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The Adultery Club - Tess Stimson

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Author: Tess Stimson / Genre: Fiction

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      01.02.2010 16:19
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      Not convincing enough.

      A wife, a husband, a mistress.
      Whose side will you be on?

      The above question is asked before reading the blurb on the back of this book : The Adultery Club by Tess Stimson.
      My answer to this question after reading this book is an easy choice - none of them!

      Nicholas Lyon, a former public schoolboy, now a forty something divorce lawyer, is married to contented but ditzy cookery writer Malinche (Mal for short). Mal leads a chaotic lifestyle juggling working from home in Wiltshire and being mum to their three daughters.
      Nicholas is happy enough with his life, but that all changes when a new young lawyer, in her early twenties, Sara Kaplan, joins his firm and he is blown away by the strength of his immediate attraction to her and cannot ignore the chemistry between them both.
      A terrorist attack makes him realise his own mortality and throw caution to the wind, embarking on an affair with his young colleague.

      For Sara, what started as a harmless fling, soon develops into a battle for Nicholas's heart with his wife Mal, who is not quite as preoccupied in her world of food and school runs as Nicholas had believed.
      As Mal faces temptations of her own, she realises she has to decide what she wants and whether it's worth fighting for.

      I must admit that chick-lit is not my preferred genre when it comes to reading. However, I have read a few books of this type of genre and enjoyed them. So when I found this book lying around at work and having nothing to read, I decided I would give it a go.
      When I read the question I mentioned at the start on the back of the book. I thought initially,I would be on the side of the wife, which I think would probably be the most popular choice.

      After reading the book, however, I actually found I could not side with any of the characters. This was because in my opinion, there was nothing really likeable about any of them and I found I really didn't care about them or sympathise with them either.
      The story is told in the first person by the main three characters, who each have alternate chapters devoted to them.

      Nicholas constantly fantasises about his clients and the women he deals with and seems to be almost permanently aroused! Every time he meets a woman he is mentally appraising her body quite graphically. Whilst this may be true of some men, I think I just found it annoying, going through this routine everytime he converses with the opposite sex. I found him both shallow and pompous. He is easily tempted by Sara who is nearly 20 years younger than him and he comes across as weak and pathetic.

      The character of Sara, with whom Nicholas embarks on a passionate affair, I found just as annoying as Nicholas. Although she is critical of her friend who has been involved with a married man for years, it doesn't stop her wanting Nicholas. It all starts as a bit of a game for Sara, another challenge, but the other thing is, it's still about wrecking a marriage for the sheer hell of it and it honestly isn't funny. Sara comes across as an overly confident and selfish young woman who thinks she can have any man she wants if she puts her mind to it and they will all be powerless to resist her.
      Even when she realises her feelings are deepening for Nicholas and it has gone beyond a 'harmless' fling for her, I did not feel any warmth towards her. Sara becomes jealous of the time Nicholas spends with his wife and family and when she finds out that not only is Nicholas lying to his wife, he is also lying to her, I could still not muster up even an ounce of sympathy.

      The character of Mal was the best of the three. Although I found the whole ditzy, chaotic stuff a little too much over the top. Mal's life is so chaotic that she turns up to meet her husband at a function wearing her slippers and visits the gynaecologist having mistakenly washed herself with glitter. Whilst mildly amusing, these mishaps have all been done before and eventually just added to my irritation with her character.
      You do see a more sensible side to Mal, as she battles with some decisions and temptations of her own and I actually found myself liking her a little more towards the end of the book, before finding her irritating again in the final chapter.

      Love triangles have been written about many times and whilst some could make for an interesting read, this book certainly doesn't. I do think you have to be able to connect with at least one character to enjoy a book and sadly this did not happen for me here.

      Stimson's choice of prose is at times quite candid and strong. Particularly when it comes to Nicholas and Sara's bedroom, desk and stairs antics.
      The ending was predictable, so no surprises there. I did however, find the irony amusing in that Nicholas is a divorce lawyer dealing with adultery cases.

      The Adultery Club is an easy book to read and not too long, which is why I read the whole book in one night. If it had been any longer, I would not have finished it. The only reason I stuck with it was the fact I was at work on a sleep-over shift and had nothing else to read.
      Overall, it was a big disappointment. If the characters had been more likeable and convincing then it would have made for a much better read.

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        12.11.2009 10:22
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        Chick Lit

        The Adultery Club by Tess Simpson would be classified as chick lit and it is a pretty good read, it is quite suggestive with lots of sexual references in itm, nothing gratuitous just a bit of rather tame titillation a step up from the banter in Sex in the City.

        The style of story telling used is to tell the story from the perspective of three different characters, and this is quite effective as it gives the reader a number of different perspectives and also helps move the story on into different directions. It also helps give you an insight into the differences of the three characters involved in the story as well.

        The main character is a divorce lawyer called Nicholas who is in his mid forties who in a largely happy and stable marriage and he has three children with his wife. His life is changed dramatically when a new employee called Sara joins his company, she is attracted to him and makes it clear her intentions to him ad very soon thay are having an affair which initially he enjoys however soon the guilt begines to set in. The story is told from each of their perspecives and the third spke in the wheel is his wife Mel who is the one you really feel sorry for.

        Really she is the main character in the story as it tends to focus on how she copes and the changes both in her life and her personality that take place in the book.

        I liked the fact that the story moves along at a fast pace and is a fairly addictive read. The method used of letting you into the minds of all three characters is a good one and you get to appreciate their motivations and feelings far better than if it was a single person narrative.

        This was an enjoyable read, easy to follow and written in a nice flowing style that made it easy to immerse yourself into the plot. Certainly one of the better books in this genre.

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        17.09.2009 21:37
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        Chick Lit

        This book falls into the chick lit genre and it is one of the more sexually suggestive and explicit books that I have read in this category, nothing to bad just a little risque in places I would say. As far as chick lit goes this is one of the better books in the genre in my opinion and it is worth checking out if you like this sort of thing.

        The format of the book is to tell the story from the perspective of three different characters, this is not the first book that I have read that adopts this approach and it seems to be becomming more popular as a away of telling the same story but to give the reader a number of different perspectives and also to help move the story on into different directions.

        The main character is a divorce lawyer called Nicholas who is in his fortiesand live an idyllic life with his three children and wife of many years however this all begines to change when Sara joins his company, she is attracted to him and immediately sets out to ensnare him and the two soon start a passionate affair. The third party in the whole story is his wife Mel and the story is very much about her transformation from the victim in all of this into a stronger woman who tries to battle through the emotional turmoil of the betrayal she feels.

        I liked the fact that this story is well balanced with the different characters voicing their feelings and explaining their actions, it moves along at a fast pace and is a fairly addictive read.

        Certainly if you like this type of book then it is worth checking out as it is an entertaining read.

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        01.09.2009 23:25
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        A nice easy read

        I recently bought this book during a lunch hour as I was conscious how much money I waste on magazines. I picked it up in our local book shop for £2. I have a varied taste in books but felt a simple chick lit book would be ideal for my lunch hour, nothing too taxing.

        This is the first book I have read written by Tess Stimson and I really enjoyed her work so will be looking out for more by this author.

        The book revolves around three main characters and each chapter is written from one of the characters perspective. So you get to see each situation from three different view points. This may sound a little complicated but the book is very well written and I feel this method actually enhanced the story as you could really get into the mind of each of the characters.

        Nicholas is the central character within the book. He is a 40 something divorce lawyer with the idyllic lifestyle. A nice house in the country, a pretty home making wife and three beautiful children. He has the copy book perfect life until a girl called Sara joins his work.

        Sara is a girl in her late twenties, single and ruthless. She is instantly attracted to Nicholas and from the title of the book you can probably guess, she ends up having an affair with Nicholas.

        Mal is Nicholas wife of several years. She is a dedicated wife and mother who appears very happy in her life. She is probably the more complex character as the story develops she changes from a slightly down trodden wife/mother to a strong character who knows exactly what she wants and does what she needs to in order to achieve her goals.

        I won't talk to much about the story line so as not to ruin the book but the story is based around the affair and how this effects each of the three characters differently.

        The book is very fast paced and is one which you find yourself reading several chapters of before you can put down. It is a little "racy" in parts but it is needed to understand the basis of one of the relationships within the story.

        I would recommend this book to anyone who likes chick lits.

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          17.08.2009 21:05
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          Another fab, girly read

          The Adultery Club was the first book I read by Tess Stimson. I had heard good things about this book though, so began reading this with high expectations.

          ~The Story~

          Nicholas and Mal have been married for ten years and have three beautiful young daughters. Nicholas is a successful divorce lawyer, whilst Mal is a chef and writes cookery books.

          Although Mal has a very hectic lifestyle, juggling the demands of a husband and three young children, she is a devoted mother and wife, and wouldn't have things any other way. Similarly, Nicholas loves his wife dearly, and together they have always been very happy.

          Things change though, when a new lawyer, Sara starts working with Nicholas. There is a mutual attraction between the two, and although Sara knows Nicholas is married, she decides she wants to have a bit of fun with him, and deliberately sets out to get him into bed.

          At first Nicholas stays loyal to Mal, resisting the many temptations Sara continually lays in front of him. Eventually though, he gives into his urges and they begin a passionate affair. Although he tries to end it several times, Nicholas just can't seem to give Sara up.

          Will Nicholas finally be able to end things with Sara? Will Mal ever find out? And is Nicholas really Sara's perfect man?

          ~What I thought~

          Let me say, this book certainly didn't disappoint! I first picked it up with the intention of just reading a couple of pages before going to bed, and before I knew it I was 100 pages in!

          Each chapter is written from the perspective of a different character - either Nicholas, Sara or Mal. I thought this was very clever as you can get inside the mind of each character, and realise what is behind the way their actions. It's also very interesting to see events from different perspectives - what seems like an innocent throwaway comment to one person can be deeply hurtful to another.

          Mal was an instantly loveable character. Her complete and utter trust in her husband was very sweet, and her naivety came across as very endearing, when I think it would have been very easy to dismiss her as stupid for ignoring the many, many signs that Nicholas was having an affair.

          I thought Mal was written very well. At times, she was obviously under a huge amount of stress trying to deal with the demands of her children whilst running a home and writing her recipe books. The way this was described was not only very believable, but I actually found myself getting stressed for her, just reading about her rushed and hectic lifestyle - that's how well it came across!

          Sara on the other hand, I felt the completely opposite way about. Had Nicholas purposely seduced her, I might have felt differently, but I found it very difficult to like or have any sympathy for a woman who consciously decided to sleep with another woman's husband - especially as there were children involved.

          It might have been easier to feel some sympathy towards Sara had she been a nice person, but I never really saw a whole lot of good in her at all. She didn't come across as nasty as such, but she never seemed to have any consideration for anyone else's feelings. In fact, I thought she often came across as very immature, and at times I found it hard to believe she was a lawyer, as I just couldn't imagine someone who acted so young to have such a good job. Towards the end of the book, there was one moment when I found myself feel a flicker of sympathy for her, but it was only a flicker - on the whole, I didn't like her, or the way she showed little remorse for her actions.

          Nicholas, given that he was the one cheating on his wife, would be very easy to dislike, however despite the fact I adored Mal, and hated what he was doing to her, I couldn't help but feel sympathy for him - especially in the latter part of the book. Of course his actions were inexcusable, but he often made attempts (however lame) to cool the relationship with Sara.

          This book is quite racy, but I think that was probably necessary to the story, to fully convey what Nicholas and Sara had together. Their relationship was based mainly on sex, and I could understand why he was attracted to her, but at the same time it was easy to see that he adored his wife.

          The pace of this book is quite fast, and very easy to read. I must admit I do like chick-lit and this was a fine example. In fact, it's one of the best books I've read in ages. Also this is the first book in absolutely ages that has made me cry - and I blub at almost anything, so that's saying something! Don't get me wrong though, it's not really a weepy sort of story, it achieved the perfect balance, where I found myself both laughing and crying and I really didn't want it to end! I have now started on my second Tess Stimson novel, and I'm glad to report that so far, it's as good as this one was. I'd recommend this book to chick-lit fans everywhere, five stars!!!

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            04.06.2009 21:10

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            Chick lit novel with nothing new.

            I am a big fan of Marian Keyes so I wanted something along those lines, something easy to read (chick lit) and with a fun light hearted story. Ok maybe adultery isn't so light hearted BUT I knew what I was getting into. I had read several reviews and many people had said "If you like Marian Keyes, you'll like this". So, I assumed I was onto a winner. However, I was thoroughly dissapointed!

            Where to start...Nicholas Lyons, I just hated his character. He seemed to get turned on by just about anything and it just seemed SO tired and SO dated. Then there was his wife Maliniche (what a ridiculous name, apologies if this is your name), she appeared to be the hard working wife with 3 kids, decent body, something missing from her life..blah blah blah, heard it all before. SO unoriginal. Then the mistress Sarah (I think) was also a weird combination, especially to be having an affair with the awful character of Lyons. All the sex scenes were cringeworthy but maybe that's why I am not a Jackie Collins fan! I would not consider myself a prude but it just seemed so old fashioned.

            Anyway, as you can gather I was not a fan of the book. Not sure why I actually read the whole thing, I think I was hoping it would get better. It didn't! I know some people will like this kind of thing but it just ain't for me!

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            08.04.2009 10:00
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            A great read, just needed a twist

            As mentioned in my review of another Tess Stimson book 'The Infidelity chain', I bought the book in a set of two; the other being this one 'The Adultery Club'...as you can see from the title alone it is again along a familiar theme!

            "A wife, a Husband, a Mistress. Whose side will you be on?"

            Simple enough question you would think, of course the wife she's done nothing wrong unlike the other cheating marriage wrecking two! right? Wrong.

            The story pans out as happy as anything couple Nicholas (top lawyer) and Mal (celebrity chef) get on with their perfect ife in the countryside just outside out of London. Mals best friend Kit makes an appearance often, camp as they come Nicholas just can't get along with him but puts up with him for his wifes sake as he does seem madly in love with her.

            Then Sara, a young lawyer starts work at his law firm and for the first time in married life he wants another woman. There's just something about her.....
            It doesn't help that Sara feels the same about him.

            The story is as I said set in London, around the same time of the London bombings. In one particular scene, the famous bomb on the bus goes off and it is very close to their office, danger apparently makes people do crazy things and the two end up in bed....actually slight exagerration they don't get further than the communal hallway to Saras flat.

            Nicholas, still devoted husband and actually still sleeping with his wife too hopes this was a one off triggered by the tragic terror attacks but he can't stand to be in the same room as Sara as he wants her so much, obviously this causes tension at work and the inevitable happens for the second time...and the third, fourth, fifth etc.

            Meanwhile Mals first love, Trace Pitt a celebrity chef himself is back on the scene. He is opening a restaurant in Covent Garden and wants Mal as head chef.....

            If the two are so tempted by others surely the marriage has faults? But it doesn't seem that way, this just shows that it doesn't mean you're unhappy if you stray, I can vouch for that one!

            Back to the question at the beginning: Whose side will you be on?
            I'm on Nicholas's side for some reason! The way Tess Stimson writes doesn't paint any one character as the bad guy and he seems genuinely nice and caring (minus the adultery of course).
            Mal could be likeable but for me she is just a bit too dizzy for the sharp minded Nicholas. I like how her 'other side' is shown as she falls for Trace again...
            Sara is a complete sex pot but none of this was her intention, we are introduced to her friend Amy who is sleeping with a married man and Sara despises the idea...until Nicholas comes along. She also seems a lovely girl, just unlucky to fall in love with the wrong man.

            Who'll get the guy?


            There are some scenes of sex, nothing too filthy but sometimes the descriptions are fairly graphic, I'd give an example but I don't wanna make you all blush!

            The writing is fantastic, I will definitely be looking for more Tess Stimson books. Its not a long book at 390 pages but it is just enough, It's like a fantastically edited film compared to one that just drones on and you get bored. Each page is full of events, no time for being bored.
            It really is hard to put down.

            As in her other book I read (and reviewed) this book is split into chapters from the characters points of view. For example chapter 1 is Nicholas, 2 is Sara and 3 is Mal...and it carries on like that throughout. As there are only 3 main characters most of the time it's really easy to follow and keep track off. I like this style of writing as I know what everyone is thinking, the contrasting views of the same event are interesting!


            I enjoyed the story just not as much as The Infidelity Chain, the classic Love Triangle (and sometimes square) is a much told story and there isn't much of a twist to this one.
            Still enjoyable though.

            I paid £4 for the set of two books from Tesco, this book alone is available from Amazon for £5.49.

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              11.03.2009 03:09
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              A club that no one intends to join, but good to read about!

              Love triangles are never pretty, they end in heartache for at least one person and this book really does tell the story from each perspective, the wife, the husband and the mistress.

              Nicholas Lyon, a doting husband for 10 years until he meets Sara Kaplan. His happy marriage to Malinche suddenly turns into the marriages he sees every day working as a divorce lawyer in London, he knows what the outcome will be, but he can't help himself.

              You follow Malinche's heartache through the narrative, Sara's excitement, and Nicholas' fears and awakening.

              Each chapter is written from the perspective of each character, beginning with Nicholas and followed by his mistress and his wife, however each is written in the first person. Stimson cleverly leaves each chapter with a cliffhanger, almost luring the reader to continue to find out what happens next.


              Because each chapter is written in the first person you find yourself becoming aware of so many facts about each character. You become aware of Malinche's life before she married Nicholas, Sara's loves and life before she joined the law firm and Nicholas' insecurities.

              This book has to be one of the easiest and most pleasant reads I've had in a while. The story flows well and each character's narrative seamlessly leads on to the next chapter and is absolutely "unputdownable" as one critic claimed - I agree!

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                10.03.2009 23:44
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                If you like chick lit holiday novels then youve probably already read this

                Tess Stimson is the new Jackie Collins. Born in Sussex, she later studied in Oxford joining ITN after graduating where she reported and produced regional and world stories, travelling to hotspots and war-zones all over the world.
                Her first book was a biography of Beirut hostage, Jackie Mann which she wrote in 1991.
                Living in Cyprus and later Italy, her first novel 'Hard News' was published in 1993 followed by Soft Focus in 1995 and Pole Postion 1996. All huge successes they were translated into several languages.
                In 1997 Tess moved to Beirut reporting and working freelance for UK television networks.
                Following her divorce in 2000, Tess moved back to London but moved again two years later when she was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Florida.
                In 2004 she returned home to full-time writing and journalism thus taking us to 2007 and and the publication of The Adultery Club.This book was translated into no less than 15 languages and went straight into the top ten bestseller list .
                The Infidelity Chain, her next novel was published by Pan Macmillan in January 2008.
                Her latest book The Cradle Snatcher was due out in January this year.

                This is the first novel by Tess Stimson that I have read but I will be looking out for the rest of her collection. My copy was recommended and leant to me by a friend but it is available at Amazon for £6.99.
                This 391 page- turner is impossible to put down but then I am a huge fan of anything chick -lit!

                The story is absoloutely believable. Nicholas Lyon is a divorce lawyer happily married to Mal for 10 years after a chance meeting. Mal supports her husband and raises their 3 children whilst writing recipe books. This happy but chaotic life keeps Mal busy but unfortunately her husbands eye roaming.
                When young, beautiful new lawyer, Sara Kaplan joins the firm and doesnt hide her interest in Nicholas he struggles to do the right thing and eventually succumbs.
                The harmless fling though soon becomes a drug he cant kick and Sara soon realises shes in deeper than she ever meant to go.
                With their lives in turmoil, Mal has to decide if the marriage is worth saving.

                I really dont want to give any more away but should perhaps give a little warning here that if this book were to be age rated then there are numerous '18' paragraphs. Its certainly hot and steamy in places and not one that Ill be passing on to my mother to read !

                As previously mentioned this novel has 391 pages and I read it in 3 nights. I must comment on the large writing because as I often read by lamp light at night Im a huge fan of the larger text!
                It is split into 16 chapters, each one entitled either Nicholas, Mal or Sarah and gives that persons views and takes on the unravelling story. Because of this there is some repetition but its always from a different point of view. It reminded me a little of men/women mars/venus!
                Im off now to buy her next book ready for a weekend away that I have planned !

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                  24.02.2009 22:29
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                  Pack this book next time you fly away

                  This is a story about the classic love-triangle, with the twist that you read it from all three view points.

                  Nicholas Lyon has been married to Malinche for ten years. He's a divorce lawyer, so when he embarks on an affair with Sara Kaplan after she starts working at his firm, he knows what the outcome would be if caught. But an affair is exactly what he's drawn into having.

                  It's interesting that you see the story from each viewpoint, but it does make it frustrating as well. As you reach the end of each chapter, and it's cliffhanger, you obviously want to know what happens next. But the next chapter will be from another person, so you'll jump back in time.

                  The way you find out about Nicholas and Mal's meeting, and lives before each other is good, and the way the book is constructed means you get more information than you would from a normal single person viewpoint story.

                  It's a easy read, that keeps you wanting to carry on. It would be perfect to have by the pool or on the beach. Although, curled up on the sofa on a dull winters day, it was also perfect.

                  I do have to say though, there's odd bits that have you rolling your eyes. The occasional joke that you've heard before. It doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the book as a whole, but it does make you wonder for about a minute when you reach them.

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