Updated: Sep 25, 2021
I loved If We Were Villains, and I liked The Margot Affair quite alot. I started and stopped two other books in this category; it's a pretty broad category. I'm putting genre-less fiction, any comedies, and historical fiction here. I go more for science fiction, fantasy, bit of mystery, some classic fiction more than contemporary general fiction. I don't know why, but here are two good ones.
The Margot Affair- Sanae Lemoine
This was a little slow at the get-go, but not dull. It examines several facets of a girl's (Margot's) relationship with her parents and with a pair of adult friends. It's translated from French and set in Paris, and it felt very foreign to me. The main character is the secret daughter of a man who is married with two grown sons in his acknowledged, legal family. He comes around to visit Margot and her mother when he can, and she wants more of him. None of the few people who know about the secret family are shocked, which is so different than how most Americans would react, I believe.
Part of the reason that I wanted to read this book is that I read about it on a food blog, Smitten Kitchen, who put up a recipe for a tart mentioned in the book. When I searched to try to find where I'd read about the food in the book, I saw at least one other recipe on another site.
One thing that was really cool was that when the characters weren't eating amazing-sounding French food, they were eating canned food and cereal. The French Women Don't Get Fat lady said that they don't do things like that, but I guess some of them have horrible eating habits like Americans. Ha!
The relationship with two adult friends is another major plot-line. There's... alot going on there, but I thought that the relationship between Margot and her parents was the more interesting.
I was not really hooked on it for the first half, but I was along for the ride, feeling like a tourist, and then it got good.
If We Were Villains- M. L. Rio
When I finished this book, I wanted to buy my own copy and read it again. My library had it marked as mystery, but I think of it as a drama. This, like The Secret History, is a book I learned about on Tumblr after missing them the first time around. This came out before I was doing collection development at the library and reading all the book reviews. I wish I knew whose Tumblr posts I first saw; I'd like to thank them.
This book is about a small group of theater students who have spent so many years steeped in Shakespeare that they quote him constantly. They are in their last year at a prestigious conservatory, putting on shows that sound fascinating. They've been studying and acting and living together for so long that their roles on- and off-stage are starting to bleed into each other.
They begin to fall apart as a group when their most volatile member begins to bully the others. Then he is badly injured, and when the others find him, they leave him to die. The guilt and worry eat away at the others. The main character, Oliver, believes that they've read, acted, and otherwise absorbed too much Shakespeare, that their emotions are too heightened.
There are elements of mystery to it. They don't know, and don't much care, how their friend came to be floating in a lake all crumpled up. Then clues start leaking out. And a cop is sniffing around. So, I think it's fair to call it a mystery. I call it drama because it is more about the relationships between all the friends.
I think that most Shakespeare nerds would love this. Also anyone who likes boarding school/college drama, or unconventional mysteries. I really want to go back to read it, because there was so much going on that I don't know if I'm straight on what happened to first cause trouble in the group.
I love, love, love a book that makes me want to immediately read it again. I'm definitely going to buy my own copy one of these days.
Please let me know if you've seen a great Tumblr post or Pin about either of these books.