Pick of the Day

Something Tragic by Jessica Yeh

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆★ There are some books that hold you in a thrall of emotions that they create long after you’ve finished them. You have emotions...

After Mrs Hamilton by Clare Ashton

⭐⭐⭐⭐

We’re kind of bamboozled by this book. It is completely out of any boundaries and expectations set for lesroms. It is twisting, twisted and throbs with secrets clawing to get out. It is intense and entirely immersive.

Mrs. Hamilton, an American, knows her husband is cheating on her with someone across the pond. She meets the woman, Marella, a high class prostitute, to find that the woman in question doesn’t take clients herself any more but makes perfect matches for her clients. Mrs. Hamilton is in a state of existential ennui where the cheating doesn’t matter anymore and to give validity to her meeting arranges for an escort for herself. As she is waiting, taking in the square below the balcony of her hotel room, she changes her mind and cancels the tryst. Clo, Mrs. Hamilton’s assigned escort (“Prostitution. You can call it what it is,” says Clo.), doesn’t receive the cancellation message in time and turns up. The two women connect and spend the night together talking, with a side of a massage thrown in. In spending the night with Mrs. Hamilton, Clo misses her meeting with her friend, Laura, who’s going through a rough patch in her marriage and with Susan, a friend rediscovered after decades who has just come to London from the States. Laura and Susan end up spending the evening together with Susan holding Laura through a meltdown.

The four lives crisscross and tangle with other lives in strange ways. The book fairly vibrates with threat of something racing to derail the new relationships in a way you want to know what’s coming next and each character’s past. You find yourself praying for the lovers to get together. You desperately want them to be together and are as willing to write the rest of the story yourself as you are to read what is already written.

It is a great achievement that by the end of the book, you are actually uncertain about morally ambiguous relationships and are left wondering what relationship you actually want for the complicated characters – especially the unresolved relationship in the end. We have a sneaking suspicion that Ashton actually started off planning a Fran/Isabelle or a Fran/Amelia relationship in the past – but even she couldn’t handle the complications that the latter pairing would cause.

Admittedly the depth of emotions between characters is rather fast, but given the intensity of the book, you don’t realise the insta-emotions aspect much.

This complicated book (with some great sex scenes to boot) is certainly a lesfic must-read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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