A Virtual Affair is probably the most difficult book I’ve ever had to review. At first, I wasn’t even sure I would finish it, but I’m certainly glad I did. In the end, it was worth pushing just a little more until the story picked up.
We start at a very confusing place – a woman (Jayne) looking out at the waves crashing along the shore. She sounds pensive and a little deflated, but we really don’t know why. Immediately after, we are thrown into a coffee shop where we learn that Jayne is married to a coward of a man. A cheater. A man who treats her worse than garbage. Her best friend, Carla, convinces her to go on holiday, but before that happens, we muddle through her low self-esteem and debate about whether or not the marriage should continue for a little while.
On holiday, Jayne meets Stefan. The low self-esteem is certainly present in this situation, and though her husband has been cheating for years, Jayne feels guilty for her attraction to Stefan. But, despite her reservations, they begin an email friendship that, over time, begins to turn into something more. At this point, life begins to unravel for Jayne. Literally. And it is about here that the story starts to pick up, where the author starts to seem more comfortable with her story and the way she’s telling it.
There are some highs. Some sexy moments. And a lot of real, real lows from that point on. I found myself wondering if things would ever be okay for Jayne and then, just when I think they might be, the rug is pulled out from under her. The journey to healing is long and slow (as it always is), and Jayne ends up writing about everything and turning it into a book. But all of it is still missing something very important, and there are parts that will never be the same again…..How does it all end? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out!
About my rating:
I could tell how personal this book really was for Tracie Podger, and there are parts that definitely reflect that. Yet there are others that felt….a little excessive. Like, there were literally entire chapters that I just kind of skimmed over because, even if there were snippets of important details, some of the story seemed to run in a loop – sometimes because the same concept was repeated, and other times because I had already deduced what the author wrote on my own. So, essentially, just a lot of over-explaining.
That said, I have to give the author serious props for tackling some really big, deep issues. Infidelity, emotional abuse, death of a loved one, depression….these are not easy topics to write about, and it takes a lot of courage to do so. At times, I felt like maybe the author had distanced herself from those topics (possibly because it really is hard to actually live through some of those emotions as you write about them), but there were a lot of sections that I, myself, wanted to just curl up in a ball and cry over. They just felt that raw, that real.
All in all, I decided to give A Virtual Affair three heels because it really just fell right in the middle for me, and Tracie Podger is still an author that I would be willing to give another try. If you’d like to check it out and read it yourself, you can pick it up here:
* ARC provided by the Author for an honest review *