Red Dress, Aug 2003, 13.95, 400 pp.
In London Alicia Kingston sits at the café feeling miserable about anything and everything. Her husband and their three children insist it comes with the territory of closing in on forty, but Ali thinks it is more than just that. When Christian the street artist, who is closer in age to her teenage daughter than to her, hits on her by drawing her, Ali feels the first stir of excitement in eons. Ali walks away only to return at lunch seeking Christian, who is also there searching for her. They leave together as Ali does the unthinkable and plays hooky from work and soon even more unimaginable they make love.
She sees her action as A MINOR DISCRETION, but her spouse Ed the promotion video maker thinks this is the Mount Everest of affairs. He tosses her out so Ali goes to Christian while Ed considers affairs with women just over his daughter's age. As family members led by a four year old general try bringing the estranged couple together, fate forces Ed and Ali to make a decision whether to reconcile or not.
Though the story sounds quite simple, Carole Matthews has written a complex tale due to the switching narration between the lead triangle and a third person external voice. Once readers adapt to the perspective, fans will fully appreciate a powerful character study of a couple on the verge of middle age in matrimonial crisis. The prime trio and the three children seem genuine though the youngest is too wise at times for a preschooler. Still Ms. Matthews provides an insightful relationship drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner