Rachel’s Folly: Monica Bruno
Within the minds of many there are fears, hopes and needs. Sometimes many will act foolishly and show a strong lack of good sense of judgment causing them to commit an act that they would normally never do. Rachel Richards spends an evening with the husband of a friend and has too much to drink. Knowing that this man was going to marry her best friend should have deterred her from doing what seemed to come natural to both. Liquor can make you do many things and within this intricately crafted plot titled “Rachel’s Folly,” she is not the only voice we hear nor is she the only one that commits a senseless act. Lies, betrayals, revenge, despair, depression and hate are just some of the issues the author brings to light when two people decide to commit on act and one woman’s life becomes a tangled web that no one can unwind.
Nightmares, dreams, visions of what happened and depression set in as Rachel comes to grips with what she does but can she forgive herself for this indiscretion? But, guilt, fear of being found out and the thought that her best friend was going to marry a man who seemed to have a checkered past but what exactly was he hiding was unknown, Rachel ventures out to tell Elena but does not. With her brother, Ben coming off of a broken relationship with his male partner, and her son Jacob so attached to him, her trust in her brother out wins her telling her friend and the end result will surprise you. The reaction she gets from her brother is not what she expects and the words spoken between them cannot be taken back.
One moment of passion and many lives are changed as Rachel copes with her guilt and what happens next is another voice that relates his feelings and the story continues. Jack Spencer is a man of many faces and when approached by Ben to come clean with his actions he denies them. The mystery surrounds what happens between Ben and Jack, the evil that comes through as you hear his sneers, his voice and his sinister grin as bad things happen but to whom you won’t believe and the end result is shocking.
Author Monica Bruno takes readers inside the minds of both Rachel and Ben as Ben’s boyfriend Paul comes back into his life and he has to decide whether to allow him into his heart again. Monica Bruno’s writing style makes the reader feel as if each character is speaking directly to them as they take you along on their downward rides before the crash landing at the end. Edward Richards, Rachel’s husband has no idea why she is so depressed nor any idea what happened between her and Jack. Drinking too much and then having an affair with another man if the truth is revealed will he forgive her? What about Elena? But, Rachel has a conscience and cannot seem to live with herself unless she repents you might say or confesses to her sins.
Sara Dishner is Rachel’s patient. Rachel is a family therapist. When Sara relates information about her relationship with a man named James and shows Rachel his photo it sets off more than just fire alarms, gongs and loud whistles as another harsh reality comes to light. But, Sara is naïve and has no idea who this married man is that she is having an affair with. A cover so haunting you will see it when you close your eyes as the face is compelling the earring quite memorable and the back cover shows the fate of the second one. A present given to Rachel from Elena and a friendship that would be shattered.
Next, we hear Sara’s voice as she decides to take control of her life but not in the way you’d expect. Revenge is sometimes sweet but closure does not always allow you to free yourself of your burden of guilt. Not wanting her parents to learn about what she has done nor her efforts to take matters into her own hands, she befriends Ben but not before another twist in the plot takes place.
Just how far will someone go to avenge their guilt? Just how overpowering is this guilt that it consumes your every waking hour and might ruin not only your life but your family’s too. How can a brother turn on his sister knowing that she needed his support? Just what guilt does Ben bear as the final outcomes are revealed and the plot takes an unusual turn.
Ben’s dog Homer is precious and plays a special role in this story as he loves little Jacob his nephew. The closeness between them spills over in many scenes and the many different voices that we hear including Ben’s and his ex-partner’s Paul, are quite compelling.
Character flaws, character personalities that change from start to finish, psychological and almost a gas-lighting effect as the fate of so many is made to look as if it never happened and the truth behind the events imagined. The author ties all three characters together but not in the way you think. Rachel and Sara having an affair. Each one dealing with it in a different way. One seeking absolution and forgiveness within herself first and the other seeking revenge. While Ben faces his own demons, past and has to decide whether to allow Paul to remain in his home, his heart is just start afresh.
Creating your own portrait of how you want you life to be pictured sometimes requires refinishing before the canvas is completed. Three faces: Rachel, Ben and Sara each one taking one third of the canvas and each one with their own story told in a special narrative created by this talented author. When the canvas is completed and Rachel’s third is filled in we see Edward her husband, Jacob her son, Rachel and a dark shadow that seems to have overtaken her face. With Ben we see Homer, his dog, his apartment and his writing. Finally, Sara her face, her anger, her job as a vet’s assistant and a dark shadow that overtakes her face as her persona becomes quite apparent. Anger, revenge, guilt, fear and hate can be seen in her face almost like what happened to the portrait of Dorian Gray before his end. Jack might take up another quadrant if the portrait is divided in four. Within his quadrant you would see the computer salesman, his smooth smile, his perfect attire, Elena, their wedding, both Rachel and Sara on opposite sides. But, hanging over his head a dark ring filled deceit, lies, hate and manipulation.
When the final pieces of the portrait are in place and the picture is hung up just whose face defines the word Folly and is responsible for what lies beneath the pages of this intense, well written and frightening true to life novel? How far would anyone go to have one quick fling? Would you be able to handle it? Would you wonder if you might be found out? Read Rachel’s story, then Ben’s and finally Sara’s. You decide! If anyone thinking of having an affair you might think more than must twice about doing it after reading this novel. For teens that get mixed up with older men or married men, this will convince you to rethink your options and use your common sense.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer