Lust, deception, betrayal, and their inevitable outcomes weave a web nearly impossible to escape in Nesly Clerge’s latest novel. Chelsea Hall is certain her husband is cheating. Again. How far will a wife go when her adulterous husband pushes her to the edge? Some stop at the cliff’s edge. Others leap into the abyss. Garrett Hall wants what and who he wants. His detachment from their relationship leads Chelsea to seek what she needs elsewhere, and onto a path that leads to bliss. What begins as a dream-come-true soon becomes a nightmare when the line between who is innocent and who is guilty soon blurs. Until the horrifying truth becomes clear. And, the question becomes, Who will survive?
I was lucky enough to be contacted by Shayla Eaton of Curiouser editing to review The Anatomy of Cheating. And I, of course, happily accepted. I haven’t read many thrillers, so this was a nice change from my typical reads.
“Writing is like oxygen for me. I thought you understood that. I love exploring the human psyche. How people think. How they act and react, and why.”
Yeah, so one of the main characters—Luke—was a writer and I could relate to him on so many levels. (He also had a friend with the last name Cage, so I was basically just picturing Luke Cage this entire novel.) He had this genuine passion for writing, but his wife didn’t understand or appreciate it. But then our other main character—Chelsea—comes along.
She is a fan of Luke’s work and praises him for it via Goodreads. (I also loved how Goodreads was such a significant part of this novel.) They soon begin to talk and eventually start meeting up and discussing life and books and humans and all things fascinating.
Now, I think most writers can agree with me when I say, someone who supports your work and your passion is like the most attractive thing ever. Being a writer is something that can often be belittled and frowned upon, so when you find someone who truly cares about your passion, HANG ONTO THEM.
Okay, but don’t have an affair like Luke and Chelsea did.
It may be only two people in bed, but everyone they know gets trapped in that web. All are ensnared in some measure. The closed the others are to the web’s center, the more certain they are to be consumed in the outcome.
And this, is exactly what happened. Chelsea and Luke weren’t the only ones cheating. The novel actually begins with Chelsea’s husband, Garrett, has cheated on her in the past, and though he swears he has never cheated since, HE IS INDEED CHEATING.
All of these characters were equally flawed and messy, but when it comes to Garrett, I find him despicable. I believe to cheating to be an unforgivable act, but then with the addition of physical and verbal abuse, and an attempt at rape? He’s nothing more than a monster.
This is where I started to have a slight issue with The Anatomy of Cheating. I felt as though as this novel developed and after these horrible acts, Clerge seemed to be attempting to redeem Garrett by having Chelsea reconsider her own decisions, wondering if this whole thing was really her fault.
I understand that many victims think this, but I believe it was a bit toxic that by the end of the novel, Clerge didn’t proclaim: THIS WAS WRONG AND UNFORGIVABLE. I don’t care how drunk or angry Garrett was, because what he did was disgusting.
However, I don’t think it was Clerge’s intention for it to be read like this. I believe he wanted his reader’s to realize everyone—event the most unsuspecting people—are capable of awful things. And I do agree with him in that prospect, but I think he should have handled Garrett’s character a little differently.
“Words inspire. They evoke feelings and provoke thought. The right words can give people vicarious experiences they’d never want to have in real life. Or make them laugh, or give them strength to make it another day.”
That incident aside, The Anatomy of Cheating proved to be a very entertaining read. There was loads of drama and twists and turns. But I must admit, there was a point where it felt a little too much. Still, overall, I enjoyed delving into this thrilling tale and seeing how the characters developed. They continued to surprise me, even when I thought I truly knew who they were.
The Anatomy of Cheating will keep you poised on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next.
Happy June, my lovelies! I hope you enjoyed this quick little review. As always, I’d love to hear any of your thoughts, comments, or recommendations. I’m looking to jump out of my comfort zone and read more thrillers and mysteries and things of the like, so if you have suggestions, let me know!
And yes, I know that a new month means a wrap-up. But don’t worry (even though I’m pretty sure none of you care, nor are you worried), my May wrap-up is coming up next!