The premise for The Mistress’s Revenge by Tamar Cohen is very similar to the 1987 movie Fatal Attraction only it is set in the current modern age of Facebook, emails, and cell phones. It is about an English woman named Sally who has just gotten dumped by a married man named Clive after spending five years together in a passionate affair, and who is left freely falling into the land of uncertainty. Slowly, she starts casually strolling by his house and other areas where members of his family may be. Then she starts attempting to become friends with his wife, daughter, and son, and getting herself invited to social events where she knows he’ll be present. All of these activities seem to be perfectly normal to her as she spirals dangerously into depression and scary self medication and as her days alternate between being full of anger at Clive for leaving her and moving on, and attempting to find ways to keep him in her life and win him back.
We get to read all about these going-ons in her daily journal, which was one of the only ideas she really took from her therapist, and we quickly get to see how Sally takes “crazy” to a whole new level. Her journal is written as a series of letters to Clive about her feelings, her actions, and her new found relationships with other members of his family and how she has been dealing with things since he ended their relationship. They are very intense entries! Sally rarely leaves any details out as she admits that she doesn’t know who she is without Clive. She can’t imagine her life without him and she both blames him for this and at the same time cannot help wanting him back. The journal entries really give you a glimpse into the mind of someone who is completely obsessed and who has lost themselves over another human being. They were very interesting to read.
Yet even with this, I found myself disappointed when I could not find the ability to like the character of Sally at all. I wasn’t able to empathize with her in the manner that I wanted especially with the way that she started abusing her prescription medications and was abandoning her family and other responsibilities. I mean, I understood that she was obsessed with this guy, and had obviously completely gone over the deep end because of him but, I still could not find the ability to like the character. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be able to? I’m not quite sure honestly but, I do know that the fact that I could even empathize with her a little bit left me a bit disconcerted.
That being said, I REALLY hated Clive. He’s such a creep and an asshole. I couldn’t understand why Sally would even waste her time on her (or why she wasted five years of her life on him) and maybe that is why I could not find the ability to empathize with her over him. He used her and manipulated her when they were together, and he continues to do so even after they have broken up. I just didn’t see him as being worth it at all. In fact, I spent the majority of the book hoping something REALLY bad would happen to him. It still turns my stomach to think of that character now even as I am writing this review.
While The Mistress’s Revenge did end up being totally different from anything I’ve ever read before and it did peak my interest as a psychology major it also ended up leaving me with a bitter taste in my mouth that I still can’t really explain. There were quite a few times where I had to put the book down and walk away from it for a bit just so that I could digest what had just happened and work up the desire to pick it back up again. Even when it was really trying to be thrilling, entertaining, and even just simply crazy, I found The Mistress’s Revenge to be really weird, hard to read, and over all for me it was hard to enjoy.
Disclosure: Purchased copy