Almost a Crime by Penny Vincenzi
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Londoners Tom and Octavia Fleming seem to have the perfect power marriage: high profile and mutually supportive, both professionally and personally. They are attractive and rich, and each runs a success business, for they cross-fertilize ideas, clients, and networking opportunities. They have three lovely children and a calendar brimming with glamorous social events. But when Octavia discovers Tom is having an affair, and that it is by no means his first, every single aspect of her marriage and her life threatens to disintegrate. And this is no ordinary affair - it is one that snowballs into terror that no one in the Flemings' charmed circle can escape.
Review by Brittany:
This book was quite a time investment. At over 600 pages and with small font, there was a lot of story to devour, but it was all worth it.
My favorite thing about this book is that there are no supporting characters. Each character is a main character. While the blurb leads the reader to think the focus is on Octavia and Tom, this doesn't always ring true. Often other characters' tales are so entwined that they, too, become central to the story. The time and thought that was put into making each character matter and building their history and store is astounding, and this author did that extremely well.
Another thing I liked about this book is that the climax the reader might expect (Octavia finding out about Tom's affair) happens fairly early on in the book. Instead of that being the focus, the author focuses on how the relationship is affected, including how this affair affects other characters in the book. The reader gets to see how each character responds and in what ways it changes everything.
The length of this book is the only thing that might be considered a downside. Because it's so long, there are parts of the story that don't move at the same pace as other parts. While I didn't feel like this detracted from the story, it does mean that the reader has to commit.
Overall, I thought this book was beautifully written. Characters were well-crafted, and the story moves along at a proper pace. If you're looking for a book that you can really devote yourself to, I think this is a good choice. I'm very much looking forward to other books by this author.
The whole concept of quality time was a dreadful con. The quality was frequently very poor. And children wanted you when they wanted you; they didn't save things up to tell you, to talk to you about, cry over.
And while you weren't looking down, what might be going on? Down there, just under your nose?
Even in his gratitude, Tom had found it disorienting, disturbing even: to know that so totally and competently could hatred, mistrust, despair be disguised.
Marriage, love itself indeed, was a gamble; there was no way to be sure of a winning hand.
She found it hard to apologize for anything, he knew, so great was her need to get everything right, to know she had done so.
Playing God is a dangerous game for mortals. It requires breathtaking arrogance, an iron nerve and an absolute determination to see it through, whatever the cost and whatever the consequences.