A Minor Indiscretion – Carole Matthews

  • Title: A Minor Indiscretion
  • Author: Carole Matthews
  • Genre: Chick Lit
  • Why: Random 3 for £5 book bargain.
  • Rating: 4 Stars

Description: In a moment of madness, Ali Kingston, wife and mother of three, skips work to spend the day with Christian, a gorgeous street artist fifteen years her junior. Midlife crisis or whatever, it escalates when Ali’s husband, Ed, equates her minor indiscretion with a major affair and kicks her out into the rainy night. . . and Christian’s open arms. Soon thirty-eight-year-old Ali is ensconced in a Notting Hill love nest wondering how to introduce her children to the charismatic Christian, who could easily have been her teenage daughter’s boyfriend rather than her own.

Meanwhile back at the ranch house in suburban Richmond, Ed is also facing unanticipated temptations, as two younger women compete to console him for the loss of his wife, while family and friends attempt to reunite him with Ali. . . with deliciously droll results. Then a disconcerting event forces both Ed and Ali to decide what they really want — from themselves, from each other and from life itself.In a moment of madness, Ali Kingston, wife and mother of three, skips work to spend the day with Christian, a gorgeous street artist fifteen years her junior. Midlife crisis or whatever, it escalates when Ali’s husband, Ed, equates her minor indiscretion with a major affair and kicks her out into the rainy night. . . and Christian’s open arms. Soon thirty-eight-year-old Ali is ensconced in a Notting Hill love nest wondering how to introduce her children to the charismatic Christian, who could easily have been her teenage daughter’s boyfriend rather than her own.

Meanwhile back at the ranch house in suburban Richmond, Ed is also facing unanticipated temptations, as two younger women compete to console him for the loss of his wife, while family and friends attempt to reunite him with Ali. . . with deliciously droll results. Then a disconcerting event forces both Ed and Ali to decide what they really want — from themselves, from each other and from life itself.

Review: I’m not really sure where to start with this book. It centres on Alicia, a woman a little shy of forty with a husband and three children, who meets a gorgeous young man of twenty-three, Christian, who charms the pants off her and pretty much lures her into an affair with him. Her husband Ed inevitably finds out and evicts her, and the remainder of the book centres on the aftermath of the minor indiscretion of the title, since Ed throws Ali out before anything more untoward than a kiss has actually happened.

Let me try and tackle its individual parts and start with the writing, which is absolutely excellent. The author’s style is witty, effortless, an absolute joy to read. Sometimes you read prose which feels a little stilted, sometimes you just follow the story and don’t notice the prose, and then occasionally you stumble on prose so good that it stands out, and this book falls into the latter category for me. I did find it a little strange that the book switched from first person present tense for Ali and third person past tense for everyone else, but that may be just me.

The characters are very interesting and recognisable. I found Ali a likeable character, despite the fact that she’s on the verge of throwing away a good – if somewhat jaded – marriage, and I could easily see how and why she fell for Christian and how confused her feelings got. Similarly for Ed, who is no saint himself and does things which are equally stupid as what Ali did. Christian was a little harder, but overall I did quite like him, despite the fact that he doesn’t think anything through before he does it. You want to slap all three of them many times over, but I never got the feeling that anything any of them did was contrived. Things just happen, and before they know it they’re in so deep that they have no clue how to get themselves out again. Ali and Ed’s three children are perfectly characterised, and four-year-old Elliot is an absolute gem, which is saying a lot coming from someone like me who doesn’t do kids.

The plot – well, that’s where the shortfall of a star comes from. I bought it all the way up to the point where something major happens to Ali. I won’t give away spoilers, but I basically find it a little hard to believe that that event is dealt with so easily. Apart from that I found the lack of closure for several of the secondary characters a bit annoying – they do one last thing and that’s it, but it doesn’t feel like an end for those characters.

On the whole a surprisingly entertaining read, even if you end up sighing and rolling your eyes a lot at the characters.

Originally published on Silk Screen Views: http://silkscreenviews.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/a-minor-indiscretion-carole-matthews/

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