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Blog Tour: Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott: A Book Review

Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott

 Paperback: 528 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 26, 2017)
A People Magazine October pick!
“A dazzlingly dark and engaging tale full of heartbreak, treachery, and surprise.” – Kirkus
Source: This book was given to me by TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: In this vivid reimagining of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it’s the summer when Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and a sweltering stretch has Harlem’s elite fleeing the city for Westchester County’s breezier climes, two predators stalk amidst the manicured gardens and fine old homes.

     Heiress Mae Malveaux rules society with an angel’s smile and a heart of stone. She made up her mind long ago that nobody would decide her fate. To have the pleasure she craves, control is paramount, especially control of the men Mae attracts like moths to a flame.

     Valiant Jackson always gets what he wants—and he’s wanted Mae for years. The door finally opens for him when Mae strikes a bargain: seduce her virginal young cousin, Cecily, who is engaged to Frank Washington. Frank values her innocence above all else. If successful, Val’s reward will be a night with Mae.

     But Val secretly seeks another prize. Elizabeth Townsend is fiercely loyal to her church and her civil rights attorney husband. Certain there is something redeemable in Mr. Jackson. Little does she know that her worst mistake will be Val’s greatest triumph.

     My Review: Unforgivable Love is a retelling of the classic novel, Dangerous Liaisons set in Harlem in the 1940s. Mae is an attractive heiress who is the head of Harlem society and who loves to control her suitors at her whim. Val has wanted Mae for years. However, she keeps him at bay. One day, Mae strikes an opportunity for Val by making a deal with him. She asks him to seduce Cecily out of vengeance because Cecily is engaged to Mae’s former suitor, Frank. If Val is successful, he can have one night with her. However, Val seeks the attention of Elizabeth Townsend. She is loyal to her church and husband. However, Elizabeth sees redemption in Val and seeks to change his ways.

Unforgivable Love is told from four points of view: Mae, Val, Elizabeth, and Cecily. Most of the characters are faithful to the original novel. Mae is the counterpart to Marquise de Merteuil. She is still a villain and very unlikable. She is cold-hearted, selfish, and manipulative. I relished her getting the punishment she deserved in this novel. However, Elizabeth was very sympathetic. She had a lot of patience with Val. She believed that he was redeemable. Val is selfish and is pleasure-seeking. Gradually over the course of the novel, he changes because of Elizabeth’s love. Because it took a long time for Val to grow as a character, I found him hard to like. The romance between Elizabeth and Val did not appeal to me. Instead, the character I was pulling for most was Cecily, and I was for her relationship with Frank. Cecily starts out as naive, but gradually she matures and is more confident in herself. I kept reading to find out if Cecily had a happy ending, unlike her counterpart in Dangerous Liaisons.

     Overall, this book is about the loss of innocence, growth and maturity, and faith. The characters were mostly like the original novel and the plot was loyal to the classic, but it had a twist. I really adored the setting of the high society of African-Americans in Harlem. This captivated me enough to read more novels set in that setting. Thus, Unforgivable Love was unique and original in its own way and was not just a straightforward retelling. The only thing I did not like about this book was that there were some scenes that made me uncomfortable. Still, I recommend Unforgivable Love to not just fans of the classic, but also to fans of Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, and Alice Walker.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars





Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



About Sophfronia Scott:

Photo by Rob Berkley

     Sophfronia Scott hails from Lorain, Ohio. She was a writer and editor at Time and People magazines before publishing her first novel, All I Need to Get By. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son.

     Find out more about Sophfronia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Comments

  1. I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time - it sounds SO INCREDIBLY GOOD!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    ReplyDelete

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