With Niobia Bryant’s latest novel, Message from a Mistress, she finds a way to tell a story I’ve never heard, instantly captivating the reader to want more.
The story follows the lives of three female friends who have all received a message from another friend in their circle telling them that she is sleeping with one of their husbands. Not only is she sleeping with him but after he comes from a fishing trip that afternoon, he won’t be returning home to her, he’ll be moving away with this mistress to start a new life. Unable to contact their husbands because they are all at sea, the women are going insane dealing with the possibility that their lives might never be the same again.
Niobia must be commended for her character development. I’ve read novels from her in the past as well as many novels from other great writers, but I don’t think I ever felt so close to a cast of characters the way I was with the women in this book. Each person had interesting stories that helped the ready get through the book and keep the reader excited about what would happen next.
There are a few problems with the book though. All the events take place in just one day, and that makes some of the events a bit hard to believe. The amount of stress and drama these women go through in just a few hours makes it an exciting read, but for a book like this it might’ve been a bit more realistic if the men had gone away on a weekend trip, instead of a day-long fishing trip.
The biggest issue is the amount of flashbacks in this book. Understandably once the author choose this story line she had to insert flashbacks to provide explanations for the behavior of these women, but there is a line where you’ve reached one flashback too many. That line was reached about halfway through Message. Again maybe if the events of the book took place over a couple of days it might be easier to handle, but in just so many hours, how many flashbacks can one character actually have. I almost had to force myself not to just turn to the last chapter and figure out who the culprit was already.
For most readers the ending will be worth the wait and all will be well. I on the other hand wasn’t too pleased with the ending and that made some of the aforementioned issues sting a bit deeper for me. Nonetheless Message from a Mistress is still a good read and should be read if for the creative concept alone.
Message from a Mistress receives a PAR