This year I chose this next 24 Books to Christmas book for the February ReadSoulLit Readalong in honor of Black history Month – Unforgivable Love by Sophronia Scott. Wow! This was such an interesting modern retelling of the 18th century French classic novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
Scott did an excellent job by placing this modern day retelling in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance with all black characters. As the original classic is written in epistolary format, Scott chose to write it in prose/novel format. That was not an easy feat but she managed to develop all the characters well and to tell the story while choosing the most import scenes to highlight .
Most of the readers who participated in this readalong loved the messiness between the characters. It made us shake our heads, laugh out loud and gasp. Scott’s astute fashion writing dialogues was that fine line between humor and seriousness at times. The readers who didn’t like the book felt that the characters were being mean just to be mean and that wasn’t interesting to them. This being said it is a retelling so Scott can’t change the story. It just wasn’t for those few readers.
“Heiress Mae Malveaux rules society with an angel’s smile and a heart of stone. She made up her mind long ago that nobody would decide her fate. To have the pleasure she craves, control is paramount, especially control of the men Mae attracts like moths to a flame.
Valiant Jackson always gets what he wants—and he’s wanted Mae for years. The door finally opens for him when Mae strikes a bargain: seduce her virginal young cousin, Cecily, who is engaged to Frank Washington. Frank values her innocence above all else. If successful, Val’s reward will be a night with Mae.
But Val secretly seeks another prize. Elizabeth Townsend is fiercely loyal to her church and her civil rights attorney husband. Certain there is something redeemable in Mr. Jackson. Little does she know that her most unforgivable mistake will be Val’s greatest triumph.” (Unforgivable Love, back cover)
I’m linking below the Unforgivable Love Live discussion for anyone who may have missed it but has read the book. this video is full of spoilers so if you’re concerned about that don’t watch until you’ve read the book. However don’t miss out on this discussion because it was very lively and full of a lot of insight. Moreover, Sophronia Scott joined in on the live where we had the pleasure of discussing the book, talking about creative writing, and Scott working on a black modern version of Jane Eyre. I can’t wait!
Unforgivable Love – Sophronia Scott
Publisher: Harper Collins – William Morrow
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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