The Mistress's Revenge by Tamar Cohen

Never have an affair with someone who has less to lose than you do.

The Mistress's Revenge: A Novel


            “Let me start by explaining. I know you might see this as incendiary, malicious, even creepy. Call it what you will. But believe me, nothing is further from the truth. The fact is I’ve been to see a therapist, just as you advised me. so thoughtful of you to think of it. ‘I know you think it’s mumbo jumbo, so did I, but believe me you’ll see the benefits,’ you urged me in your most concerned voice…And how right you were. I’m seeing the benefits already… (the therapist) told me that getting it all “out there” would be a vital part of my recovery process.”

“That’s exactly how she said it: ‘a vital part of your recovery process.’ So what can I do? I don’t want to impede my recovery process…Now, I’m aware you will worry about the risk of other people reading this and it all becoming public, and believe me if I can get this out there without risking exposure and all the problems that will bring, of course I will do it. I have only your best interests at heart. You know that. But I’m sure you understand, having experienced the benefits of therapy yourself, that one has to be totally honest (no, what’s that word they use instead these days? “Transparent.” Totally transparent) no matter how painful. So that’s what I shall be. As part of my recovery process. I can feel it working already. Thank you so much for suggesting it…”

“…turning yourself into whoever you needed to be. What’s that they call it nowadays in recruitment terms? A transferable skill. That’s what it is, being able to parcel up all the separate bits of your life into distinct sections and keep them from touching one another like a TV dinner. There’s a lot to be said for a talent like that…”

About the Book (taken in part from Free Press News):

There’s a fine line between love and hate.

            For five years, Sally and Clive have been lost in a passionate affair. Now he has dumped her to devote himself to his wife and family, and Sally is left in free fall.

It starts with a casual stroll past his house, and popping into the brasserie where his son works. Then Sally starts following Clive’s wife and daughter on Facebook. But that’s all right, isn’t it? These are perfectly normal things to do. Aren’t they?

After the breakup, Sally Islip decides to take stock of their lives. She is left reeling; but with Sally, Clive has made one fundamental mistake: he has chosen someone who has less to lose than he has, and Sally will have her revenge-no matter what the cost to the people around them.

The cat-and-mouse tale that follows is told through the journals Sally’s therapist has told her to keep. Sally, whose mental state is gradually unraveling, stalks Clive online and off, keeping him on an agonizing knife-edge of fear of exposure.

Not since Fatal Attraction has the fallout from an illicit affair been exposed in such a sharp, darkly funny, and disturbing way: The Mistress’s Revenge is a truly exciting fiction debut. After all, who doesn’t know an otherwise sane woman who has gone a little crazy when her heart was broken?

About the Author:

            Tamar Cohen was born in Nigeria in 1963 during one her anthropologist father’s regular sabbaticals abroad, but she grew up mostly in Harrow, England. She has a been a freelance journalist for over twenty years. Over the past four years, she has written eight non-fiction books: The Day I Died, Deadly Divorces, Killer Couples, and 5 more. The Mistress’s Revenge is her first novel. For more information or to post your own anonymous revenge secret, visit

About the website:

            She got her revenge. How would you get yours? not only provides more information about the book and the author, but also includes a place where readers can anonymously post their own revenge secrets. It also has resources for book clubs that include book related drink recipes as well as resources for booksellers.

My Review:

            When a book begins the way this one did, you begin to feel the suspense on the very first page. By the end of the first page, (see quotes above) I could hear eerie music playing in my mind and the beating of my heart in my ears. I was starting to hear the voice of Glenn Close as Sally and Kirk Douglas as Clive. In fact, the more I read, the more I could hear the matter of fact voice of Glenn Close speaking to me. I found myself holding my breath as I was reading so I did not miss anything.

I am going to be overusing the word “wicked” in this review. This book was wicked, wicked, wicked! I only watched Fatal Attraction one time (believe me, that was enough for my VERY active imagination) and it scared me witless. This book did the same thing. It is scary to think of all the ways we can stalk a person today.It used to be if you were stalking someone, you would just follow him or her around and hope they didn’t turn around and see you. Now, we have Face book and Twitter, there are book review sites and blogs, the list is endless. Someone could stalk you and unless the peson reached out and threatened you, you may never find out.

I love to read memoirs and although this book is fiction, it could be a memoir. Sally tells her story in first person as though she were having a conversation with Clive. The story derives from the journals her therapist suggests she start to help her overcome her feelings and put the past to rest. Instead of propelling Sally down the path to recovery, the journals accelerate her voyage into depression and obsession. She becomes consumed with anger and love for Clive. She channels her obsession with him into friendship with his wife and daughter, involving herself in their lives as much as possible, while ignoring her own family.

Sally is so distracted by her obsession and grief that she is blind to the destruction and havoc she is wreaking on her own children and life-partner. Her selfishness is uncanny.

While we rarely hear of a woman breaking off an affair, men suddenly seem to have a need to clear their conscience and appear to have no problem ending an affair. Maybe it is the need to clear their lives of clutter to be free to engage in other affairs. This seems to be Clive’s pattern. The question of does the person breaking off the relationship ever take the time to think of how it will affect the other person who has invested so much of themselves? This book brings to light not only the “upside” if you will, but also the downside of affairs.

I loved that the characters and their spouses were friends. This little tidbit led to the enjoyment of making Clive squirm when forced to attend functions with Siiiillllllyyyyy Saaalllllyyyy, as Sally refers to herself throughout the book. It is eerie to follow Sally’s slip from reality as we see how far she goes to justify her actions to remain in Clive’s life.

It is frightening to see a normally clever and intelligent woman loose her grip on reality. It leaves you wondering if you would react in the same way if you were in her position. Would you lose your grip on reality like Sally does or are you stronger? The mind is a precarious thing and sometimes our actions astonish us.

The book’s ending was a complete surprise and I have to admit that I jumped to the end at one point. I am ashamed to admit I did that (I had finally broken the habit) but after doing so, I had to finish the book to see how the ending came about.

I have toyed with the idea of writing my memoir but I am not good at dialogue. This book has given me an idea of how to write it. Sally journals her thoughts and her stories and therefore does not need actual dialogue; and this is the way I write. I think it is time for me to finish this review and begin my own story. Thanks Tamar for not only a tantalizing book but for the writing lesson it revealed to me.

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation – monetary or in kind – has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm.

The book is available for purchase at the following locations:
The Book Depository
Barnes and Noble