His Other Lover by Lucy Dawson

I seem to be on an infidelity kick lately. I read Lucy Dawson’s debut novel, His Other Lover, over two nights, reading until my eyes burned. In all the ways Love and Other Natural Disasters failed, His Other Lover succeeded.

One night, Mia, a 20-something woman who works for a small advertising firm somewhere near London, discovers a text message on her live-in boyfriend’s phone. Mia thought Pete was the one. Turns out he’s someone else’s one, too. That someone else is an actress named Liz.

The discovery of the text message begins a downward spiral of destructive behviour which upends Mia’s life. But hers is not the only life shattered by the discovery.

It’s interesting, but true, I think: women who are cheated on often blame the other woman. Mia pours all her anger and hatred on top of Liz. She almost makes Pete seem like another victim, someone who fell into Liz’s Black Widow trap and was helpless against her sticky charms.

Of course it’s all much more complicated that that. Mia goes completely off the rails, calling in sick for days on end while she tries to track down Liz. She wants her boyfriend back and the only way to do that is annihilate the enemy.

Dawson does a terrific job of getting inside of Mia’s head. The whole range of emotions are there: grief, anger, the hot desire for revenge. Mia is single-minded in her thirst for getting back her man. The thing is: he’s not worth it.

But the book is.