Nov 10, 2015, 06:59AM

Book Review: The Scarlet Letter Scandal

There has to be more to this life.

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Sshhh. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of our most primitive human pleasure coming from behind the door of one suburban house. It may soon be the sound you hear coming from the home of your next door neighbor while she’s reading The Scarlet Letter Scandal.

The sequel to Mary McCarthy’s The Scarlet Letter Society is a female-centric character driven novel where the women indulge their every sexual whim, but it’s about so much more. From the opening line of The Scarlet Letter Scandal, we know the women of Keytown aren’t going to settle for the same old. While they may wear fabulous vintage clothing on occasion, these strong, intelligent and beautiful women demand more out of life than the old in-out in-out.

Reading the sequel is like getting together for drinks with girlfriends you haven’t seen in a while and getting all the juicy gossip. Maggie, Eva and Lisa, founders of The Scarlet Letter Society aren’t the only ones in town with secrets. Kellie, Rachel, and Jeannie and the rest of the characters who populate this novel are all hiding something—chicanery, infidelity, fetishes and fantasies. These are people who are struggling with that feeling we all have—there has to be more to this life.

Kellie’s found a way to give back to the community, while Jeannie is only worried about curb appeal, to the detriment of her marriage. When Eva, Lisa and Maggie’s Scarlet Letter Society meetings at the Zoomdweebies coffee shop are exposed by a blogger, they become subject to judgment by the less open-minded in town. This isn’t going to destroy them.

Have you ever read one of those vintage pulp novels written by and for men chock full of salacious, but sexist language? McCarthy takes that kind of lust for life writing and adds feminine sparkle, wit and intelligence to craft the kind of book that you can’t put down. There are some interesting developments in Keytown that I don’t want to give away, but let’s say that someone is going to die, someone is going to fall crazily, madly in lust and love with a sexy mystery man and someone is going to be exposed as a rat. There is backstabbing, cheating, gossip galore and plenty of sexual tension. Bitchy Maggie may refer to Jeannie Appleton as “A Cuntasaurus Rex,”, but let’s face it, she is.

I judge a book like this by how it makes me feel between the ears, between the legs and in the emotional center we call the heart. All those things are connected, and you need all those to have an orgasmic read, or a super orgasm. The Scarlet Letter Scandal checks all the boxes.

The sexy time at the Rocks Private Fitness Club is safe, but this book is anything but. I guarantee wet panties and tears of laughter. This is the kind of book you read in bed, or in the bath with a glass of wine. It’s the kind of book you read when you aren’t getting any, or you want to spark up your love life with your partner. 

-The Scarlet Letter Scandal (Polis Books, 2015) was published today and is the second novel of Splice Today Senior Editor Mary T. McCarthy.


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