Review: The Perfect Mistress
THE PERFECT MISTRESS - ReShonda Tate Billingsley
Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books
BUY

July 2016
INSPIRATIONAL FICTION
REVIEWER:  Brenda Larnell | RATING:  A
REVIEW: THE PERFECT MISTRESS written by the prolific ReShonda Tate Billingsley takes an in-depth look at the slow death of a family dismantled by extramarital affairs, lying, depression.and disfunction. The story is set in the South, but the setting takes second place to the weighty subject matter of this novel.

Infidelity is the main theme that runs through this story. It begins very subtlety when the engaged up and coming Duke law student, Vernon Robinson first meets Joyce, a college student.  Joyce schemes to methodically seduce Vernon from his fiancé. It works, and Vernon’s fiancé calls off the engagement. Within the first year of Joyce and Vernon’s marriage, Vernon is involved in an affair; the first of many. The daughter of this family, Lauren is also a victim of her father’s affairs. As a “daddy’s girl” she becomes an active participant in her father’s extra marital affairs when she is sworn to secrecy to keep quiet about one of his liaisons that she witnesses. Lauren’s brother, Julian, is another innocent by-stander who witnesses a lot of his mother’s emotional breakdowns and disfunction that eventually leads to him escaping to the military as soon as he becomes of age. Joyce dives into a debilitating depression that leaves her bed-ridden. Ironically, as Lauren develops into an active teen, she seeks help from her dad’s mistress to help her navigate through her high school years.

At this point the Robinson family has hit a new low. That’s just the beginning. Not only is this family affected by Vernon’s belief that “humans (men) weren't created to be monogamous”, but also by a devastating health issue that runs in Joyce’s family.  To add to this, as an adult, Lauren becomes “the perfect mistress” by engaging in a number of affairs with married men, and Julian follows in his father’s footsteps and becomes a cheater in his marriage. Is there any hope for this family? At this point, author, ReShonda Tate Billingsley has penned a dim and hopeless picture of a family destroyed by the sins of their father. I won’t reveal the final outcome of the Robinson family, but I advise you to hold on to your books or e-readers. You are in for one heck of a ride.

THE PERFECT MISTRESS is a page turner. As a reader, I found myself asking many times, “What next?” ReShonda Tate Billingsley doesn’t pull any punches as she delves into the dark tunnel of a family that is destroyed from within. BUT there is light at the end of that tunnel, and I’ll leave it right there. Get the book. I recommend it.

15th August 2016 | romcol@caribsurf.com