Read Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott Online


In this vivid re-imagining of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it’s the summer when Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and a sweltering stretch has Harlem’s elite fleeing the city for Westchester County’s breezier climes. But there two predators stalking amidst the manicured gardens and fine old homes.Heiress Mae Malveaux rules societyIn this vivid re-imagining of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it’s the summer when Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and a sweltering stretch has Harlem’s elite fleeing the city for Westchester County’s breezier climes. But there two predators stalking amidst the manicured gardens and fine old homes.Heiress Mae Malveaux rules society with an angel’s smile and a heart of stone. She made up her mind long ago that nobody would decide her fate. To have the pleasure she craves, control is paramount, especially control of the men Mae attracts like moths to a flame.Valiant Jackson always gets what he wants—and he’s wanted Mae for years. The door finally opens for him when Mae strikes a bargain: seduce her virginal young cousin, Cecily, who is engaged to Frank Washington. Frank values her innocence above all else. If successful, Val’s reward will be a night with Mae. But Val secretly seeks another prize. Elizabeth Townsend is fiercely loyal to her church and her civil rights attorney husband. Certain there is something redeemable in Mr. Jackson. Little does she know that her most unforgivable mistake will be Val’s greatest triumph....

Title : Unforgivable Love
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062655653
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 517 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Unforgivable Love Reviews

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    2019-05-09 18:58

    I'm running a giveaway for this book through 11:59pm EST 10/13/17. Enter here!You can read this and all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.Though I have never read the original version of Dangerous Liaisons or even seen a film or theater adaptation, I was intrigued by this book’s description and couldn’t wait to receive my copy. I was not disappointed.If you’ve been following my reviews for any length of time, you probably know that I rarely go all-out fan girl. This is one of these very rare times that I really, really want to! Part of me just want to GIF the heck out of this review and gush with abandon. However, I think this book deserves much more consideration than a buy it, read it, download it now rant (that I am giving you here ever so subtly and subliminally anyway).WHAT WORKED:Atmosphere – This is a very atmospheric novel. Whether in Harlem, Westchester, or North Carolina, the settings are vividly described in such a way that the reader truly feels transported.Characters – The characters become real via a combination of narrative, conversations, letters, and even body language. It is obvious that the author has given much thought to the development of each character. This is an especially impressive accomplishment given the number of characters that are central to the plot. They were not all likable, of course. But whether chaste and naive or cruel and calculating, they were realistically flawed and multi-dimensional.The Plot – I loved everything about the story. It provided all of the timeless elements we, as readers, can’t get enough of. Take a little bit of lust, a little bit of revenge, and a lot of manipulation. Add a sprinkle of sex, a dash of lust, a pinch of jealousy. Put it over a low, slow fire till it’s just about ready to burn then sprinkle the top with a mix of lies and secrets. It’s like that!(I know you might be asking yourself if I’ve suffered a head injury. I don’t even like reading books with sex and romance. This is different, I swear. It’s not overdone. It’s not gratuitous. It’s all very relatable and realistic. None of this flowery “he brushed the soft curve of my ample bosom” stuff!)While the plot is complex and weighty, it’s easy to follow and definitely drew me in fast. It’s the kind of book that’s both a page-turner and something that you want to savor.The Feels – Unforgivable Love: A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons is a beautifully written story that made me experience the full gamut of human emotions without being trite or sappy.The Ending – Maybe I should have seen it coming. I didn’t.WHAT DIDN’T WORKI really don’t have anything to add here. I had no real issues with any of the elements of this book.THE BOTTOM LINESophfronia Scott has written a sexy, smart, atmospheric novel that transports the reader to the glitz, grit, and glamour of 1940’s Harlem. Though I hadn’t read her first novel, All I Need to Get By, I will be looking forward to reading her future novels.

  • karen
    2019-05-07 20:47

    what's unforgivable is that no one told me this book was a thing i could have.

  • Gaele
    2019-05-01 01:03

    Pierre de Laclos’s original Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the machinations and struggles for power, position and upward mobility, full of sex, rumor and backbiting were emblematic of the courts of many European Kings - the real inspiration of modern day Survivor-like reality shows. Sophfronia Scott has modernized this story by a century plus, and changed the setting to 1940's Harlem, adding a wonderful twist to the best and worst intentions of us all as we struggle for that lasting place in society. Initially drawn to the story for the unique perspective brought from Scott: post war 1940’s Harlem with all of the changes in society, the solid ‘community’ feel that is at once both wholly American and distinctly from the perspective of those marginalized by the greater society at large, and their building of a world that is at once separate and distinct from, yet reliant upon that greater society. And one that provided a constant source of fascination and intrigue for those outside that Harlem bubble. And we do have time to move from that bubble with country visits to family outside the city, time spent in North Carolina. In this story, Scott introduces us to several characters, all revealed in 3rd person past tense in alternating chapters. Each character is highly nuanced, bringing with them their own agendas, likes, dislikes and proclivities. These are not the average people on the street, they are the Harlem elite: wealthy, powerful movers and shakers in that society, and each has multiple opportunities to affect their own lives and those of the people around them in varying ways. Full of plots and schemes to gain or increase their personal power, wealth and standing: each brings a series of motivations to the table which come clear as their stories continue. Reasons are not always what one may think – but results – that alpha-dog position in pack, is the ultimate goal here. And you can’t help but be swept away with the plots, comparing and contrasting the perspectives to those you know or have seen before. Then, you realize that while the essential humanness of these people is undeniable and it becomes their setting and time that makes them different from those you know. Scott’s writing, a cross between lyrical and wholly descriptive puts you right in the streets and drawing rooms: listening to the music that winds through the daily life: conversations have their own particular rhythm and metre, with a touch of that be-bop flair in some, more fluid and haunting to remind you of Ella. Each moment, from description to sound becomes the background as you read on, and at over 500 pages, the read is one that will transport you to another time and place, keeping you cheering and jeering as things unfold and the tangles of relationships, motivations, prejudices and unrequited desires unravel. So many tangles in the story – what is versus what could / should be, the unacknowledged desires, long held ill feelings and even some that never quite untangle are prevalent, and make this a story well worth having on your shelf and read often. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed

  • Kathy
    2019-04-30 01:35

    I felt so lucky to receive this novel as a Goodreads Giveaway. What a sexy, compelling, powerful, deeply absorbing read. I love Sophronia Scott's writing. Everything: time, place, characters, was so vivid to me because of her gifted storytelling, a winning combination of precision and lyricism. I won't summarize the plot of the book here as other reviewers already have. You don't need to have read Dangerous Liaisons to love this novel. I had, but that fell to the background as I read. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this novel and look forward to reading all of Scott's future books of which I hope there will be many.

  • Erica Sullivan
    2019-05-06 22:47

    Sophfronia Scott has created a truly inspiring retelling of the 18th century novel -Dangerous Liaisons. Never sacrificing the heart of the story, Sophfronia has brilliantly unraveled the deeply woven and intricate relationships between the main characters set in 1940’s Harlem. She has seamlessly elevated the complexities of the human condition through thoughtful study of the main characters and their own personal journey of disparity, deceit, corruption, cynicism, love, hope and ultimately personal redemption. Unforgivable Love is a page turner that does not disappoint!!

  • Breena
    2019-05-23 02:47

    "Unforgivable Love" by Sophfronia Scott, a retelling of the classic, "Dangerous Liaisons," is a sexy summer's intrigue in the world of fashionable members of African-American high society in Jazz Age Harlem, New York. Scott's novel is a panoramic exploration of universal themes of love, sex, and social intrigue. "Unforgivable Love" offers a delightful opportunity to spend time in Harlem discovering this exciting, historical time and place.

  • Carla Suto
    2019-05-22 02:52

    UNFORGIVABLE LOVE by Sophfronia Scott is an intriguing retelling of the French classic, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (Dangerous Liaisons) set in the world of high-society African-American culture during the late 1940s in Harlem, New York. The author has created complex characters with carefully interwoven relationships. She brings to life themes of love, friendship, greed, revenge, class and morality in this suspenseful and absorbing story. Through the author’s rich and visual narrative, the reader is drawn completely into the time period and setting. The plot takes a few unexpected twists and turns as the story reaches its dramatic conclusion. I really enjoyed the unique perspective of the re-imagining of this classic book. I am thankful to have won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-08 20:36

    Ms. Scott's novel is faithful to Dangerous Liasons, but it is so much more than that. At first I thought it was going to be an everyday historical "bodice ripper", but the author's characters are so fully realized and the setting so engaging and real that I was quickly swept up in the narrative.And what a story! Involving the machinations of the wealthy black upper class in 1940's Harlem at the very beginnings of the struggle for civil rights. Friendship, love, lust, deceit in an historical era and a backdrop that has seldom, if ever, been written about. Beautifully written with startling twists and turns in the narrative. If you are looking for historical fiction that is absorbing and different, this is the book for you! Thank you Byrd's Books in Bethel, CT for this advance reader's copy

  • Linda Neff
    2019-05-20 00:51

    I'm still pinching myself having had the good fortune of reading an advance copy of Sophfronia Scott's brilliant new book. Her exquisite masterpiece, set primarily in 1940s Harlem, and based on a French classic, is immediately involving. Sophfronia’s dynamic characters play through and around the edges of important life themes of love, vulnerability, greed, class, risk, trauma, spirituality, forgiveness and racism. These themes are ultimately lessons applicable to our current time and world. Reading Unforgivable Love was like listening to the most beautifully scored symphony - so much depth, spirit and soul. This novel is pure balm for a reader’s soul.

  • Erika Dreifus
    2019-05-22 21:40

    Delighted to have received an advance copy to prepare for a Q&A with the author, available here:

  • DJ Sakata
    2019-04-29 02:03

    Favorite Quotes:Mae was vigilant about her expressions. She learned long ago the faces she wore would always be more essential than any dress she put on…The gals around here look at me cross-eyed like you’re doing now, but I say get you a second husband if you can manage it. You mark my words! You don’t know what I’m talking about now but you’ll see when you’ve got that first one and you’re done with him.Cecily felt like she had entered a different time frame where, no matter how hard she tried to catch up, she seemed to be always five seconds behind. She was still processing Aunt Pearl’s words but Aunt Pearl was already on the porch steps.Cecily didn’t like the dark and this dark outside her window was beyond what she thought possible. It was black like the darkness of a hole that wasn’t satisfied with just being a hole so it had to suck you in and make you part of the darkness.There are people in this world who can never get other people to love them the way they want to be loved. It’s like they spend their whole lives on their knees in the dirt in the woods trying to light a wet match. Can’t spark nothing. The more they can’t, the more they want to burn the whole forest to the ground.My Review:Despite the superb quality of the writing, I struggled some with this intriguing story as it was intense and so very, very long – 528 pages long.   I can happily say it was well worth the effort and I will now crow with knowledge and awareness of the tale. Sophfronia Scott’s writing was brilliant and held me captive in the corners of rooms with her compelling characters – I was like a voyeur - sometimes cringing, flinching, gasping, or biting my cheek. Ms. Scott nimbly captured the confusing transitions and personal shifts in awareness of the tumultuous period of coming of age with great sensitivity and her cunning insights were expertly tailored to each character. Her writing was fluid and agile, even when depicting the cruel machinations and underpinnings of the stealthy Mae or the heartbreaking results of her vicious maneuvering. Ms. Scott’s scenes and characters were vibrant and vividly detailed, yet the main players were despicable and loathsome creatures – they were contemptible, vile, and manipulative schemers. While captivated and repulsed, I was also remained fully engaged, totally invested, and compelled to see it through to the conclusion while holding my breath that karma would balance out. 

  • Melanie Page
    2019-05-03 19:57

    This review was originally published at Grab the Lapels. Please click the link to see covers of the original French work!I would like to thank Sophfronia Scott for sending me a copy of her latest novel, Unforgivable Love, published by William Morrow, an imprint of Harper Collins. The expected publishing date is September 26, 2017.At 509 pages, Unforgivable Love is a long novel full of tangles of relationships among several characters. The chapters are told from different points of view, all in 3rd-person past tense. I was very excited to read this book; it’s a re-telling of a famous novel, but now with an all-black cast set in Harlem.As you can perhaps tell from the synopsis, Unforgivable Love is a big book of plots and schemes and sex. The characters aren’t what you’ve maybe read about the black community in Harlem in the 1940s because these are wealthy people. They don’t have to work; they mainly try to demonstrate who has the most power. Knowing that, I still had difficulty accepting the characters’ motivations.In the first few pages, we find a teen-aged Mae with her best friend, Alice. Quickly we learn the girls are sexually attracted to each other, but because Alice has unprotected sexual relationships with men, she’s pregnant, which causes her mother to marry her off. This moment impacts Mae forever, increasing her resolve to never be under someone else’s control — including men.Later, in her early 30s, Mae acknowledges she does want to be loved, despite her cold, calculating personality. But it’s all the work her mother did to make her a “respectable” heiress — trips to Europe, making sure Mae is beautiful, looking for the right kind of man to marry Mae — that has kept Mae safe from real love. Now, this moment is 32 pages into a 509-page book. Thus, readers need Mae thinking about her motivations throughout the book. She narrates her own chapters, so the opportunity is there. Without this thread of complex emotions running throughout the book, it’s easy for Mae to fall into a stereotype of villain.Val was the most confusing character. He swings from emotional to cold, loving Elizabeth and/or Mae. I never knew which way he was going to go, but I knew the 3rd-person narrator wanted me to dislike him. He ruins women’s lives to “amuse” himself. He makes “subtle calculations” and “measured out time carefully.” He’s like a snake when he lets a woman “marinate in her escape, or what she thought was her escape.” Yet he’s happy that “there were always a few bribable people who had access to her.” I was uncomfortable with a character who both stalks and loves the same woman, but more importantly, I didn’t understand his feelings.While I didn’t understand the characters, Sophfronia Scott’s writing was so spot on that in places it warmed me. Young Cecily, who spent a year with her great-aunt and uncle in North Carolina to keep her out of the city and “respectable,” learns to plant and sow, bake and feed, feel the rhythms of nature and her body. Thus, when she’s sexually excited, it’s so fitting that:When she reached the pinnacle of this exquisite ache she felt herself burst open like a bag of sugar…Most of these shining moments come from Cecily’s chapters. After a time in North Carolina, Cecily compares her new location to her home in Harlem. In the city:. . . there seemed to be fewer ways to mark time here, aside from a clock and a calendar. . . . The flowers couldn’t tell her the season because the ones she saw were often forced to bloom out of time. . . The people here were always insisting on their own time — time for drinks, time for church, time for dinner, time to dance, time to play bridge.And Harlem did seem like a rather odd setting for Unforgivable Love. Characters spend the most time in the country at Val’s wealthy aunt’s house. Based on everything I know about Harlem, I wanted to read more about what it was like to come off the back of the Harlem Renaissance, which ended in the mid-1930s. In the 1940s, there were riots and black politicians elected. At one point, Elizabeth has a debate with Val about the book The Street by Ann Petry, published in 1946. It’s contemporary, set in post-WWII Harlem. Elizabeth makes connections to the book, but Val says there are none because the main character doesn’t represent their Harlem lives. And I agreed. Even the one club the characters in Harlem visit is cut off from the rest of the city’s culture and people. I wanted more signs that I was in Harlem through characters reflecting on why Harlem is unique. Otherwise, any city would do.Unforgivable Love is a reimagining that slowly burns until closes with a bang. There are tangles that remain knotted because it’s unclear how they were tangled in the first place, and the goal to have revenge through manipulated sexual relationships was exhausting to this reader. I gather it makes a difference if you have read the 1782 French classic epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos first.

  • Christine
    2019-05-08 19:34

    A sexy, suspenseful, and lyrical retelling of Dangerous Liaisons, set in late 1940s Harlem - Sophfronia Scott is a gifted novelist with the heart of a poet. I read this novel in galleys and was immediately captivated - can't wait for it to meet other readers in the fall of 2017 when it will be published.

  • Sophfronia Scott
    2019-05-15 18:54

    This is my work of historical fiction and I'm grateful for all who take it up. Hope you enjoy it. :-)

  • Charlie Smith
    2019-05-20 02:52

    First, only fair to admit, I love unto the point of obsession all iterations of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, although I've not read the 1782 French original (and if you have, well, touch you) and lean rather more toward the 1999 re-telling,Cruel Intentions, featuring Ryan Phillippe's ass and his uncovering of the gay-sex between the characters played by Eric Mabius and Joshua Jackson.Thus, when I read about this novel in People Magazine, its premise of Dangerous Liaisons re-told in 1940's Harlem appealed to me, promising to be something I'd eagerly devour. Of course, I've been fooled before. Like a junkie, I read the book pages in any magazine I can get my hands on, and while I'm not a fan of People --- and that sentence is another blog entirely --- my sister subscribes and I tear out the book page and read all the quick-synopses, frequently suckered in by a good press-representative spin. All too often I then find myself starting one of these books and saying, WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT/WHO PAID THEM OFF - THIS IS AWFUL!Luckily, with Unforgivable Love, that was not the case.Sophfronia Scott's writing vividly brings to life a period, a Zeitgeist, a social milieu, and emotional landscapes with attention to detail in scene painting and the interiority of characters' thoughts, all contributing to a portrait of a historical time, place, and people whose lives and behaviors resonate in the now.The story is told in close-third, from the point-of-view of four main voices, Mae Malveaux, Val "Valiant" Jackson, Elizabeth Townsend, and Cecily Vaughn.Mae Malveaux is the reincarnation in this tale of the original's Marquise de Merteuil, a character who can easily come off as irredeemably loathsome and cruel. In this retelling, she is given a backstory which means to explain her cold as ice manipulations and calculated ruination of others, but, in the end, the author allows the character to remain unlikable, her malevolence grounded in her psychoses but never excused; the reader feels some empathy for her but not sympathy, which is as it should be. As one character says, "I don't know what good can come of anything that woman does....Still,....she is family and so I pray for her." What is refreshing in Sophronia Scott's version is that Mae is not demonized for her embrace of her sexuality. Her easy carnality is not portrayed as a character flaw, as is so often the case when writing about women (or, people, but, mostly, women) and it is not that which leads to her ultimate downfall.Val is the tale's iteration of the original's Vicomte de Valmont, and here he is far more sympathetic from the beginning than he is in other tellings of the tale. Despite his being an inveterate and unapologetic hound with a sketchy past and income from illegal sources, who uses and tosses aside women like chattel, he is early on imbued with a conscience and questioning of what it is he has done, is doing, and what it does to others. Though he plays at faith as a tool of seduction, it reaches him, touches him, and manages to change him by opening his mind to ways of thinking he'd not previously explored. More than any other character, Val arcs and grows.There is a great deal of faith in the story, the church and its ministers play a role in the story, especially in the denouement, but there is nothing preachy or pontifical, rather, Christian faith and community are central to the lives of some of the characters.The most faith-driven of the main characters is Elizabeth Townsend, who might have been a minister had her world been different and had she not been raised to cede control of her life to first her father, then her husband, Kyle, a civil rights lawyer who is largely absent from her life and the narrative as he is off fighting fights in the deep South. Val is challenged by Mae to seduce and corrupt the faithful and pious Elizabeth, she who has not ever fully explored nor embraced her own truth, her true desires --- desires on all levels, ambition, emotion, and sexual. It is in pursuit of a victory in overcoming Elizabeth's reluctance to live and feel that both Val and Elizabeth are permanently shaken, altered, brought to awarenesses that have the power to destroy them.Mae also sics Val on her young relative, Cecily, whose sexuality and self-awareness are nascent but bubbling to the surface, craving release. Val aims to corrupt her, part of Mae's plot of revenge against a past lover who considers Mae unfit to wed, and has managed to get the virginal Cecily pledged to him, enraging Mae.With so many seductions and so much scheming, this could easily veer into cheesy-soap-opera territory, but it never does. The sex scenes are sensual, lusty without being vulgar (though I have NO trouble with vulgar, licentious sex scenes) and at 506 pages, this is a longish read but it moves quickly in relatively short chapters and, despite my familiarity with the framework of the plot, there was a great deal of tension and suspense as I read, waiting to see how the characters would end up and by what method.

  • Diane
    2019-05-18 00:01

    Author Sophfronia Scott is by her own admission obsessed with all versions (books and movies) of Les Liasions Dangereuses. When her friend screenwriter Jenny Lumet said that there should be a version of the story with an African American cast, Scott got to work.Unforgiveable Love- A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons is set in Harlem during the summer of 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first black Major League baseball player, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.Mae Malveaux is a wealthy heiress, her mother having made her money inventing a hair gel and using young Mae's picture on the packaging. When her best friend is torn from her, forced to marry in older man and move to Detroit, it is an event that changes Mae forever.She doens't believe in love, she uses men's affections and throws them away when she is done with them. Valiant Jackson is a man who has a shadier reputation in Harlem- he is always seen in the clubs with a different beautiful woman every night, but Mae is the one woman he desires. He is obsessed with baseball, and follows Jackie Robinson's career rise.When Mae finds an opportunity to gain revenge on a man who left her, she strikes a bargain with Val- if he beds Cecily, the virginal young woman (and Mae's cousin) who is to be engaged to the man, Mae will finally sleep with Val.Much of the story takes place at Val's aunt's summer retreat in upstate New York. When Val arrives to begin his mission, he finds his aunt hosting Elizabeth, the lovely wife of a civil rights lawyer currently working down south.Val decides to while away the time waiting for Cecily by playing a cat-and-mouse game with the honorable Elizabeth. He schemes to get her to into bed, but when he develops real feelings for her, and she for him, it shakes his world.Even if you are familiar with the story of Dangerous Liaisons, Unforgiveable Love will still surprise you. Scott brings her characters to life, and 1947 Harlem is a terrific setting for this retelling. I also liked the role that baseball played in this story- Val teaching Elizabeth how to play the game is a unique and interesting plotline.The denouement of the story is set in a church, which is an integral part of the Harlem community. It is a heartbreaking novel, one that had me gasping at times, but ultimately there is some redemption for some of the characters. I also liked how the author shows us that women can own their sexuality, but with that also comes a responsibility to themselves and others.If you are a fan of Dangerous Liaisons, you'll want to put Unforgiveable Love on your TBR list. I recommend it. It would make a terrific movie or play, and I found myself casting the roles in my head.

  • Sandra Barron
    2019-04-30 01:40

    Flawless prose in the retelling of Dangerous Liaisons, set in Harlem & Westchester in the 1940s. A line that sums up the entire book and contains so much truth: "The heart was never satisfied with a little bit of caring. It was a greedy lump of muscle, quick to feast on the tiniest morsel of sincere admiration. But once the heart has consumed admiration, it always wanted more--demanded more." (Val). If you like social rituals, psychological manipulation, the rituals of the wealthy, characters sensitive to appearances, you'll enjoy this story.

  • TL
    2019-04-25 22:02

    my niece "helping" me take a picture:)

  • Lara
    2019-04-23 20:01

    A good retelling/revamp, although I will always prefer the original. I especially enjoyed the extra depth and characterization given to Cecily--no nunnery at the end for her! I have some issues with Elizabeth Townsend's end--I know redemption must always equal death for Valiant/Valmont, but surely in a more modern retelling, Tourvel/Townsend can make her way through life without expiation via death.Also--hey Hollywood, it's been 18 years since "Cruel Intentions". May I recommend this story? Michael B. Jordan would make a fine Valiant Jackson, I think, and I would love to see Janelle Monae play either the manipulatively charming Mae or the luminously-hopeful Elizabeth Townsend.

  • Stephanie
    2019-05-21 18:45

    The characters, twists, and turns of DANGEROUS LIAISONS are as compelling as ever in this retelling, set in 1940s Harlem. Whereas the original -- and the Glenn Close/John Malkovich movie many of us know -- seems to revel in the callousness of its main characters, Scott takes a much more redemptive view; it is in that gentler telling that we get to know our characters, and their motivations, even better. Scott does a phenomenal job of describing the feel of each location in the story, leading to an immersive read perfect for the beach or travel. I loved seeing how Scott made the story her own, while keeping true to the lies and deceit that makes the story what it is.

  • Ginger Pollard
    2019-05-12 23:47

    I have struggled to get through this book for a week. It just isn't getting anywhere. I can't waste any more time on it. Maybe one day I'll revisit it. I won an ARC of this book from Goodreads. Thank you, Goodreads.

  • Nicole Evelina
    2019-05-06 01:55

    Full review to come.

  • Patty
    2019-05-23 20:49

    A retelling of Les Liaisons Dangereuses set in 1940s Harlem. There are some immediate differences from the original: it's not an epistolary novel, which I have mixed feelings about; on the one hand, I LOVE epistolary novels, but on the other hand the third-person limited POVs certainly allow Scott to dig deeper into characters' motivations and feelings. In addition, the Marquise de Merteuil (here Mae Malveaux, wealthy heir to a cosmetics fortune, the products all emblazoned with her baby photos) is less of a main character, replaced in her central role by Vicomte de Valmont (Valiant Jackson, equally wealthy club owner and number runner, though stymied in his life-long dream of owning a baseball team; as another character puts it, no one whose money comes from gambling is ever going to be allowed to buy a sports team) and Cécile de Volanges (Cecily, still an innocent young girl, though in this case her inexperience comes from being sent to live on the family farm in North Carolina rather than a convent). The relationship between Val and Madame de Tourvel (Elizabeth Townsend, a deeply religious woman married to an important civil rights lawyer who is currently away working on a case down South) probably takes up the largest page-count of any of this story's many subplots, with Scott working hard to show how two such different people could find a genuine connection, one deep and true enough to change both of their self-images.The biggest difference, though, is one of tone; Les Liaisons Dangereuses revels in its characters' remorseless evil, and isn't particularly interested in giving them tragic backstories to account for their actions. The Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont are terrible, terrible people, but by God they're fun to watch. Unforgivable Love not only gives them those explanatory childhoods, but by making Elizabeth and Cecily equal narrators, shifts the focus from badass villains to normal people struggling with ethical choices. There's a general tone of redemption, of hopefulness, of the possibility of making good out of this tragedy. Which I can't really argue with as a philosophical standpoint, but it's not what I come to Les Liaisons Dangereuses for. It also contrasts harshly with some of the actions required by the plot; Cecily and Val's first sexual encounter in particular is incredibly uncomfortable to read, given that it's described in no uncertain terms as rape, yet Cecily gets over it immediately and happily returns to sleeping with Val. I also think the book's page-count of 500-plus was probably unnecessary; certainly there's a lot of twists and turns in this story, not to mention a fairly large cast of characters, but Unforgivable Love felt like it dragged in parts, particularly compared to the slim swift-moving original novel. But I feel like I'm complaining a lot here, and I didn't actually dislike Unforgivable Love. I love a good modern-AU fanfic (which is essentially what this is), and the analogies Scott has found for the characters' roles are clever and well-suited. Many of the descriptions of settings are absolutely lovely, from Harlem's jazz clubs to a rural farm to the lush grounds of an upstate mansion where much of the book takes place. Cecily's character arc of slowly coming to understand and accept her own sexuality is brilliant and well-written. I love Les Liaisons Dangereuses and will always be interested in retellings of it. Part of my disappointment with Unforgivable Love might simply be that my expectations were far too high. But even if it's not everything I wanted, it's well worth reading, and I hope it does well.

  • Lauralee
    2019-05-20 19:49

    Unforgivable Love is a retelling of the classic novel, Dangerous Liaisons set in Harlem in the 1940s. Mae is an attractive heiress who is the head of Harlem society and who loves to control her suitors at her whim. Val has wanted Mae for years. However, she keeps him at bay. One day, Mae strikes an opportunity for Val by making a deal with him. She asks him to seduce Cecily out of vengeance because Cecily is engaged to Mae’s former suitor, Frank. If Val is successful, he can have one night with her. However, Val seeks the attention of Elizabeth Townsend. She is loyal to her church and husband. However, Elizabeth sees redemption in Val and seeks to change his ways.Unforgivable Love is told from four points of view: Mae, Val, Elizabeth, and Cecily. Most of the characters are faithful to the original novel. Mae is the counterpart to Marquise de Merteuil. She is still a villain and very unlikable. She is cold-hearted, selfish, and manipulative. I relished her getting the punishment she deserved in this novel. However, Elizabeth was very sympathetic. She had a lot of patience with Val. She believed that he was redeemable. Val is selfish and is pleasure-seeking. Gradually over the course of the novel, he changes because of Elizabeth’s love. Because it took a long time for Val to grow as a character, I found him hard to like. The romance between Elizabeth and Val did not appeal to me. Instead, the character I was pulling for most was Cecily, and I was for her relationship with Frank. Cecily starts out as naive, but gradually she matures and is more confident in herself. I kept reading to find out if Cecily had a happy ending, unlike her counterpart in Dangerous Liaisons. Overall, this book is about the loss of innocence, growth and maturity, and faith. The characters were mostly like the original novel and the plot was loyal to the classic, but it had a twist. I really adored the setting of the high society of African-Americans in Harlem. This captivated me enough to read more novels set in that setting. Thus, Unforgivable Love was unique and original in its own way and was not just a straightforward retelling. The only thing I did not like about this book was that there were some scenes that made me uncomfortable. Still, I recommend Unforgivable Love to not just fans of the classic, but also to fans of Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, and Alice Walker.(Note: This book was given to me as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.)

  • Gianna
    2019-05-19 01:53

    ******Full Review over at G. Jacks Writes.******Unforgivable Love is a retelling of the classic Les Liaisons Dangerous, but I'm not familiar with the original story. What I do know is that this book is filled with this laid-back, passionate and vibrant imagery elegance from start to finish. The love and details of music associated with Harlem and the rippling complexity of each of the characters draw a number of favorable points for this book.Besides being set in one of my favorite eras, I found that the cockiness of the main characters was something that really kept me hooked almost right away because their confidence and self-assurance was not only entertaining but intriguing; almost daringly pulling the reader into their games with them. Likewise, the characters brought an infectious intensity, twists and at times bits of humor in the narrative. Like others will, I'm sure, I really loved the well laid out social intrigue between Mae and her inner circle.Like I said, I'm not familiar with Les Liaisons Dangerous, but I have seen Cruel Intentions (the film adaptation of the classic) and Unforgivable Love has it beat in my opinion. Scott has taken a fairly well-known story and just made it her own.Moreover, I don't think anyone should go without mentioning Scott's skill at retelling such a classic from the uniquely diverse perspective of African-Americans during the 1940s in Harlem. So little is often re-told with such an abundance of creativity and freshness with classics like this and little is known or can even be imagined of African-Americans with money and class during such an iconic era. Which only made me fall in love with this book even more.The world built and the characters in Unforgivable Love will hook any reader who enjoys a rich, visual narrative, 1940s Harlem, and Jazz on the cusp of the Civil Rights movement. With imperfect characters that you will find yourself loving to hate, hate to love, lost loves, the desire for love, revenge and so much more.

  • Marleen Jasper
    2019-05-23 18:39

    I really enjoyed this book. Sophronia Scott did an amazing job of capturing the feel of the time period. Her character development was great and the the events for the most part kept a good pace . The storyline was developed well enough to keep it interesting. You got to choose sides and take pause to decide how you would have felt or handled a particular situation. This factor made the book personable. the book held an authenticity that made the images and sounds just come to life. I am a huge fan of this time period which may have coaxed me into an enjoyment that may Be missed on others not so connected through experience to this location and lifestyle. I didn't give the book five stars because I think it got a bit wordy at some points which slowed the pace of the book, but overall I think it was a great read and can see it being enjoyable to most anyone. Great book club pick!

  • Ilene Harris
    2019-05-12 18:52

    A great historical fiction that is a takeoff of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereues, but this story takes place in 1947 in Harlem at a time when Jackie Robinson was breaking the color line in major league baseball. The main characters are heiress Mae Malveaux who rules society, and Valiant Jackson who also gets what he wants and he wants Mae. But to win her affection he has to woo her young niece Cecily who has her eye on Sam. But Cecily's mother wants her to marry Frank Washington who she thinks will be a better match. But the plot thickens because Valiant is really in love with Elizabeth who is married. What to do? You won't believe the ending, but I loved every minute. Thank you 'Good Reads' for this very good book!

  • Sarah Wagner
    2019-05-20 19:36

    This retelling of Dangerous Liaisons is one of the more original retellings I've encountered. While the story is familiar, the setting (1940s Harlem) and characters make the story fresh and alive. I appreciated the historical aspects of making this book set in a very real period, with allusions to Jackie Robinson breaking into major league baseball and the growing civil rights movement. I enjoyed the story more than I expected and I loved how the author made a very old tale new again.

  • Barb Eck
    2019-05-09 02:57

    I enjoyed this book very much. It takes place in Harlem in the 1940's after the war. Mae Malveaux is a leader of high society. She wanted complete control of her life. Valient Jackson has wanted her for years but would he do anything to have that chance. It is a dark romance with twists in the plot. I suggest you add this book to your list for fall.I was very happy to have won this book from Goodreads and really liked it.

  • Paula Pergament
    2019-05-05 00:38

    A retelling of Dangerous Liaisons set in 1930s Harlem is all the encouragement I needed to pick up this book. Scott establishes a solid setting and offers insight into the motivations of the story's villains. Her descriptions of characters and places, the clothes they wear and the cars they drive don't slow down the pacing or hamper her storytelling. Well written and engaging.