characters, whether I liked them or not. What I enjoyed the most, was how my feelings changed for each one as I read the story. What I thought and felt at the beginning, was completely different by the time I closed the book. That’s what makes Indiscretion such a great read for me.
To read what other's thought about this book, please visit one of the tour stops below.
You can also follow Charles Dubow on Twitter.
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