“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 an author on the cusp of greatness, and Madeleine is his beautiful and graceful wife. Bonded by deep devotion, they share a love that is both envied and admired. 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. Drawn by the Winslows’ magnetism, Claire eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But over the course of the summer, her reverence transforms into something else.
A story of love, lust, deception, and betrayal as seen through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter (a narrator akin to Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby), Indiscretion is a richly textured novel filled with fascinating, true-to-life characters—an irresistible page-turner that explores having it all and the consequences of wanting more.
The blurb about the book doesn’t adequately describe the plot, or the nuance, in this 400-page book. First of all, Dubow is a great writer. His sentence structure could use a bit of work, but the way in which he fully draws each main character, pulling out their personalities and flaws, is a pleasure to read. You feel like you know each person as they move through the story. Second of all, the structure is an interesting choice. It’s reiterated from memory (so we’re told) by a close friend of the family, but we get such an intimate, first-person view at some points that it’s hard to know where the narrator stops and the characters he’s describing start. He’s not truly omniscient, as he is a character in the very story he’s telling, but his somehow first-person understanding makes the story that much more compelling. He pretends to be an innocent bystander just reporting the facts, but he’s in love with one of the main characters, childhood friend Madeleine, and this fact duly colors how he (and consequently we) understand what transpires.
Ultimately it’s a tale about infidelity--how it happens, who is affected, and these ramifications on the lives of all involved. We all know that bad spouses cheat, but sometimes good spouses also cheat, and this book expertly describes how this happens. How friendship and adoration progress to love and adultery, and the consequences of acting on these feelings. None of the characters are wholly good or wholly bad, which makes them more real and relatable.
I won’t give it away here, but I saw the ending coming from a mile away. Just when everything looks like it’s going to turn out one way, something completely different happens. It’s enough to make you read at breakneck speed all the way until the last page.
Disclosure: TLC Book Tours provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. The opinions and views are all mine.