The story is really about two main characters who are best friends, Clo and Laura. Clo is a really attractive young woman who works as a call girl for older women. Laura is a doctor who is married to a guy who she shouldn’t be married to. Laura is an ex lesbian, now married to a guy. That is, until she meets a friend of Clo’s and finds her attractive.
Clo finds it difficult to find love because she never falls in love with anyone and she is suffering from a bad history. Then she meets Mrs Hamilton, a client, and cannot stop thinking about the older woman. I don’t want to spoil the story so I won’t say any more on the plot.
The characters are clear and well-defined. There are a number of side characters, parents family members and such that are good side characters and well enough defined that I didn’t get confused.
The Writing Style
If you enjoy British authors you will enjoy this book. It is typical of British writing, a little dryer than American books, a little more understated and leaves more to the imagination. I like both styles, however, for this particular story I liked the less exuberant style because some of the topics that are dealt with are really mind blowing and you need a gentle hand. If you do not like feeling uncomfortable then don’t read this book. It deals with issues like prostitution and some other taboo type subjects with an openness that was difficult to read, yet refreshing. I was fascinated to see how Ashton would deal with some of the story lines to find a solution that was acceptable because I couldn’t think of a solution that I would like and yet she managed to leave me satisfied, even if I was just a little sad.
This is a well written book that makes you think. A good read and a challenging one at that because of the topics, but nicely handled.
There are a couple of story lines that tackle taboo subjects that could make sensitive readers squeamish.
I really enjoyed this book. I found some of it difficult to read because I wasn’t sure how I felt about the subject matter and I felt bad for the characters. But I am glad I read to the end.
Excerpt from After Mrs Hamilton by Clare Ashton
“Please, would you like to sit down?” Mrs Hamilton gestured towards the table and two chairs by the hotel room window. Clo smiled and sat down, crossing her legs to point in Mrs Hamilton’s direction.
“Would you like some Champagne?” Mrs Hamilton offered, adopting her hostess role.
“I’d love some, thank you.”
Mrs Hamilton smiled, listening to the young woman’s voice. She wondered if it was her own accent and soothing natural tone, or one that she had cultivated for her clients.
“Are you celebrating?” asked Clo.
“Yes, I suppose I am,” Mrs Hamilton said, pouring a glass of Champagne for them both. She paused, wondering how much she should give away about herself. She hesitated. “I was offered a new job today.”
It had been a long time since she had last worked. More than ten years and that had not been real work, as she would like to think of it. She had not been serous about competing for the job. It had only been an excuse to come to London, so that she would not feel so foolish, travelling half way around the world to investigate her husband’s mistress. It had turned out to be an attractive prospect though, far better than she deserved having spent so much time away from the business.
The young woman was watching her, a neutral expression on her face inviting Mrs Hamilton to speak as much or as little as she wanted.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve worked. A very long time.” Mrs Hamilton stood the bottle of Champagne on the table and sat next to Clo. “I am actually thinking of taking this role though.”
She turned to the young woman. They were close together. She could perceive the warmth of the other woman’s body, their legs a fraction of an inch apart.
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Bits and Bobs
Clare Ashton Online