Seraphina Nova Glass
Paperback (also available as an audio book), 978-1525896019, 336 pgs., $17.99
August 10, 2021
“I feel the weight of my sin pressing down on me, and I feel I might collapse under it.”
It takes but a moment to betray your marital vows, but maintaining the lie and soft-shoeing around the consequences never seems to end, even if the truth finally emerges. Melanie Hale is happily married with two children, but after a chance encounter with romance author Luke Ellison at a bookstore, she finds herself completely flattered by his flirtatious charm and sexual invitation. Once the die is cast, Mel finds she is not strong enough to end her affair, choosing instead to potentially jeopardize her relationship with her family. Adultery is nothing new, but what if the man you are sleeping with ends up dead under mysterious circumstances? What if the net is closing around you as a murder suspect, but your only guilt is lust and betrayal? Mel’s life is swirling out of control, with no possible way out that will leave her family intact.
“How quickly someone’s life can change so completely.”
Such a Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass goes beyond the basic story about a housewife and mother cheating on her husband. When Mel begins sleeping with Luke, she quickly becomes mired in a web of lies that ultimately reveals a stratification of localized deception running deep and untouchable in a small town near New Orleans, Louisiana.
Seraphina Nova Glass quickly lures the reader into Mel’s challenging yet fairly easy life as a wife, mother to a teenaged daughter and an autistic son, and caregiver to her mother-in-law. While the plot escalates at a steady pace, the author never lets the reader rest in the prosaic details of Mel’s life but instead keeps the reader interested and vested in the overall story. How will Mel become untangled from this web of shame? The case of a cheating wife quickly detours into a murder mystery and a concerted plot to expose the truth. Mel can never erase her adultery, but she refuses to be accused of murder. The author adroitly places Mel on the defensive, twisting the standard plot of infidelity into a tightly woven story about guilt, redemption, and revenge. In Such a Good Wife, Mel devises an intricate scheme to trap an antagonistic bully and threaten him with exposure as both a sexual predator and Luke’s murderer, but she will need plenty of courage and ingenuity to get the job done, along with some humility and repentance mixed in.
With only a few chapters to go, the story ostensibly wrapped up tight, and the mystery almost solved, the author tosses in a wrench that pushes both Mel and the reader off kilter. This twist is brilliantly unexpected and thrusts the story toward an ending of extreme vengeance. While some strong language and brief sexual descriptions are naturally present, they are not gratuitous and definitely add a bit of spice and drama to an already engaging story.
Such a Good Wife is an entertaining cautionary tale that will appeal to readers who love mystery, romance, drama, and revenge encased in a single novel. The plot is anything but predictable because the author expertly keeps an ace up her sleeve and shows her hand at just the right moment, giving the reader a satisfying jolt of surprise and transforming Mel from a self-contrived victim into a determined heroine. Never underestimate a woman’s willingness to do almost anything to protect her family, even if she is the one responsible for potentially destroying it in the first place.
Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and playwright-in-residence at the University of Texas, Arlington, where she teaches film studies and playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and she's also a screenwriter and award-winning playwright. Seraphina has traveled the world using theatre and film as a teaching tool, living in South Africa, Guam and Kenya as a volunteer teacher, AIDS relief worker, and documentary filmmaker.