In Fidelity

An ENE Review of the novel
In Fidelity by MJ Rose


Reviewed by JZ Sharpe

I once asked a friend, a lifelong resident of New York City, if he ever felt paranoid, or if the chaos of living in one of the greatest cities on the planet was just something that one got used to. He replied, "Paranoia is just a heightened state of consciousness." For the characters in M.J. Rose's second novel, In Fidelity, who are also residents of the Big Apple, I believe this would be true.
The story centers around Jordan Sloan, a woman with the weight of her entire universe on her shoulders. She's a psychologist with a successful practice, the mother of a daughter who's on the threshold of adulthood, and the estranged wife of photographer Robert Falconer. They separated after Jordan caught another woman performing oral sex on Robert in his darkroom, and for five years since, she has staunchly refused to forgive him. She does, however, live in the same house with him, occupying separate floors, for the sake of a "normal life" for her daughter Lilly. As you might imagine, the biggest lobbyist for a reconciliation is Lilly, who never gives up hope.
But the greatest weight on Jordan's heart is the murder of her father, when she was almost the same age her daughter is now. Jordan not only witnessed the crime, but tried - unsuccessfully - to keep her father alive until the police arrived. Plus, the perpetrator was a former suitor who had been recently fired by her father. The book opens just as the murderer, Dan Mallory, has been paroled after twenty years in prison. Although Jordan barely remembers what he looked like, she starts to see him behind every tree and in every crowd. Is her paranoia justified, or has Mallory truly changed?
Everyone in this novel deals with personal change - not only Jordan, who must come to terms with her marriage and her past, but her whole family. A complex plot kept me glued to almost every page (it lagged ever so slightly about two-thirds of the way through, but that turned out to be the calm before a stormy conclusion). Most interesting to me was the first person point of view - although readers tend to trust a narrator who tells his/her own story, they'll probably find themselves (as I did) tempted to take Jordan Sloan out back and shake some sense into her. Others point out to her how she preaches change to her patients, yet cannot embrace that same change for herself. She's a stubborn one, that Jordan, but even the most headstrong among us can learn and change.
M.J. Rose's first novel, Lip Service, was a howling success, another page-turner with complexities aplenty. There are fewer twists and turns in her second novel's plot, but that's just fine with me. Ms. Rose shows no fear of displaying her characters entirely, and although this is not a novel of erotica, it has many erotic scenes that are perfectly in character for all involved. The characters themselves were all fascinating, realistic, and kept me spellbound to the last page. If, like me, it's been a long time since you've treated yourself to a good psychological suspense, then grab In Fidelity right away - and don't pick up the phone until you reach the end.
In Fidelity cover


IN FIDELITY by MJ Rose is available for purchase through Amazon.Com

Hot on the trail of her much talked-about debut, Lip Service, M.J. Rose once again explores the dark corners of the human psyche in a riveting and erotic tale of love, lust...and betrayal.

Although everyone thinks she's being paranoid, psychotherapist Jordan Sloan knows better. Haunted by the long-ago murder of her father, she learns that his killer has been paroled and she instantly fears his revenge. Only she knows the dark secret of her relationship with Mallory -- and the depth of her deception in providing the testimony that put him away. She sees him in shadows, in mirrors, in photographs her teenage daughter takes in the park....

Still suffering the bruises of her husband's betrayal, Jordan grapples with ambiguous emotions even as she is drawn again to her estranged spouse. Clinging desperately to the hard-earned stability of her life, she maneuvers through the meshwork of love's fragile bonds, layers of longing, and the chaos that is human relationships. All the while, a mysterious new patient seems intent on contributing to Jordan's unraveling. For as she struggles to prove that her fear of Mallory is justified, she also wrestles with how it might feel to finally forgive Robert's infidelity.

M.J. Rose has crafted a rare and evocative new novel of spellbinding energy, as a woman come to terms with her own life -- assuming she will continue to enjoy the luxury of living it. Read an excerpt from Infidelity.

For the past five years, JZ Sharpe has been making up for the time she lost in a 20-year writer's block. She lives in the Pennsylvania mountains, where most of her friends and coworkers would be shocked and amazed by her secret life as a writer of erotica and science fiction. JZ Sharpe is a regular contributor to ENE. You can also find her work at About's Amateur Erotica, Adult Story Corner, Biblio Eroticus, Blood Moon Zine , Dare , Erotica Readers Association, HotErotica.Com and Scarlet Letters . Get lashed by the Sharpe Tongue.

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