The author of USA Today bestselling chick-lit novel For Better, For Worse, Carole Matthews has successfully crossed the barrier between British and American fiction with her cute books about single women and their search for love and happiness. In Matthewsí newest novel, A Minor Indiscretion, she leaves the singletons behind to take a look at married-with-children life.
Ali Kingston is a married mother of three who works in London as an assistant to an interior designer. One day, feeling a little bored with her life, she takes an early lunch break at a coffee shop and notices a young man drawing her portrait. After talking with the young artist named Christian and receiving the portrait for free, she goes home to her life, thinking she will forget the encounter. However, she canít seem to get her mind off Christian and finds herself looking for him later in the week. Christian persuades her to spend the day with him and Ali comes home to find that her son has injured himself at school and that her husband, Ed, wants to know where sheís been all day. When Ali admits that sheís spent the day with another man, Ed kicks her out of the house and Ali finds comfort in her young artistís arms.
As their marriage crumbles, Ali falls deeper in love with Christian as Ed tries his hand with a few single women who canít seem to get enough of him. Thrown into the mix (and often left out in the cold) are the coupleís children: 15-year-old Tanya, 12-year-old Thomas and 4-year-old Elliott. Can the estranged couple find a way to stay parents to their young children? Can Christian mature enough to accept and parent Aliís kids? Will Ed and Ali ever decide what they need to make them happy? These questions, while interesting, would be even more so if the characters were more likeable. Unfortunately, Ali comes off as selfish and self-indulgent, Ed as obsessed with his past career successes, and Christian as just a nightmare of a spoiled, careless brat. Add in Aliís flighty sister and Edís immature brother and youíve got a whole cast of characters whom the reader will have a tough time relating to or developing any feelings for.
Along with the less-than-stellar cast of characters, the book is also plagued with some unbelievable dialogue (what four-year-old can speak in full, coherent sentences about some very adult subjects?), irritating plot twists and an ending that seems tacked on. However, Matthews still has the ability to charm and, if you donít look too deeply into the book, itís a breezy (if a bit annoying) read. If you havenít tried any of Matthewsí books, read For Better, For Worse first, then move onto A Minor Indiscretion if you need a second dose.