Revenge is the story of Andrea Geller,  an artist who teaches at a small college in Hartwood. Andrea has gained some notoriety for a collection of art she once showed at a gallery in New York, but now her work has stalled.  She’s also struggling with the recent accidental death of her father. She’s having an affair with a married man.  All in all, Andrea’s a bit of a mess.

She happens to live across the street from Loretta Partlow, a highly successful novelist. Although Partlow had been required reading in high school, Andrea isn’t much of a fan until her stepmother mentions loving Partlow’s novel  What If? So Andrea revisits her work, the novels and essays on gardening and the poems. She becomes sort of obsessed with Partlow and contrives ways to bump into her.

Revenge is the rather odd story of the friendship which develops between Andrea and Loretta. Andrea enters into the relationship thinking Loretta might use her writing skills to exact a sort of revenge on her stepmother, but her scheme is only incidental to the story. Revenge is not a thriller, exactly, but you do race along its bizarre trajectory hoping for answers which never come.

That’s not to say that I didn’t like Revenge. Morris is a fine writer and I look forward to reading more of her work (and, in fact, I have Acts of God on my tbr shelf). This is, however, one of those books that seems to be promising one thing and then delivers something entirely different.

Ultimately, Morris has written a story about two rather quirky and self-centered women who need each other… until they don’t.