The Margot Affair
The secret daughter of a French politician and a famous actress drops the startling revelation that will shatter her family in this beguiling debut novel of intrigue and betrayal.***Margot Louve is a secret: the child of a longstanding affair between an influential French politician with presidential ambitions and a prominent stage actress. This hidden family exists in stolen moments in a small Parisian apartment on the Left Bank.It is a house of cards that Margot—fueled by a longing to be seen and heard—decides to tumble. The summer of her seventeenth birthday, she meets the man who will set her plan in motion: a well-regarded journalist whose trust seems surprisingly easy to gain. But as Margot is drawn into an adult world she struggles to comprehend, she learns how one impulsive decision can threaten a family’s love with ruin, shattering the lives of those around her in ways she could never have imagined.Exposing the seams between private lives and public faces, The Margot Affair is a novel of deceit, desire, and transgression—and the exhilarating knife-edge upon which the danger of telling the truth outweighs the cost of keeping secrets.

The Margot Affair Details

TitleThe Margot Affair
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 16th, 2020
PublisherHogarth
Rating
GenreFiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller

The Margot Affair Review

  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsMargot Louve is the secret child from an affair of a French politician and and actress. Her father is married and has two boys with his wife and visits Margot and her mother in secret so as not to cause a scandal. Now that Margot is a teenager, she comes to realize that she wants more time with her father other than the little time he can spare from his job and family. She wants a father who is present in the traditional sense. She becomes so fed up with this arrangement and on an emotion 4 starsMargot Louve is the secret child from an affair of a French politician and and actress. Her father is married and has two boys with his wife and visits Margot and her mother in secret so as not to cause a scandal. Now that Margot is a teenager, she comes to realize that she wants more time with her father other than the little time he can spare from his job and family. She wants a father who is present in the traditional sense. She becomes so fed up with this arrangement and on an emotional whim, decides to set wheels in motion to "out" him. The consequences of this decision transitions her into adulthood and the book changes course to reflect this. I flew through this book in a day and was initially disappointed. It started out strong, but then kind of fell into a pattern of waiting. If you feel like giving up (as I did), I urge you to continue into Part 2, where Margot forms a relationship with an older couple that has trouble all over it, but she can't seem to see that so lost in her own despair and (in my opinion), naïveté. There is a lot to unpack in this short debut novel and I think this would make a perfect choice for a book club to discuss. There are a lot of complex relationships that would keep a psychologist busy for days. As I sit here reflecting on this book, I'm increasing my rating from 3.5 to a solid 4. Sanaë Lemoine is definitely an another to watch and she reminded me a bit of Kiley Reid in that the writing was so clever it almost made it too easy to overlook some of the complex themes. The book also made me hungry!! So much delicious food always being cooked or eaten. I wanted to consume about 90 loafs of bread while reading it. Thank you so much to Netgalley, Hogarth (Penguin Random House) and Sanaë Lemoine for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.Review Date: 06/14/2020Publication Date: 06/16/2020
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    DNF 20% I was drawn to The Margot Affair after reading its summary. Sadly, beyond its intriguing premise, this novel has little to offer. Seasoned readers will find passages such as “I had Anouk’s lips. Wide and pale pink. When she wore lipstick, her mouth turned into a red wound, so bright it looked like someone had slashed her face. On an adult face it was striking. On my face it was grotesque. I imagined my mouth swallowing me whole. I knew it was jarring, a sensual and fleshy opening on my n DNF 20% I was drawn to The Margot Affair after reading its summary. Sadly, beyond its intriguing premise, this novel has little to offer. Seasoned readers will find passages such as “I had Anouk’s lips. Wide and pale pink. When she wore lipstick, her mouth turned into a red wound, so bright it looked like someone had slashed her face. On an adult face it was striking. On my face it was grotesque. I imagined my mouth swallowing me whole. I knew it was jarring, a sensual and fleshy opening on my narrow, small head” to be both clichéd and contrived. Then we have “he smothered his piece of bread with butter, filling the air pockets and spreading it to the edges” and “I stacked our bowls and carried them to the counter, filled the sink with hot water, and left the dishes to soak. Particles of food floated to the surface”. These details added little to the narrative as they didn't make a scene more vivid and felt completely unnecessary.Also, the lack of quotation marks seems an attempt at being 'modern'...and I just find it annoying.Hopefully other readers won't find this novel as off-putting as I did. I'm sure there is a right reader for this type of book...it just wasn't me.
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  • Amy Layton
    January 1, 1970
    Is it reasonable to say that this is the modern-day, political Bonjour Tristesse?  Margot only sees her father a few times a year--that is, in person.  The rest of the time, she can watch him on the television as the grand politician that he is.  She is the result of her mother's affair with him years ago, and both her mother and her father are very trusting in each other's ability to keep their relationship from all those years ago secret.  But the more that Margot grows older, the more she wan Is it reasonable to say that this is the modern-day, political Bonjour Tristesse?  Margot only sees her father a few times a year--that is, in person.  The rest of the time, she can watch him on the television as the grand politician that he is.  She is the result of her mother's affair with him years ago, and both her mother and her father are very trusting in each other's ability to keep their relationship from all those years ago secret.  But the more that Margot grows older, the more she wants a father figure in her life.  After all, his other children have that, so why not her?When she meets a reporter at one of her mother's dramatic performances, she toys with the idea of letting the truth be known.  And if the truth was known, then perhaps the problem of her lacking a father would be solved.  But what will her father's wife say?  And how will such a release of information affect his political status?When she anonymously spills the beans, she quickly realizes how her words have meaning and power.  She has affected relationships, inserted her life into a world of gossip and articles, and finds and loses friendships based on her being the illegitimate child of an actress and a politician.  As she comes to terms with her decision to let her genealogy be known, she also must come to terms that she can't always get what she wants.Overall, this was a compelling novel that I adored on the basis that I knew what they were talking about, what with the Bacs and the tabacs cobblestone streets.  It took me back to another time, and made it easy for me to feel transported to another place.  It's well crafted, and makes for quite a good story.  Definitely worth reading, especially if you're a fan of the political and personal.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    "Coming of age" is a strange expression. Is it a process or an event? Does it occur at a certain numerical age or at a certain level of maturity, the product of knowledge and past experience? Margot, the titular protagonist of The Margot Affair is the daughter of a secret dalliance between her mother and a well-known politician with another official family, comes of age during her final year of lycée in Paris. What Margot seems to learn—painfully—is to accept the complexity of adult life. To gro "Coming of age" is a strange expression. Is it a process or an event? Does it occur at a certain numerical age or at a certain level of maturity, the product of knowledge and past experience? Margot, the titular protagonist of The Margot Affair is the daughter of a secret dalliance between her mother and a well-known politician with another official family, comes of age during her final year of lycée in Paris. What Margot seems to learn—painfully—is to accept the complexity of adult life. To grow up, she must understand the foibles of her father and mother and all the other adults that fail her. By doing so, she loses the rosy simplicity of youth to join the dark and realistic hallways of adulthood. The effects of this transition are similar to those mined by Françoise Sagan in Bonjour Tristesse, a novel mentioned in this text as the ur-loss-of-innocence story. In addition to a fresh take on these old themes, The Margot Affair offers an ample dose of psychosexual tension and passages devoted to delicious food. The story also twists in ways you don't expect it to based on the premise, gathering speed particularly after a surprising event occurring at the end of Part I. A charming novel that teeters between complexity and simplicity, The Margot Affair is a quiet but compelling entry into the "coming of age" genre.
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  • Briana
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. That’s all I can say after finishing such a delicate and nuanced novel book early this morning. I have a couple of tears in my eyes which is a good thing, I enjoyed this book so much. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Random House, and Hogarth Books for the ARC of The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine in exchange for an honest review.The Margot Affair is about a seventeen year old girl who is the product of an affair between a French stage actress named Anouk Louve and a French professor turned Wow. That’s all I can say after finishing such a delicate and nuanced novel book early this morning. I have a couple of tears in my eyes which is a good thing, I enjoyed this book so much. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Random House, and Hogarth Books for the ARC of The Margot Affair by Sanaë Lemoine in exchange for an honest review.The Margot Affair is about a seventeen year old girl who is the product of an affair between a French stage actress named Anouk Louve and a French professor turned politician named Bertrand Lapierre. Margot and her mother live a relatively hidden life without anyone knowing who Margot’s father is. At times, her father comes to them and shares the responsibility of taking care of Margot. However, Margot has always yearned for more from him with an idea that her family can truly be together since she believes that her father doesn’t truly love his wife, Madame Lapierre and their two sons. Immediately we are transported into Margot’s world with her mother, her best friend Juliette, and her mother’s closest friends—Mathilde and Théo. As someone who was raised by a single mother with a father who moved on from the relationship and married someone else, I could relate to Margot’s longing for her father. I felt tender-hearted towards her. The first few chapters explain the complex relationship between Margot and Anouk who live more like roommates. Their relationship isn’t as affectionate and a lot of times Margot felt like an afterthought in her mother’s glamorous and dramatic life. Their world is rocked when an article exposes the fact that Bertrand has been living a secret life for twenty years.I was gutted for Margot when things didn’t play out how she thought it would. Tragedy strikes which sends Margot’s life into even more of a spiral as she navigates complicated feelings and relationships. She meets two writers, a journalist named David and his wife, a ghostwriter named Brigitte who are much older but she creates a bond with them as her life with her mother and best friend becomes even more strained. Margot’s desperation to be part of something important is felt throughout the delicately woven prose. There are no quotation marks in this book but it is well written and allows us to become fully transported into Margot’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Margot does a lot of growing up throughout this book after experiencing tragedy, loss, grief, abandonment, and betrayal. It provides an interesting lens on the relationships between women, especially the relationship between parents and children. Another reviewer pointed out the voyeuristic aspect of this book and I agree. Margot is someone who prefers to stay hidden but she has such a sharp and mature view on the world around her. While she is wise and had to grow up fast, she still has an innocent hope in order to see the best in others. It’s naive but realistic and it makes me want to protect her with everything I have.As a Francophile, I expected to enjoy this book. While written in English, it’s very French in terms of characterization and the narrative offered. Margot is unlike American teenagers and this book is unlike other teen narratives for an adult audience. I look forward to the release this summer and I recommend adding it to your summer reads.Warnings: attempted suicide (character is talking about a past event), emotional abuse, slut-shaming, infidelity, and vivid sexual content. For American readers and others where the age of sexual consent is 18 years old, there is a sex between a minor and an adult.
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  • Geoffroy Bablon
    January 1, 1970
    First, a disclosure: I am married to the author! Margot has been a part of my life for many years, and I cannot pretend to share an unbiased review. What I can do however is to suggest which readers I believe will fall in love with this book, as I have.The Margot Affair traces a year in the life of 17 year old Margot. She's in her last year of high school. Her parents' union, her very existence, are a secret outside of a small circle of intimate friends. Margot is simultaneously relatable and li First, a disclosure: I am married to the author! Margot has been a part of my life for many years, and I cannot pretend to share an unbiased review. What I can do however is to suggest which readers I believe will fall in love with this book, as I have.The Margot Affair traces a year in the life of 17 year old Margot. She's in her last year of high school. Her parents' union, her very existence, are a secret outside of a small circle of intimate friends. Margot is simultaneously relatable and living a series of extraordinary experiences. She's also a vehicle for exploring larger questions around womanhood, family, friendship, and the relationship between public and private lives. In this sense, this is very much not a young adult book, despite the youthfulness of the protagonist.Sanaë's truest talent is in creating characters on the page that come to life in the mind's eye, by invoking all of our senses: Margot's father's perfume; the grizzled sound of music on an old radio; her mother's mannerisms that so annoy Margot; the crunch of a buttered baguette dipped in a bowl of hot chocolate. These and so many other evocative details brought the book to life for me, with almost cinematic clarity. This is a story that has enough momentum to keep you hooked, and yet takes the time to create a rich and sensuous world.And that world, in particular, will speak directly to all lovers of food, or Paris, or both. Wander with Margot through a Paris far removed from the clichés; feast on Brigitte's clafoutis or Mathilde's tomato tart, dishes I'd be more likely to learn from my grandmothers than to find in any cookbook.As with all novels, this one isn't for everyone. But for the lucky reader, here's a story you'll want to return to again and again, at once a delightful escape into a world that looks much like ours but where the stakes are heightened through a teenager's fresh gaze, and a meditation on the power of mothers and families that may have you reflect on your own in a new light.
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  • Katie P.
    January 1, 1970
    Blog ✍ | Facebook 👩 | Twitter 🐦 | Instagram 📸Before I begin, I'd like to recommend that you queue up your favorite French composer to play as a soundtrack behind your reading of this book. I love Ravel, but you can pick whoever you'd like. Also, Sanaë Lemoine's website has recipes for the dishes talked about in the book! Whip up some clafoutis before you crack open this read!The Margot Affair is a beautifully constructed debut novel from Sanaë Lemoine. Following Margot Louve, the opening chapter Blog ✍ | Facebook 👩 | Twitter 🐦 | Instagram 📸Before I begin, I'd like to recommend that you queue up your favorite French composer to play as a soundtrack behind your reading of this book. I love Ravel, but you can pick whoever you'd like. Also, Sanaë Lemoine's website has recipes for the dishes talked about in the book! Whip up some clafoutis before you crack open this read!The Margot Affair is a beautifully constructed debut novel from Sanaë Lemoine. Following Margot Louve, the opening chapters highlight the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter, which becomes even more nuanced with the added layer of a dark secret. Margot is the daughter, borne from a romance between her mother, an actress, and her father, a political figure of importance who happens to also be married to someone else.As the narrative progresses, the writing focuses on the dynamic, emotional relationship between Margot and her parents. Her actress mother, Anouk, and largely absent father, a teacher turned politician. These chapters are full of descriptive language that pulls you into Margot's Paris apartment and paints a vivid picture of her delicate world. The reader is taken on a journey through her inner monologue, weaving through her desire to be closer to her mother and to feel wanted, her conflicting thoughts about her father's other family, and her absolute longing for a complete family unit filled with love and compassion. The reader can feel Margot's desperation as she describes her distant relationship with her mother, an actress who tends to stay in character, even when the play has concluded. Throughout the narrative, the author returns to a familiar theme of space: how do we shape the space in which we exist and where is the center. This recurring motif inspires the reader to think critically about their space and how they exist inside of it. The author explores the incredibly nuanced question that many people deal with: is it better to tell the truth, or keep a secret.I love the style choices in this book, particularly the lack of quotation marks. The pages blend into a seamless narrative of an extremely personal nature. I read this novel as if it were Margot's internal monologue. This nicely compliments the abundance of descriptive language, but does not burden the reader with explicit exposition. It is subtle, beautiful, and I could not put this book down.This work does contain elements of emotional abuse, attempted suicide, and sexual content.The Margot Affair is published by Hogarth and will be celebrating it's book birthday on June 16, 2020! This book NEEDS to be on your To Be Read list this summer! Check out The Margot Affair on goodreads and Sanaë Lemoine's website.I received a galley copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley and Random House.
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  • miss.mesmerized mesmerized
    January 1, 1970
    It has always been like this: her father would visit them every other day, sometimes they did not hear of him for weeks. But when he opened the door, he was there completely for Margot Louve and her mother Anouk. No holidays together, no show up at school events, he only belonged to their private life and for the world outside their Paris apartment, there simply was no father. Nobody knew who he was because everybody knew him. He was a public man, a well-known politician and the husband of anoth It has always been like this: her father would visit them every other day, sometimes they did not hear of him for weeks. But when he opened the door, he was there completely for Margot Louve and her mother Anouk. No holidays together, no show up at school events, he only belonged to their private life and for the world outside their Paris apartment, there simply was no father. Nobody knew who he was because everybody knew him. He was a public man, a well-known politician and the husband of another woman. When Margot meets a journalist, the idea of going public with their story pops up, thus forcing him to finally decide between the two lives and families. She is sure that he loves her and her mother much more than his actual wife and therefore, she sets in motion a chain of events with an outcome she would never have imagined.Sanaë Lemoine’s story of course immediately reminds the reader of the former French presidents Mitterrand’s double life which he only revealed shortly before his death thus making Mazarine Pingeot suddenly one of the most famous daughters of the country. The author does not try to hide the parallels, she even mentions and integrates the real life events in her novel thus underlining also the differences between the two. Written from the daughter’s perspective, she convincingly gives the voice to a young woman full of insecurities and marked by her quite naturally limited understanding of her parents’ affair.I totally adored the first part of the novel which focuses on Margot and her relationship with her father. She does not question her life and the fact that she can never talk about who her father is, knowing that he loves her deeply is enough for herself and the arrangements also seems to work well for her mother. When the two of them accidentally encounter her father’s wife, something in her is set in motion and it only needs a little pushing by a journalist to develop her fatal plot. She is too young to foresee the scope of her action and what the possible outcomes are.In the second part, unfortunately, the author lost me a bit with the shift of the focus. Margot is fascinated by a woman a couple of years her senior and the journalist’s wife. Brigitte is a strong contrast to her always distanced and rather cold and controlled mother and fills some kind of emotional gap that opened in her life. For the reader it is quite obvious that she is to a certain extent lured on to destruction and falls prey to the reckless woman. Even though the development between them is well portrayed and slowly moves towards the final blow, Margot lost a bit of her charming personality for me and the reflective and thoughtful young woman turns into a naïve and emotionally dependent girl which I did not really like to follow anymore that much.A psychologically interesting novel about relationships and emotional needs of children and their parents, but also a study of how the choices of life you make always will have an impact on other people, too.
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  • Thelma
    January 1, 1970
    I'm still crying with that ending, especially Anouk's words were beautiful. The story of Margot wasn't easy, she really went through so many things that I'm not sure how she was able to keep walking, she was a great heroine in a way that she was very mature and strong for her age, sometimes I even forgot how old she was. Her mother wasn't easy, she was not very nurturing and Margot felt the need to seek advice and help from other people. I felt very sad for Margot as I was learning more about he I'm still crying with that ending, especially Anouk's words were beautiful. The story of Margot wasn't easy, she really went through so many things that I'm not sure how she was able to keep walking, she was a great heroine in a way that she was very mature and strong for her age, sometimes I even forgot how old she was. Her mother wasn't easy, she was not very nurturing and Margot felt the need to seek advice and help from other people. I felt very sad for Margot as I was learning more about her. she was very lonely, she didn't have many friends, she was always seeking the approval or the acceptance of her parents maybe that's why she always felt and crave affection and love, she didn't felt beautiful, a lot of people betrayed her trust hurting her in the worst way. she only wanted a family, a father that will care for her always. "When I asked you to stay with your wife, it was before meeting the other love of my life"The secondary characters were great, Juliette, Mathilde, Theo, David, and Brigitte. One of my favorite characters was Madame Lapierre, she really surprised me in many ways, I didn't expect to like her and at the end, she really was a lady.Worst moment of the book, When Bridgitte spoke with Margot.Many things to say about The Margot Affair, it was steady, I felt a melancholy feeling around the story at all times, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, it was suspenseful in many ways but at the same time, it was dramatic and with a lot of misunderstandings. I always felt like too much "silence" was slowly killing Margot. Overall I really love it and I'm thankful to the author that in the end, she gave justice to Margot, it was necessary and so well deserved!
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    "You go from invisibility to transparency. First, you're hidden, then you become the symbol of an affair." Margot has lived all her life knowing the circumstances of her birth - that her parents consisted of a mother, a well known, famous actress, and an important married politician who had a wife and two sons. Feeling that her mother had always regarded her with half interest, she always dreamed of the day that her father would make them into a true family. She idolizes him, is constantly seeki "You go from invisibility to transparency. First, you're hidden, then you become the symbol of an affair." Margot has lived all her life knowing the circumstances of her birth - that her parents consisted of a mother, a well known, famous actress, and an important married politician who had a wife and two sons. Feeling that her mother had always regarded her with half interest, she always dreamed of the day that her father would make them into a true family. She idolizes him, is constantly seeking his approval in her accomplishments. That father is really the only male character of any note in the book, primary focus being on the women and their relationships and effects on one another's lives through their jealousies, machinations and affections. With a nod to of Bonjour Tristesse, which plays a part in the story, Lemoine creates a believable narrator in Margot, but it is the depiction of auxiliary characters and the atmosphere of Parisian life that she really shines. The primary focus is on the women and their relationships. Every meal, every odor, every sight, every landmark and vista, all rendered beautifully. And what happens in Margot's world, the betrayals and revelations, all rendered in prose that make this a writer to watch.
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  • Alison Hardtmann
    January 1, 1970
    When Margot is seventeen and preparing for her final exams, her family circumstances make it into the press. Margot lives with her mother, and while her father visits when he can, he has his own family who don't know about his other life. He's also the French Minister of Culture. Margot's mother is an actor and has raised Margot to be self-sufficient, but that lack of nurturing leaves her vulnerable. This novel follows Margot as she struggles to come to terms with and to understand her parents a When Margot is seventeen and preparing for her final exams, her family circumstances make it into the press. Margot lives with her mother, and while her father visits when he can, he has his own family who don't know about his other life. He's also the French Minister of Culture. Margot's mother is an actor and has raised Margot to be self-sufficient, but that lack of nurturing leaves her vulnerable. This novel follows Margot as she struggles to come to terms with and to understand her parents and herself, just as journalists are eager to hear from her. There are shades of Mitterrand's secret daughter, but this was clearly just a jumping off point for Lemoine's novel, which is less about the press attention than it is about Margot struggling with her feelings about her odd family and, perhaps because this is a French novel, the things I expected to find in it were absent. Margot's story is far more interesting and nuanced than I'd expected.
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  • Joanna Ehrenreich
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't stop reading - highly recommend. The author's ability to capture the nuance of female relationships in all their complicated forms was true to life yet felt like a unique, new perspective. Themes around voyeurism were woven both elegantly and disturbingly throughout the novel, holding a mirror to the reader who can't help but feel a bit voyeuristic themselves as they follow the affair and Margot's ever-more-complicated relationship with the adult world. My husband loved it too!
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  • Charlsey
    January 1, 1970
    The Margot Affair is a dark, beautiful, and heartfelt story of Margot- a young teenage girl who is the daughter of Anouk (her mom who is an actress) and Lampiere (her famous politician father). Margot reveals the truth about her upbringing to a friend in an intimate way- trying to build a relationship with Bridgette. Her husband, David, seduces Margot in a way that she can’t help but desire him as well. With everything going on in the story- I felt that Margot had such a heartbreaking relationsh The Margot Affair is a dark, beautiful, and heartfelt story of Margot- a young teenage girl who is the daughter of Anouk (her mom who is an actress) and Lampiere (her famous politician father). Margot reveals the truth about her upbringing to a friend in an intimate way- trying to build a relationship with Bridgette. Her husband, David, seduces Margot in a way that she can’t help but desire him as well. With everything going on in the story- I felt that Margot had such a heartbreaking relationship with her mom that she looked to others for the mother/daughter bond- or any sort of affection from another human being. The story is beautifully written and the character development, though slow at first, truly picked up as the story went on. The pain that most of the characters experienced- in their lives- gives you an understanding how people make mistakes and need to grow from them. I enjoyed reading this book and- was very happy with the ending and how the relationship grew for Margot and her mom.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    At first glance, Margot seems like a typical teenage girl, filled with angst about everything, especially her mother. Margot lives in an up-scale part of Paris, close to the gardens of Luxembourg. She is an excellent student, anxious to get the best grades on exams to secure her place in a good university. Margot's best friend Juliette studies with her, and they usually hang out after school. Margot's mother, Anouk, is an actress who, when not rehearsing for a new play, teaches young actors. If At first glance, Margot seems like a typical teenage girl, filled with angst about everything, especially her mother. Margot lives in an up-scale part of Paris, close to the gardens of Luxembourg. She is an excellent student, anxious to get the best grades on exams to secure her place in a good university. Margot's best friend Juliette studies with her, and they usually hang out after school. Margot's mother, Anouk, is an actress who, when not rehearsing for a new play, teaches young actors. If Margot is not with Juliette, she often spends lonely evenings at home, alone.What Margot wants most passionately is to spend time with her father, who is not married to Anouk. The absent father is the one Margot longs to see. He is kind to Margot, takes her out, and fills her life with the love she desperately needs. Margot doesn't think her mother loves her or even likes her. Margot wants to have a 'real' family similar to those she imagines everyone has but her.When Margot divulges her situation to a journalist, her world slowly begins to implode. Lurid publicity for her father, the Minister of Culture, is not an unusual situation in the elite of Paris, but it takes a toll on all three. Serious repercussions for Anouk and Margot change their public and private lives.This new novel does not read like a first novel. I was right there with Margot, hoping she would have some reprieve from the mistakes she made. I loved the narrative and the evolving relationship between mother and daughter. The Margot Affair is an impressive deep dive into the lives of women in today's Paris.Thank you to the author, Hogarth Press, and NetGalley for this e-ARC (June 16, 2020).
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  • Isabelle Kenyon
    January 1, 1970
    Cannot put this down!
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Margot is a secret love child between a French politician and actress. She visits her father in secret to keep scandal at bay. When she reaches her teenage years, Margot yearns to spend more time with her father but knows it isn’t possible. So when she meets a reporter at one of her mothers shows, she toys with the idea of bringing everything to light. When she does, she realises the power of her words and her world is turned upside down•The book is split into two parts and initially had me grip Margot is a secret love child between a French politician and actress. She visits her father in secret to keep scandal at bay. When she reaches her teenage years, Margot yearns to spend more time with her father but knows it isn’t possible. So when she meets a reporter at one of her mothers shows, she toys with the idea of bringing everything to light. When she does, she realises the power of her words and her world is turned upside down•The book is split into two parts and initially had me gripped. Towards the end of part one, I started to feel a little bored but when part two kicked in, I was back to being tuned in. The writing is absolutely stunning and overdescriptive at times but it made the characters and Parisian backdrop come to life. Overall, I’d give this one a solid 4 star.
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  • Jennifer M.
    January 1, 1970
    Believe it or not, I was actually so excited to read The Margot Affair, that when I saw it for sale on eBay, I almost put a bid in. Then I didn't and I'm sort of glad. While the book has incredible writing and prose, it just wasn't a story that I found myself caring about. I truly hate when that happens. As much as I wanted to love it, and I was completely happy to be reading bits and pieces in French, I just didn't have the joy I was expecting. I will say, however, that the writing is superb. I Believe it or not, I was actually so excited to read The Margot Affair, that when I saw it for sale on eBay, I almost put a bid in. Then I didn't and I'm sort of glad. While the book has incredible writing and prose, it just wasn't a story that I found myself caring about. I truly hate when that happens. As much as I wanted to love it, and I was completely happy to be reading bits and pieces in French, I just didn't have the joy I was expecting. I will say, however, that the writing is superb. It's wonderfully constructed to the point that it almost feels like a Tartt novel. But that being said, for me, I didn't connect to any of the characters. I didn't care about anything happening, and I wasn't as drawn to read as I wanted to be. But this is Lemoine's first novel, and I will undoubtedly be back when there's a second.The Margot Affair publishes 6.16.2020.3/5 Stars
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  • Linda Hartlaub
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: This is a book that I won through Goodreads giveaways.As I was reading this book, I kept wondering where it was going and what was the theme. When I finished, I still had those questions. Was this a coming of age book? Was this a book on the relationship between a daughter and her parents? Was this a book about consequences of one's actions? Taking place in Paris and environs, Margot is the daughter of an actress and a highly placed minister in the French government. Her father is ma Disclaimer: This is a book that I won through Goodreads giveaways.As I was reading this book, I kept wondering where it was going and what was the theme. When I finished, I still had those questions. Was this a coming of age book? Was this a book on the relationship between a daughter and her parents? Was this a book about consequences of one's actions? Taking place in Paris and environs, Margot is the daughter of an actress and a highly placed minister in the French government. Her father is married with another family. Of course, Margot believes that he will eventually leave his family and choose to live with her mother, Anouk, and her. Margot's actions to achieve her goals create conflict, pain, deception and disaster. I found the main character to be a selfish and unthinking teenager, who believes herself to be more sophisticated than she is and ultimately is used by a number of characters in the book. A side note, if you are interested in the food featured in the book, several recipes are listed on the author's website.
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  • Forsyth Harmon
    January 1, 1970
    This book achieves that perfect (and rare!) balance between being nuanced, gorgeously-written literary fiction and plot-driven, commercially-appealing storytelling. On the one hand, I absolutely reveled in Lemoine's carefully crafted sentences, such as these: "Over time it became harder to say Maman; the soft consonants would belie the estrangement I so often felt around her. Anouk, on the other hand, ended with a sharp edge, and when I yelled her name, it was like throwing her over a cliff." (T This book achieves that perfect (and rare!) balance between being nuanced, gorgeously-written literary fiction and plot-driven, commercially-appealing storytelling. On the one hand, I absolutely reveled in Lemoine's carefully crafted sentences, such as these: "Over time it became harder to say Maman; the soft consonants would belie the estrangement I so often felt around her. Anouk, on the other hand, ended with a sharp edge, and when I yelled her name, it was like throwing her over a cliff." (This is, among many other things, a brilliant mother/daughter story.) On the other hand, I couldn't possibly turn the pages quickly enough to discover how young Margot would navigate her way through the series of very complex, very adult situations she found herself in. This book is elegant and insightful--it's hard to believe it's Lemoine's debut. I can't wait to read more of her work!
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  • Elizabeth Cruikshank
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this novel. I found it to be totally riveting—and, somewhat unusually for me, I was propelled as much by a desire to understand the characters' motivations and dynamics as to see what happened next in the plot. I loved the focus on thought-provoking and complex relationships: romantic relationships, relationships between mothers and daughters, relationships between and among women. The author created such an immersive world: When I wasn't reading the novel, I found my thoughts straying b I loved this novel. I found it to be totally riveting—and, somewhat unusually for me, I was propelled as much by a desire to understand the characters' motivations and dynamics as to see what happened next in the plot. I loved the focus on thought-provoking and complex relationships: romantic relationships, relationships between mothers and daughters, relationships between and among women. The author created such an immersive world: When I wasn't reading the novel, I found my thoughts straying back to it. And on a sentence level, the writing was precise and exquisite. (Plus, it made me want to improve my kitchen skills!)
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    "You think I’m a bad person, don’t you? Why are you always worried about being good or bad? Who taught you that? It’s a way of deferring responsibility for your actions."This book is the story of Margot, who is the high school daughter of a somewhat famous actor, Anouk. Her dad is a local politician but he's also married to someone else and Anouk is his long-time lover. The story starts as a story about this family and Margot navigating her life in this more unusual set up. "At Juliette’s, it fe "You think I’m a bad person, don’t you? Why are you always worried about being good or bad? Who taught you that? It’s a way of deferring responsibility for your actions."This book is the story of Margot, who is the high school daughter of a somewhat famous actor, Anouk. Her dad is a local politician but he's also married to someone else and Anouk is his long-time lover. The story starts as a story about this family and Margot navigating her life in this more unusual set up. "At Juliette’s, it felt as though my lungs were filled with more air, and the heaviness in my limbs would evaporate until I grew light enough to hover right above the ground, able to breathe at last."Craving a different relationship both with her mom and her dad, for different reasons. Fascinated by the world. Going through fleeting moments of overconfidence and neediness as many teenagers tend to do. Leading up to her betrayal and the aftermath, I really enjoyed this part of the story."Sadness is a fleeting emotion, Anouk said, just as happiness is."The second part of the story is mostly about Margot and an older couple she befriends and dives into female relationships a little bit but most of the characters in the story are only visible to the reader through Margot's eyes and her feelings and thoughts. I enjoyed the limited view this posed even where it was clear we were getting a filtered view of things."My role isn’t to explain everything to you. I can’t explain your father to you, and you can’t understand what it was like. A marriage is a closed world. Anyone who thinks they can explain it to an outsider is a fool."There's so little that really happens in this story. It's mostly a character study, which is my favorite kind of novel especially when the writing is as visual and expressive as it is here. Even though it's not an uplifting story, I don't think it was depressing either. It felt like a slice of life, with some ups and some downs. As most of life is. "What happened to daughters like us? Would we flee our families, wanting to be far away, wishing to carve out a life that was ours alone, far removed from where we came from? Or were we always destined to return? I wanted to absorb her into myself so I was never alone. I wasn’t afraid."I really enjoyed my time with this book. I savored the writing and the characters. It definitely felt French, to me, but the themes, of course are so eternal: marriage, motherhood, belonging, secrecy and friendship. The stuff of life.with gratitude to netgalley and Random House for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Teresa Borden
    January 1, 1970
    I was fascinated by this story of a seventeen-year-old girl in Paris who is the secret daughter of a famous politician and a prominent stage actress. Margot is finishing her last year of high school, studying furiously, along with her best and only friend, for an important exam that will open opportunities for university. She lives with her mother, who is often emotionally distant and caught up in her acting work, yet there is a strong bond between them. All her life it has been just the two of I was fascinated by this story of a seventeen-year-old girl in Paris who is the secret daughter of a famous politician and a prominent stage actress. Margot is finishing her last year of high school, studying furiously, along with her best and only friend, for an important exam that will open opportunities for university. She lives with her mother, who is often emotionally distant and caught up in her acting work, yet there is a strong bond between them. All her life it has been just the two of them, although Margot’s teacher-turned-politician father visits when he can. She has always known that he has a wife and other children and, when she was younger, it was enough knowing that she and her mother were important to him, that they had domestic family moments together, even though they weren’t always as frequent as she would have liked.After Margot’s mother points out the wife to her while they sit at an outdoor café table, Margot begins to question the situation and wonder about her father’s ‘other’ family. She is dissatisfied suddenly with the fact that her father has never acknowledged her or her mother. She meets a journalist at an event held for her mother and thus begins a journey of discovery about her parents’ relationship with each other and with her, as well as her father’s wife and other children. What she sets secretly in motion has a huge impact on everyone, not least of all Margot herself, as she navigates the emotional terrain between childhood and adulthood. Betrayals and revelations ensue, all narrated from Margot’s young perspective at a pivotal time in her life.Although I have never been to France, the setting and characters in this novel evoked very strongly for me an atmosphere and life as I imagine it is lived there. From the everyday details about the city, its cafés and streets to the conversations between characters, everything seems permeated by what feels like a very French way of life. I could easily imagine this story as a French film.Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Hogarth, as well as the author, for providing me with an eARC of this riveting debut novel. It will be released on June 16, 2020 and I highly recommend it as an absorbing and interesting read.
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  • Jenni
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Thank you so much to Netgalley and Hogarth (Penguin Random House) for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The Margot Affair follows our titular Margot, the secret lovechild born from a several-decade-long affair between an up-and-coming, married politician and a fairly famous actress in Paris. Over the course of the novel, secrets regarding Margot's life are revealed, as Margot develops a questionable relationship with an older, married coupl 3.5 stars. Thank you so much to Netgalley and Hogarth (Penguin Random House) for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The Margot Affair follows our titular Margot, the secret lovechild born from a several-decade-long affair between an up-and-coming, married politician and a fairly famous actress in Paris. Over the course of the novel, secrets regarding Margot's life are revealed, as Margot develops a questionable relationship with an older, married couple, both of whom work in cultural journalism. This was a mash-up of the coming-of-age story alongside the people behaving badly setup, both of which I quite enjoy if they are done well. This novel fits well amongst other debut novels that utilize these two tropes (if you will) such as Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends and Madhuri Vijay's The Far Field, both of which were novels that I enjoyed. If you like either (or both!) of those novels in their plotting (less so in tone), then I would highly recommend you check out The Margot Affair. As for my thoughts aside from comparisons to other novels, I really loved Lemoine's voice. Her evocation of French food and culture created such a wonderful atmosphere and for much of the book, I felt like I was in Paris with these characters. The characters themselves, however, left a bit desired for me. This was in part, I believe, due to the novel being from Margot's perspective, as her views on many of her closest companions in the novel are incredibly warped by her feelings and frustrations about the circumstances those around her have put her in (and some that she has brought upon herself), making it difficult to get a true grasp on any of the other character's true personalities (which is something Margot herself also grapples with). Additionally, for the book focused on Margot's "coming of age", I didn't quite love her as a character and found her to be a bit too naive, given her age and upbringing.Overall, I am interested in reading more of Lemoine's work given her atmospheric writing style, but the execution of the characterization in this novel did not quite hit the mark.
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  • Bruin Mccon
    January 1, 1970
    The Margot Affair is a novel about the product of an affair.Margot’s mother is a famous actress and her father a secret to all but a few people. Her father is married to and has a family with another woman.Margot’s father is, as she says late in the book, defined more by his absence than his presence. As someone with a dead dad, this book was like sticking a fork in my eye and then pouring in salt every chapter or so. It’s a book about needing and missing your father. Fortunately, my story isn’t The Margot Affair is a novel about the product of an affair.Margot’s mother is a famous actress and her father a secret to all but a few people. Her father is married to and has a family with another woman.Margot’s father is, as she says late in the book, defined more by his absence than his presence. As someone with a dead dad, this book was like sticking a fork in my eye and then pouring in salt every chapter or so. It’s a book about needing and missing your father. Fortunately, my story isn’t like Margot’s, where her father chose to stay with his wife and live his life outside of her home. But more, this novel was about growing up and realizing how much a mother can give up for a child, invisibly and never realized. Or at least, that was my interpretation, colored by my experience as a parent and decades ago as a child.The book was well executed. It’s easy to see that Margot’s world is small—her mother, her mother’s two best friends, her own best friend and her father. In the book, she gains two friends for a spell.I think the final chapters in the book were the best, in part because there was much more action and resolution. There was also a payoff for some of the more difficult chapters in the middle of the book. Yet there is a lingering sadness about this novel, an ache when considering that many people do the right thing but only much, much too late.3.5 ⭐️s.
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  • Verity W
    January 1, 1970
    *****Copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review*****Margot is the secret daughter of a French politician and a famous actress. In her final year of school, alongside studying for her exams, she meets a journalist and is drawn into an adult world that she doesn't realise that she's out of her depth in, and makes a decision that will change her future.This is very, very French - not just in the set up of a high profile politician with a secret family (the scenario here has actually played *****Copy from NetGalley in return for an honest review*****Margot is the secret daughter of a French politician and a famous actress. In her final year of school, alongside studying for her exams, she meets a journalist and is drawn into an adult world that she doesn't realise that she's out of her depth in, and makes a decision that will change her future.This is very, very French - not just in the set up of a high profile politician with a secret family (the scenario here has actually played out more than once in France, where being exposed as having a mistress hasn't been a career ender for decades, if ever) but also in style and writing to the point where I went and checked (more than once) if it was actually in translation because the turns of phrase and everything about it felt so much like a French-language novel.I had some qualms about the journalistic ethics you see on display here, but while I was reading, I went with it. Now I've finished the book, it bothers me even more but that may be because I'm a journalist and sensitive about how the profession is portrayed in fiction/movies/arts as having very few morals and doing whatever it takes to get the story. PSA: journalists shouldn't behave like this, if you find someone who is, then they are a bad actor and you shouldn't cooperate with them. That aside this is an interesting coming of age novel, albeit one with a fairly hard to like cast of characters.
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  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    Looking a the cover, you would assume that the book:- take place in France- feels like a 60's drama (think Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron, etc.) - has a romance?Only one of those things was correct. It took place in France. While reading this book, I felt that I was not the proper audience. Finishing this book, I'm trying to figure out who exactly is the proper audience? You have a 17 year old girl, the daughter between a so-so actress of stage and a well-known politician. The politician has anoth Looking a the cover, you would assume that the book:- take place in France- feels like a 60's drama (think Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron, etc.) - has a romance?Only one of those things was correct. It took place in France. While reading this book, I felt that I was not the proper audience. Finishing this book, I'm trying to figure out who exactly is the proper audience? You have a 17 year old girl, the daughter between a so-so actress of stage and a well-known politician. The politician has another life with his family (his wife and two sons), but can't bother to choose one over the other or bring the two together.The daughter, after being somewhat snubbed on her birthday, decides to come clean - albeit anon - to a reporter and admit that her father has this other family. I felt like this book was a bit... pretentious? It was trying to be something that it wasn't. The girl was a bit of a brat, and I found her completely unlikable (outside the situation that she had no choice in). I pretty much was strung along page after page of the author trying to milk this issue that comes about after her coming clean about her father's infidelity and I came to the conclusion: I don't care. There is nothing moving, interesting, inspiring, or different. There should have been some type of scandal, or a cast of more interesting characters.
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  • Helen
    January 1, 1970
    The Margot Affair, a debut novel from French-Japanese author, Sanaë Lemoine, is told from the perspective of seventeen-year-old Margot, a secret love child between a stage actress and a prominent politician. Living in Paris with her mother, only a few people in their inner circle know of this affair and Margot’s father’s true identity.Like all teens, Margot is grappling with identity issues and testing the boundaries of who she is. But unlike other teens, her mere existence seems to be a test in The Margot Affair, a debut novel from French-Japanese author, Sanaë Lemoine, is told from the perspective of seventeen-year-old Margot, a secret love child between a stage actress and a prominent politician. Living in Paris with her mother, only a few people in their inner circle know of this affair and Margot’s father’s true identity.Like all teens, Margot is grappling with identity issues and testing the boundaries of who she is. But unlike other teens, her mere existence seems to be a test in itself. A test of her parents relationship, a test of her father’s morality. And finally, a test of her own volition. This pure yearning for recognition from her father and longing to belong lead her down a path of questionable choices that ultimately unravel the lives of the people closest to her.The writing is gorgeous. Her descriptions are vivid and the lack of quotation marks allow the reader to immerse themselves in the characters thoughts. There is a bit of a lull in the first half where I was struggling a bit to get through. But, the pace picks back up halfway as consequences to Margot’s actions silently erupt. Reading from Margot’s perspective was interesting, especially since she seemed a bit too introspective and self-aware for her age at times. That might possibly be why I couldn’t connect with her as much as I’d like. But, she felt authentic in both her naïveté and judgement. I recommend if you like books that explore familial relationships and self-identity.P.S. The author has a few of the recipes of the food in this book on her site! So awesome because every time there was food, Lemoine’s descriptions made my mouth water. 🤤
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  • D
    January 1, 1970
    This is an impressive first effort by the writer, somewhat in the vein of Bonjour Tristesse (which it references). The characters are well-formed and the narrative flows well -- I found it a quick absorbing read and especially enjoyed being transported to Paris.. The protagonist, Margot, provides a compelling first-person perspective of her experience as the secret daughter of a prominent politician living two lives, one in which he lives with his society wife and sons in one of Paris' toniest a This is an impressive first effort by the writer, somewhat in the vein of Bonjour Tristesse (which it references). The characters are well-formed and the narrative flows well -- I found it a quick absorbing read and especially enjoyed being transported to Paris.. The protagonist, Margot, provides a compelling first-person perspective of her experience as the secret daughter of a prominent politician living two lives, one in which he lives with his society wife and sons in one of Paris' toniest arrondissements and his less present life with his mistress, an actor/dancer and their daughter. The likability of many of the characters eludes us too frequently, which might be the novel's biggest flaw. It's easy to get in the head of a young woman who pines for more time with her important father versus the day to day life lived with her distant histrionic mother. But this seemingly intelligent insightful young woman screws the pooch, so to speak, and it all comes tumbling down. It can't just be explained by the folly of youth or her desire for normalcy. There's a crack in the character. If you've ever wondered about seemingly culturally sanctioned affairs in France a la Mitterand, you'll find yourself pulled in very easily.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    The Margot Affair by Sanae Lemoine is an excellent literary fiction novel that packs so much into just one novel.Margot is the main character. We as the reader get to see her circumstances, visions, interpretations, and viewpoints through her: a teenager. With her perceptions, we can follow along as she evolves, grows, and changes through her discoveries and mistakes. She is flawed, but she is fascinating. To see her filter and digest these decisions, revelations, and acceptances feels as if we The Margot Affair by Sanae Lemoine is an excellent literary fiction novel that packs so much into just one novel.Margot is the main character. We as the reader get to see her circumstances, visions, interpretations, and viewpoints through her: a teenager. With her perceptions, we can follow along as she evolves, grows, and changes through her discoveries and mistakes. She is flawed, but she is fascinating. To see her filter and digest these decisions, revelations, and acceptances feels as if we are peeking into her soul. Fundamental themes of: love, loss, acceptance, relationships, marriages, forgiveness, mistakes, a desire to belong, and coming of age are all at the heart of this book. What better subjects are there that we all can identify with at one level or another? Beautiful characters, descriptions, prose, and pace lend this novel the complexity that it deserves. 5/5 starsThank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
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  • A. M. Kimber
    January 1, 1970
    ** Thank you Netgalley and Random House for the ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review ** 3.5 stars:: Seventeen year old Margot wants nothing more than her to be recognized by her father, and to be recognized by his family. Their only moments together are fleeting and bittersweet, and even those are tinged with lies. Margot sees her chance and decides its time her father take responsibility, only to learn too late, her father had been there all along. This is a beautifully written st ** Thank you Netgalley and Random House for the ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review ** 3.5 stars:: Seventeen year old Margot wants nothing more than her to be recognized by her father, and to be recognized by his family. Their only moments together are fleeting and bittersweet, and even those are tinged with lies. Margot sees her chance and decides its time her father take responsibility, only to learn too late, her father had been there all along. This is a beautifully written story; languid and elegant in its reserve. It might sound strange, but its spare yet detailed writing was like a feminized Hemingway. Strong, uncloying, and beautiful. Like a simple room of fine, well made furnishing and highlighted with only a single bloom. I felt as if I was reading someone's deeply sad, and honest diary. Ms. Lemoine's way with words pull at you, you feel Margot's want of the father who is never there, eclipsing the mother who is. While her own emotions and thoughts tear at her for these feelings.
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