Unforgivable Love
In this vivid re-imagining of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it’s the summer when Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and a sweltering stretch has Harlem’s elite fleeing the city for Westchester County’s breezier climes. But there two predators stalking amidst the manicured gardens and fine old homes.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 Details

TitleUnforgivable Love
Author
ReleaseSep 26th, 2017
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN-139780062655653
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Retellings, Romance, Adult

Unforgivable Love Review

  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I felt so lucky to receive this novel as a Goodreads Giveaway. What a sexy, compelling, powerful, deeply absorbing read. I love Sophronia Scott's writing. Everything: time, place, characters, was so vivid to me because of her gifted storytelling, a winning combination of precision and lyricism. I won't summarize the plot of the book here as other reviewers already have. You don't need to have read Dangerous Liaisons to love this novel. I had, but that fell to the background as I read. Suffice it I felt so lucky to receive this novel as a Goodreads Giveaway. What a sexy, compelling, powerful, deeply absorbing read. I love Sophronia Scott's writing. Everything: time, place, characters, was so vivid to me because of her gifted storytelling, a winning combination of precision and lyricism. I won't summarize the plot of the book here as other reviewers already have. You don't need to have read Dangerous Liaisons to love this novel. I had, but that fell to the background as I read. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this novel and look forward to reading all of Scott's future books of which I hope there will be many.
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  • Breena
    January 1, 1970
    "Unforgivable Love" by Sophfronia Scott, a retelling of the classic, "Dangerous Liaisons," is a sexy summer's intrigue in the world of fashionable members of African-American high society in Jazz Age Harlem, New York. Scott's novel is a panoramic exploration of universal themes of love, sex, and social intrigue. "Unforgivable Love" offers a delightful opportunity to spend time in Harlem discovering this exciting, historical time and place.
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  • Erica Sullivan
    January 1, 1970
    Sophfronia Scott has created a truly inspiring retelling of the 18th century novel -Dangerous Liaisons. Never sacrificing the heart of the story, Sophfronia has brilliantly unraveled the deeply woven and intricate relationships between the main characters set in 1940’s Harlem. She has seamlessly elevated the complexities of the human condition through thoughtful study of the main characters and their own personal journey of disparity, deceit, corruption, cynicism, love, hope and ultimately per Sophfronia Scott has created a truly inspiring retelling of the 18th century novel -Dangerous Liaisons. Never sacrificing the heart of the story, Sophfronia has brilliantly unraveled the deeply woven and intricate relationships between the main characters set in 1940’s Harlem. She has seamlessly elevated the complexities of the human condition through thoughtful study of the main characters and their own personal journey of disparity, deceit, corruption, cynicism, love, hope and ultimately personal redemption. Unforgivable Love is a page turner that does not disappoint!!
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  • Erika Dreifus
    January 1, 1970
    Delighted to have received an advance copy; stay tuned for a Q&A with the author this fall in THE PRACTICING WRITER.
  • Linda Neff
    January 1, 1970
    I'm still pinching myself having had the good fortune of reading an advance copy of Sophfronia Scott's brilliant new book. Her exquisite masterpiece, set primarily in 1940s Harlem, and based on a French classic, is immediately involving. Sophfronia’s dynamic characters play through and around the edges of important life themes of love, vulnerability, greed, class, risk, trauma, spirituality, forgiveness and racism. These themes are ultimately lessons applicable to our current time and world. Rea I'm still pinching myself having had the good fortune of reading an advance copy of Sophfronia Scott's brilliant new book. Her exquisite masterpiece, set primarily in 1940s Harlem, and based on a French classic, is immediately involving. Sophfronia’s dynamic characters play through and around the edges of important life themes of love, vulnerability, greed, class, risk, trauma, spirituality, forgiveness and racism. These themes are ultimately lessons applicable to our current time and world. Reading Unforgivable Love was like listening to the most beautifully scored symphony - so much depth, spirit and soul. This novel is pure balm for a reader’s soul.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    A sexy, suspenseful, and lyrical retelling of Dangerous Liaisons, set in late 1940s Harlem - Sophfronia Scott is a gifted novelist with the heart of a poet. I read this novel in galleys and was immediately captivated - can't wait for it to meet other readers in the fall of 2017 when it will be published.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    Author Sophfronia Scott is by her own admission obsessed with all versions (books and movies) of Les Liasions Dangereuses. When her friend screenwriter Jenny Lumet said that there should be a version of the story with an African American cast, Scott got to work.Unforgiveable Love- A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons is set in Harlem during the summer of 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first black Major League baseball player, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.Mae Malveaux is a wealthy heiress Author Sophfronia Scott is by her own admission obsessed with all versions (books and movies) of Les Liasions Dangereuses. When her friend screenwriter Jenny Lumet said that there should be a version of the story with an African American cast, Scott got to work.Unforgiveable Love- A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons is set in Harlem during the summer of 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first black Major League baseball player, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.Mae Malveaux is a wealthy heiress, her mother having made her money inventing a hair gel and using young Mae's picture on the packaging. When her best friend is torn from her, forced to marry in older man and move to Detroit, it is an event that changes Mae forever.She doens't believe in love, she uses men's affections and throws them away when she is done with them. Valiant Jackson is a man who has a shadier reputation in Harlem- he is always seen in the clubs with a different beautiful woman every night, but Mae is the one woman he desires. He is obsessed with baseball, and follows Jackie Robinson's career rise.When Mae finds an opportunity to gain revenge on a man who left her, she strikes a bargain with Val- if he beds Cecily, the virginal young woman (and Mae's cousin) who is to be engaged to the man, Mae will finally sleep with Val.Much of the story takes place at Val's aunt's summer retreat in upstate New York. When Val arrives to begin his mission, he finds his aunt hosting Elizabeth, the lovely wife of a civil rights lawyer currently working down south.Val decides to while away the time waiting for Cecily by playing a cat-and-mouse game with the honorable Elizabeth. He schemes to get her to into bed, but when he develops real feelings for her, and she for him, it shakes his world.Even if you are familiar with the story of Dangerous Liaisons, Unforgiveable Love will still surprise you. Scott brings her characters to life, and 1947 Harlem is a terrific setting for this retelling. I also liked the role that baseball played in this story- Val teaching Elizabeth how to play the game is a unique and interesting plotline.The denouement of the story is set in a church, which is an integral part of the Harlem community. It is a heartbreaking novel, one that had me gasping at times, but ultimately there is some redemption for some of the characters. I also liked how the author shows us that women can own their sexuality, but with that also comes a responsibility to themselves and others.If you are a fan of Dangerous Liaisons, you'll want to put Unforgiveable Love on your TBR list. I recommend it. It would make a terrific movie or play, and I found myself casting the roles in my head.
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  • Gianna
    January 1, 1970
    ******Full Review over at G. Jacks Writes.******Unforgivable Love is a retelling of the classic Les Liaisons Dangerous, but I'm not familiar with the original story. What I do know is that this book is filled with this laid-back, passionate and vibrant imagery elegance from start to finish. The love and details of music associated with Harlem and the rippling complexity of each of the characters draw a number of favorable points for this book.Besides being set in one of my favorite eras, I found ******Full Review over at G. Jacks Writes.******Unforgivable Love is a retelling of the classic Les Liaisons Dangerous, but I'm not familiar with the original story. What I do know is that this book is filled with this laid-back, passionate and vibrant imagery elegance from start to finish. The love and details of music associated with Harlem and the rippling complexity of each of the characters draw a number of favorable points for this book.Besides being set in one of my favorite eras, I found that the cockiness of the main characters was something that really kept me hooked almost right away because their confidence and self-assurance was not only entertaining but intriguing; almost daringly pulling the reader into their games with them. Likewise, the characters brought an infectious intensity, twists and at times bits of humor in the narrative. Like others will, I'm sure, I really loved the well laid out social intrigue between Mae and her inner circle.Like I said, I'm not familiar with Les Liaisons Dangerous, but I have seen Cruel Intentions (the film adaptation of the classic) and Unforgivable Love has it beat in my opinion. Scott has taken a fairly well-known story and just made it her own.Moreover, I don't think anyone should go without mentioning Scott's skill at retelling such a classic from the uniquely diverse perspective of African-Americans during the 1940s in Harlem. So little is often re-told with such an abundance of creativity and freshness with classics like this and little is known or can even be imagined of African-Americans with money and class during such an iconic era. Which only made me fall in love with this book even more.The world built and the characters in Unforgivable Love will hook any reader who enjoys a rich, visual narrative, 1940s Harlem, and Jazz on the cusp of the Civil Rights movement. With imperfect characters that you will find yourself loving to hate, hate to love, lost loves, the desire for love, revenge and so much more.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    The characters, twists, and turns of DANGEROUS LIAISONS are as compelling as ever in this retelling, set in 1940s Harlem. Whereas the original -- and the Glenn Close/John Malkovich movie many of us know -- seems to revel in the callousness of its main characters, Scott takes a much more redemptive view; it is in that gentler telling that we get to know our characters, and their motivations, even better. Scott does a phenomenal job of describing the feel of each location in the story, leading to The characters, twists, and turns of DANGEROUS LIAISONS are as compelling as ever in this retelling, set in 1940s Harlem. Whereas the original -- and the Glenn Close/John Malkovich movie many of us know -- seems to revel in the callousness of its main characters, Scott takes a much more redemptive view; it is in that gentler telling that we get to know our characters, and their motivations, even better. Scott does a phenomenal job of describing the feel of each location in the story, leading to an immersive read perfect for the beach or travel. I loved seeing how Scott made the story her own, while keeping true to the lies and deceit that makes the story what it is.
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  • Haley
    January 1, 1970
    DNF
  • Amy Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. A modern retelling of Dangerous Liasons this was a fun read. Full of intrigue and betrayal in 1940's Harlem this sexy story will keep you interested from start to finish!
  • Melanie Page
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally published at Grab the Lapels. Please click the link to see covers of the original French work!I would like to thank Sophfronia Scott for sending me a copy of her latest novel, Unforgivable Love, published by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins. The expected publishing date is September 26, 2017.At 509 pages, Unforgivable Love is a long novel full of tangles of relationships among several characters. The chapters are told from different points of view, all in 3 This review was originally published at Grab the Lapels. Please click the link to see covers of the original French work!I would like to thank Sophfronia Scott for sending me a copy of her latest novel, Unforgivable Love, published by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins. The expected publishing date is September 26, 2017.At 509 pages, Unforgivable Love is a long novel full of tangles of relationships among several characters. The chapters are told from different points of view, all in 3rd-person past tense. I was very excited to read this book; it’s a re-telling of a famous novel, but now with an all-black cast set in Harlem.As you can perhaps tell from the synopsis, Unforgivable Love is a big book of plots and schemes and sex. The characters aren’t what you’ve maybe read about the black community in Harlem in the 1940s because these are wealthy people. They don’t have to work; they mainly try to demonstrate who has the most power. Knowing that, I still had difficulty accepting the characters’ motivations.In the first few pages, we find a teen-aged Mae with her best friend, Alice. Quickly we learn the girls are sexually attracted to each other, but because Alice has unprotected sexual relationships with men, she’s pregnant, which causes her mother to marry her off. This moment impacts Mae forever, increasing her resolve to never be under someone else’s control — including men.Later, in her early 30s, Mae acknowledges she does want to be loved, despite her cold, calculating personality. But it’s all the work her mother did to make her a “respectable” heiress — trips to Europe, making sure Mae is beautiful, looking for the right kind of man to marry Mae — that has kept Mae safe from real love. Now, this moment is 32 pages into a 509-page book. Thus, readers need Mae thinking about her motivations throughout the book. She narrates her own chapters, so the opportunity is there. Without this thread of complex emotions running throughout the book, it’s easy for Mae to fall into a stereotype of villain.Val was the most confusing character. He swings from emotional to cold, loving Elizabeth and/or Mae. I never knew which way he was going to go, but I knew the 3rd-person narrator wanted me to dislike him. He ruins women’s lives to “amuse” himself. He makes “subtle calculations” and “measured out time carefully.” He’s like a snake when he lets a woman “marinate in her escape, or what she thought was her escape.” Yet he’s happy that “there were always a few bribable people who had access to her.” I was uncomfortable with a character who both stalks and loves the same woman, but more importantly, I didn’t understand his feelings.While I didn’t understand the characters, Sophfronia Scott’s writing was so spot on that in places it warmed me. Young Cecily, who spent a year with her great-aunt and uncle in North Carolina to keep her out of the city and “respectable,” learns to plant and sow, bake and feed, feel the rhythms of nature and her body. Thus, when she’s sexually excited, it’s so fitting that:When she reached the pinnacle of this exquisite ache she felt herself burst open like a bag of sugar…Most of these shining moments come from Cecily’s chapters. After a time in North Carolina, Cecily compares her new location to her home in Harlem. In the city:. . . there seemed to be fewer ways to mark time here, aside from a clock and a calendar. . . . The flowers couldn’t tell her the season because the ones she saw were often forced to bloom out of time. . . The people here were always insisting on their own time — time for drinks, time for church, time for dinner, time to dance, time to play bridge.And Harlem did seem like a rather odd setting for Unforgivable Love. Characters spend the most time in the country at Val’s wealthy aunt’s house. Based on everything I know about Harlem, I wanted to read more about what it was like to come off the back of the Harlem Renaissance, which ended in the mid-1930s. In the 1940s, there were riots and black politicians elected. At one point, Elizabeth has a debate with Val about the book The Street by Ann Petry, published in 1946. It’s contemporary, set in post-WWII Harlem. Elizabeth makes connections to the book, but Val says there are none because the main character doesn’t represent their Harlem lives. And I agreed. Even the one club the characters in Harlem visit is cut off from the rest of the city’s culture and people. I wanted more signs that I was in Harlem through characters reflecting on why Harlem is unique. Otherwise, any city would do.Unforgivable Love is a reimagining that slowly burns until closes with a bang. There are tangles that remain knotted because it’s unclear how they were tangled in the first place, and the goal to have revenge through manipulated sexual relationships was exhausting to this reader. I gather it makes a difference if you have read the 1782 French classic epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos first.
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  • Nicole Evelina
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to come.
  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Ms. Scott's novel is faithful to Dangerous Liasons, but it is so much more than that. At first I thought it was going to be an everyday historical "bodice ripper", but the author's characters are so fully realized and the setting so engaging and real that I was quickly swept up in the narrative.And what a story! Involving the machinations of the wealthy black upper class in 1940's Harlem at the very beginnings of the struggle for civil rights. Friendship, love, lust, deceit in an historical era Ms. Scott's novel is faithful to Dangerous Liasons, but it is so much more than that. At first I thought it was going to be an everyday historical "bodice ripper", but the author's characters are so fully realized and the setting so engaging and real that I was quickly swept up in the narrative.And what a story! Involving the machinations of the wealthy black upper class in 1940's Harlem at the very beginnings of the struggle for civil rights. Friendship, love, lust, deceit in an historical era and a backdrop that has seldom, if ever, been written about. Beautifully written with startling twists and turns in the narrative. If you are looking for historical fiction that is absorbing and different, this is the book for you! Thank you Byrd's Books in Bethel, CT for this advance reader's copy
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