Published by HarperCollins UK on November 10th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Family Life, Thrillers, Suspense, Psychological, Literary, Contemporary Women, General
Also by this author: The Goodbye Gift
A shocking story about a fifteen-year-old girl and the man who took advantage of her
“You might as well know from the start, I’m not going to tell on him and I don’t care how much trouble I get in. It’s not like it could get any worse than it already is.
I can’t. Don’t ask me why, I just can’t.”
When Nina finds out that her fifteen-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pregnant, her world falls apart.
Because Scarlet won’t tell anyone who the father is. And Nina is scared that the answer will destroy everything.
As the suspects mount – from Scarlett’s teacher to Nina’s new husband of less than a year – Nina searches for the truth: no matter what the cost.
I love Amanda Brooke, her books are fantastic. She genuinely surprises me with every novel she writes and I cannot get enough of her books. She just has a way with words, with her plots, with her plot twists, with her characters, that pull you in until you care for them so much that every action breaks your heart. This is actually the first book of hers that hasn’t made me cry, but that’s only because this wasn’t as emotionally charged as the two I’ve read previously (and boy, were they emotionally charged). Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of emotion in The Affair, but it was mostly angst, rage, suspicion, it was a very, very angry book. I’ll be honest, it left me with lots of differing opinions.
A book like The Affair is always going to be a difficult read and relationships between minors and adults is a touchy subject – is it the adults fault for corrupting the child? The parents fault for not being aware of anything? That’s where I struggle with The Affair because, here’s the thing, I didn’t trust a word Scarlett said. Actually, that’s a lie. I didn’t not trust her, I just found her incredibly manipulative. She may have been 15 but she acted much older, and I struggled to see her as a “victim”, because she was a wind up. There’s no way to put it – she spends the whole book dragging her mum on a wild goose chase, instead of just confessing to what exactly was going on. Then on the other hand, what Scarlett’s “boyfriend” did was hardly innocent. So I struggled. I’m not victim blaming in the slightest, because her boyfriend was just the worst person in the world, and I could see that from the very start, but Scarlett was just as bad. I wanted to shake her, repeatedly, until she just confessed.
And Nina! She also needed a shake. She was so absent, despite the fact she was there, she KNEW something was going on, and she just ignored it and she let Scarlett treat her so poorly, even before it all happened, and I just know that if that was me, my mam would kill me. But here’s the crucial difference: I was brought up to respect my parents and Scarlett wasn’t, from what I could see. I understand Nina had a business to run and was a working mother, but she was oblivious to both Scarlett and Liam, she just had no idea and she wasn’t interested in learning until it was too late. You can’t just pick and choose when you’re a mother; when you have a kid, you’re a mother for life, and you can’t just put your mum hat on when it suits you. And I felt like Nina just let her kids do what they want and was surprised (????) when they didn’t listen to her or talk to her or anything.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Affair, it was an incredible, if frustrating read, but the characters had a lot to answer for. The only ones I liked were Vikki and Bryn and even then, I had no idea if Bryn was the one who was really Scarlett’s “boyfriend” or if it was Mr Swift, her new form tutor, who I found horrible from the start – not for anything he said to Scarlett, but the way he treated Vikki was so patronising in my eyes, and I found that quite unforgivable, regardless of who it was who turned out to be the culprit. Amanda Brooke is such an incredibly talented writer. She just knows what to write every time and she does it so well and it’s a credit to her talent that I spent the vast majority of this book frustrated and on the verge of wringing some fictional necks.