"Freedman demonstrates a keen understanding of relationships." --Publishers Weekly
In the riveting follow-up to her acclaimed debut novel, Colette Freedman explores the aftermath of infidelity from three different perspectives--husband, wife, and mistress.
The end of an affair may be only the beginning. . .
Over the course of one tumultuous Christmas Eve, Kathy Walker confirmed her suspicions about her husband's affair, confronted his mistress, Stephanie, and saved her marriage. She and Robert have eighteen years, two teenagers, and a film production business between them--plus a bond that Kathy has no intention of giving up on. Yet though Robert is contrite, Kathy can't quite silence her doubts.
While Robert reels from his wife's ultimatum and his mistress's rejection, Stephanie makes a discovery: she's pregnant. Her resolve to stay away from Robert wavers now that they could make a real family together. And in the days that follow, Stephanie, Robert, and Kathy must each reckon with the intricate realities of desire, the repercussions of betrayal, and the secrets that, once revealed, ripple through lives and relationships in thoroughly unexpected ways.
Praise for The Affair by Colette Freedman
"Skillfully explores the complex and nuanced landscape of a troubled marriage." --Kristin Hannah
"An addictive page-turner, as three ordinary people are caught in an extraordinary triangle of love, sex, and commitment." --Jackie Collins
"Exceptionally engaging. . .the final pages will leave readers pondering exactly what it means to love." --RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
"One of the twelve best books to get you through the winter." --MSN.com
1. Stephanie asks herself, “What attracted a thirty-three-year-old,
single, unattached, attractive woman, with her own mortgage
and car, to a man with the ultimate baggage: a wife, two teens,
and a struggling business?” Why do you think she’s attracted
to a man with so many complications? Have you ever been in
her position? What does she see in Robert that makes him so
attractive to her?
2. Stephanie says, “All men lie. But let’s be honest, we wouldn’t
want them to tell us the truth about everything, would we?”
She similarly believes that all women lie as well. When is it
okay to lie to a spouse or partner? Have you ever lied to your
spouse? Can a lie be justified?
3. As technology changes, so too does the nature of an affair and,
indeed, all relationships. Stephanie checks her e-mail and finds
an urgent message from Robert. She also gets an instant message
from him. How do you think technology has played a role
in affairs? Are relationships stronger or weaker now because
we are almost always connected?
4. Stephanie’s father advises her that “love is the only thing worth
fighting for.” Is love always worth fighting for—even if it’s with
the wrong person?
5. Are you surprised by Stephanie’s coldness when she learns
about Jimmy’s death? Does it make her a bad friend that she
did not immediately console Robert? How would you react if
your lover’s best friend had just died?
6. Should Stephanie tell Robert she is pregnant with his child or
should she keep that information to herself? Why?
7. Maureen tells Robert that it is time for him to choose between
Stephanie and Kathy. Yet, do you think the choice is still his to
make? Is it really now the women who are making the decisions
in this situation?
8. When Kathy confronts Robert, she accepts some responsibility
for what happened. How culpable do you feel Kathy was?
Can you fault her for his affair?
9. Robert worries that Kathy will spy on him for the rest of their
relationship. When trust is broken, how long do you feel it
takes for that trust to be rebuilt? Indeed, is it ever possible for
trust to be rebuilt? Could you trust your partner if he or she
had betrayed you by having an affair?
10. Kathy wonders if a man and a woman can have a purely platonic
relationship. Do you think it’s possible? Do you know
any male-female friendships that are completely devoid of sexual
11. Kathy’s sister Julia immediately rushes to judgment over their
sister Sheila’s affair. Have you ever jumped to a conclusion
about a relationship before hearing both sides of the story?
12. When the truth about an affair comes out, women usually side
with women and men with men. Have you ever stuck with a
friend even though you knew he or she was behaving in an inappropriate
13. Sheila says, “In an affair, there are no blacks and whites, only
shades of gray.” But is that true? Or is an affair always black
and white and simply wrong? Where are the shades of gray in
14. Robert and Kathy’s children are present throughout the book
and are a major factor in both Kathy’s and Robert’s thoughts.
We never get to see their side of the story. How perceptive
would teenage children be to a situation like this unfolding
around them? Whose side do you think they would take?
15. Until Kathy discovers Robert’s ultimate betrayal of lies, she
still has hope that they can rebuild their relationship. Can you
understand her actions and is she right to fight for Robert even
after the betrayal of the affair? Do you agree with her?
16. At the end of the book, the two women discuss going into
business together. Given that they are very alike in many ways
(Stephanie has acknowledged that she is a younger version of
Kathy), do you think the women would be good business partners?
17. Statistically, men often have affairs with women who look like
a younger version of their present partners. Women never have
affairs with men who look like their partners. Why is this, and
what does this tell us about the sexes?
18. Where do you think Robert will be in a year’s time? He is
about to lose his wife and family, his home, and probably his
business. Can he start again or will he end up like Jimmy Moran?
19. All affairs begin in the mind. But at what point does an affair
begin? Is it with flirtation, a kiss that is more than a peck on
the cheek, sexual texting or salacious e-mails? Or does the affair
really begin the moment the couple end up in bed together?