In Dye’s debut erotic romance, a middle-age woman risks it all to reconnect to her libido.
Linda Levy, a high school English teacher at an inner-city Philadelphia high school, is fast approaching her 50th birthday, and she finds this hard to accept. Linda’s life is conventional and comfortable; she has a loyal husband, a job she loves, two children in college, and a close friend with whom she plays bridge. Despite all this, she finds herself feeling restless in her life, believing that the age of 50 represents “the stepping-stone to the old-age home.” One evening after bridge club at her friend’s apartment building, Linda walks out to the parking lot and discovers that her car has a flat tire. She returns to the apartment building’s front office for help, where she encounters a titillating surprise: Fred Kunkle, the young night manager, who looks like “Brad Pitt’s handsomer brother.” Much to Linda’s astonishment, he starts flirting with her. She soon learns that’s he’s an independent filmmaker and photographer, and in their next encounter, he invites her to his apartment so that he can take her picture. Soon, what began as a harmless crush escalates into a full-blown affair. Throughout the novel, readers watch as Linda struggles to reconcile the thrill of sex with a younger man with the sweet life that she shares with her loving husband. This tension effectively drives the novel, and Dye keeps the reader in the dark about which life Linda will choose, or which life will choose her, until the very end. Meanwhile, the author also builds suspense around Fred’s identity—a web of lies that unravels as the affair escalates. The narrator’s cutesy sense of humor detracts from the suspense, however. Indeed, Linda’s frequent one-liners make for rushed comic relief during emotionally fraught moments, suggesting that she lacks the ability to fully experience the gravity of her infidelity.
A lusty adventure story that entertains but only skims the surface of its midlife tribulations.