In Parker’s debut novel, a woman chooses an unconventional vocation—helping women secure indisputable proof of their husbands’ adultery.
Bree, a 28-year-old New Yorker, is thrilled to visit her best friend, Chloe, in Nova Scotia, Canada. Although they’ve stayed in contact, they haven’t seen each other in person since they were 13. But Chloe’s despair spoils their happy reunion; her marriage to kindhearted Brody is in trouble, as he wants children and she doesn’t. Shockingly, Bree later learns that Chloe may be cheating on her husband, and Chloe drunkenly asks her to seduce Brody, in order to provide grounds for a divorce. Bree doesn’t do so, and she ultimately works out a plan that benefits Brody, whom she believes is a good man. Later, however, she gets a call from a woman named Samantha, who got Bree’s number from Chloe. Samantha asks whether Bree would be willing to seduce her husband—but not sleep with him—in order to prove that he would stray, if given the opportunity. Bree has been feeling guilty over her own affair with a married man named Adam, three years ago, and she sees the offer as an opportunity to give wives an incentive to end painful marriages. And with the money Samantha is paying—$25,000—there’s a good chance that Bree could turn this situation into a sustainable career. Although Bree only has a couple of paying gigs over the course of the novel, Parker deftly reveals the unexpected fallout of her main character’s activities. For example, one man turns dangerously aggressive, and at another point, her growing feelings for someone distract her from her mission. The author treats the topic of infidelity seriously throughout, but she does allow for moments of humor. One of the best sequences in the book involves Bree’s stay at a lamentable Nevada motel, where she deals with cold temperatures and a blaring TV. This novel is the start of a planned series, and, as such, it ends on an effective cliffhanger.
A diverting tale featuring a protagonist with an atypical job.