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The Moral Line Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Moral Line


A middle-aged divorcee eagerly explores the sexual side of her personality when she starts working as an escort to help pay her bills. Alexandria Burland is a 47-year-old woman in California going through a painful divorce from her third husband. Her self-esteem has plummeted because she's felt unwanted and unloved by her husband for a very long time. She doesn't have any family members or friends to confide in and feels extremely lonely.
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Alexandria works as a saleswoman for a company that sells food to restaurants. She's also a part-time tennis instructor. Even though she has two jobs, she is struggling to pay her bills. She is a certified sommelier and starts getting jobs as a bartender and wine consultant to supplement her income.

While working as a bartender at a dinner party, she meets an unattractive older gentleman named Homer. He enjoys chatting with Alexandria and asks her to be his date at a party he is attending in a few days. He offers to pay for her time and assures her that no sex would be involved. Alexandria agrees to be his date and uses the money to pay some of her monthly expenses.

Alexandria meets a good-looking man named Rich at a party hosted by one of her friends. They have a drink at a hotel where he is staying. Later that night, they have passionate sex in his hotel room. Alexandria enjoys being desired by a man again after getting rejected by her husband for so long. When Alexandria leaves the hotel, she finds an envelope filled with money and a note left in her purse by Rich thanking her for such a great time.

She joins an escort website and goes on a series of dates. Her financial situation is improving with the extra money she makes. She enjoys being an escort because it fulfills her need to be sexually desired by men but doesn't require her to become emotionally attached.

When Alexandria is at the gym, she meets a short Pakistani man named Sami. They arrange to go out on a date. During their date, Sami asks Alexandria if she would be willing to have sex with another man while he watches. She agrees to do it because she needs the money.

Alexandria has sex with Sami's cousin in a hotel room while Sami watches. She doesn't like the experience and throws up after leaving the hotel room. She is disgusted with herself but doesn't want to quit because she's become addicted to the money.

A Russian woman named Ingrid frequently goes to the same gym as Alexandria. She runs an escort business and asks Alexandria to work for her. Since Alexandria hates her sales job and is interested in earning more money as an escort, she decides to work with Ingrid. Alexandria begins using the alias "Catherine" whenever she meets with Ingrid's clients.

Alexandria starts seeing a client named George. He's a Greek guy who owns a demolition company. They see each other on a weekly basis. George always brags about his oldest son Jonathan who is an attorney employed by the FBI. As George and Alexandria develop a friendship, she feels uneasy about taking money from him.

When Alexandria goes to visit another one of Ingrid's clients, she is shocked to see it is her boss from the sales job, Marty. She records their conversation on her phone in case the situation gets dangerous. Marty yells and curses at her and threatens to call the police. Alexandria reminds him that she didn't do anything illegal and merely arrived at a home where she was invited. Then, she promptly leaves.

Marty attempts to fire Alexandria but she lets him know that she recorded their conversation at his house. Marty gives Alexandria three months of severance pay and health insurance coverage in exchange for her leaving the job and signing a confidentiality agreement.

Being an escort isn't as fun as it used to be and starts to feel more like a job. Alexandria can't decide if being an escort is morally wrong or not. The more time she spends with a client, the more they want to know about her. When Alexandria divulges details about her life to the clients, the line between professional and personal gets blurred and it makes her uncomfortable.

Alexandria receives a call from one of George's co-workers telling her that George is in a coma after being in an accident at a demolition site. When Alexandria visits George at the hospital, she meets his oldest son Jonathan. Alexandria is strongly attracted to him.

She asks Jonathan if he will take over George's business while his dad is in the hospital. Jonathan says that his father is in the mafia and he refuses to get involved with his dad's illegal activities. Alexandria tells Jonathan that he didn't seem to have a problem with George using the money from his business to pay for his college education. Jonathan gets really upset and slaps Alexandria. She rushes out of the hospital because she doesn't want Jonathan to see how much he hurt her.

George wakes up from the coma. The next day Jonathan apologizes for treating him so badly over the past few years. George forgives him. When Alexandria stops by to visit, George asks Jonathan to take her out to dinner.

Jonathan follows Alexandria to the elevator. When he refers to her by her escort name "Catherine", she slaps him. She quickly apologizes and enters the elevator.

Jonathan is waiting for her when she exits the elevator on the first floor of the hospital. He kisses her. Jonathan apologizes for being a jerk and Alexandria agrees to go to dinner with him.

Alexandria meets Jonathan at his hotel for their date. When they head outside to go to dinner, he kisses her. Alexandria is excited because Jonathan knows she's an escort but he stills wants to go out with her. She is finally ready to embark on a new relationship nearly a year after getting divorced.
Best part of story, including ending: The pacing and rhythm of the story was choppy. The author tried to disclose so much information about the characters in their dialogue that many of them came across as giving speeches rather than carrying on a conversation like people normally do. There were many instances when the characters and situations didn't feel authentic or didn't make any sense.

Best scene in story: Alexandria talks about how she gradually lost her own identity and felt lonely during the demise of her marriage. Many people go through the same thing when they desperately try to hold on to a marriage that will inevitably end.

Opinion about the main character: Alexandria kept saying that she didn't have any moral problems with being an escort, but she would always change her mind a few minutes later. It was difficult to connect with this character because she was constantly contradicting herself. When the author doesn't give the reader a true sense of who the main character is, it makes it harder to become invested in that character and her story.

The review of this Book prepared by Pamela Parker a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Moral Line

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Life of a profession:    -   prostitute/stripper/porn Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   prostitute Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)

Setting

United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Moral Line

Vanessa Bogenholm Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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