That's just one of the questions raised in "Love and Other Natural Disasters" by Holly Shumas (ISBN 9780446504775). Among the others: Is an emotional affair "better" or more forgivable? Does one wrong justify another? What would you do?
The novel opens on Thanksgiving Day with a very pregnant Eve enjoying the traditional meal with her husband Jonathan, their son, her mother and mother-in-law, and friends. When her husband doesn't return from answering the phone for several minutes, she follows. What she overhears devastates.
For more than a year, Jonathan has been engaging in a relationship with another woman. He initially maintains that because it hadn't turn physical, it wasn't quite cheating.
Eve questions much of her marriage. If he could lie to her for more than a year, how could she believe anything he'd ever said. But do his actions justify those of hers that follow.
She wanted the life she (thought she) had, but there was no going back.
I was reminded of the scene in Daphne Du Maurier's "Rebecca" when Maxim says his startling revelation has killed the funny lost look in his wife's eyes. For them there would be no return to the relationship they'd had. Once his wife knew the truth about Maxim and Rebecca, she couldn't un-know it. And that changes everything that comes after.
With the issues it raises, "Love and Other Natural Disasters" makes for a great book club selection.
- Tricia Ambrose