Saturday, July 10, 2010

"The Perfect Happiness"

Santa Montefiore's novels have been translated into twenty languages and have sold more than three million copies in England and Europe. She studied Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She lives in London with her husband, historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and their two children.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her latest novel, The Perfect Happiness, and reported the following:
Page 69 of The Perfect Happiness is not representative of the book, but it does give you an insight into the friction beginning to heat up in Angelica’s marriage, which eventually propels her into an affair. Her French husband, Olivier, comments on a woman he finds ‘sexy’ and Angelica rolls her eyes. She’s used to him admiring other women. In fact, she’s not jealous, rather weary of his flirting. He doesn’t reassure her that she is just as sexy, the conversation moves on to their parents and plans for Christmas. She can’t abide his mother and sisters and her own parents, who still think it’s 1960, are an embarrassment. At the bottom of the page Olivier has folded his clothes and scowls at his wife’s garments strewn carelessly across the floor. They have their differences and Olivier has grown intolerant of her foibles. There is no joy and laughter in their relationship any more.

Olivier works hard in the City, spending a lot of time in his office as the financial world collapses. Angelica writes children’s books, which he considers more of a hobby than a career, in spite of never having read one, and takes care of their two children. They’ve been married ten years and familiarity has worn away the gloss of attraction that once existed between them. They have stopped paying attention to the small details that used to define their relationship. It’s not that they have stopped loving each other, but their love is so familiar as to be almost entirely overlooked. Angelica doesn’t seek an affair, but when a handsome, charismatic South African is seated next to her at a dinner, the attention he pays her is invigorating. After he finds her on email and a secret correspondence ensues, his attention becomes compulsive. He’s the opposite of Olivier. Where the Frenchman is polished and vain, Jack is rugged, laid back and carefree. But he is hiding a secret that will ultimately change the way Angelica sees the world, and herself.

The Perfect Happiness is set in my London world and on a beautiful vineyard near Cape Town very like the one I visited a few years ago when I went out on book tour. It’s romantic, thought provoking and mysterious. I hope you enjoy it!
Browse inside The Perfect Happiness, and learn more about the book and author at Santa Montefiore's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue