Touch of Scarlet Review

                                      Amazon (Kindle Copy)/Barnes and Nobles (Nook Copy)

“The Scarlet Letter was going to kill me” (Page 1)

Songs for “Hypothetical” Soundtrack for Novel:

There is something painstakingly heartbreaking about this song,and the intense,unrelenting melodrama of Touch of Scarlet  definitely suits this song. Plus, its based on the The Scarlet Letter, much like this book is.” (Yes, the vocalist looks like Black Widow at points in this music video.) 

 “More-so than the song above, this song was the one I kept hearing in my subconscious while reading this book. Once you read the book, you’ll know what I mean.”


“For me, this song really conveys the aggressive side of Emma’s emotions that she feels at certain intervals throughout the novel. While this song might be a bit too extreme in the emotional department, especially in comparison with this book, I really feel that this song does a good job of matching the frustrating emotions that Emma grapples with in a neat, techno-Gothic manner.”


      . Overall, Eve Mont’s sequel to A Breath of Eyre, A Touch of Scarlet, focuses much more on Emma’s life spent outside the books she loves to quite literally escape into (if only it were just in a proverbial sense). The events of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Scarlet Letter are not explicitly retold, in the same way that major events from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre  were explicitly retold in A Breath of Eyre.  Instead, The Scarlet Letter  becomes an allusive background to the grittier melodrama that is occurring within Emma’s real-world setting. Her palpable sense of estrangement that results from a devastating emotional event before starting another year at school forces her to stay outside the psychic confines of the world of the books that she can telepathically inhabit at will.

      With effective prose,well-developed characters, and a finesse at evoking realistic character drama, A Touch of Scarlet  exceeds A Breath of Eyre  in terms of feeling like a more unified story. The fragmented construction of A Breath of Eyre  was of course incidental, mirroring Emma’s adolescent identity crisis. In many ways, Jane Eyre  revolved around the search for one’s identity, while The Scarlet Letter  concerns the tumultuous drama that accompanies heart-break and passion of any kind. The Scarlet Letter  has become a readily identifiable allusion, used in  Buffy the Vampire Slayer  and the film: Easy A.  There is something universal about the trials and tribulations of romance: the sordid alter-ego of blissful romance.
    A Touch of Scarlet  rivets the reader, as Eve Mont plumbs the emotional depths of the newest challenge that Emma faces throughout this novel, and she does it in a very mature and satisfying way. It is very hard to find Young-Adult fiction that goes beyond the pale of the superficial, and succeeds with creating something with so much depth and realistic drama. While I loved A Breath of Eyre,  this novel felt more polished, shrewd, and daring with where it was willing to go for the sake of making readers turn the pages more fiercely.
   Its very rare for me to find something that perfectly matches my own experience of watching Roman Polanski’s eternally frustrating adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’uberville. This book was one where I was shouting at character’s foolhardy decisions and hoping that they wouldn’t be so obstinate at points, where a certain realization would make the difference between staying together with a certain someone or effectively sorting out things in their messy life. No, this isn’t a criticism. It is praise for a book that made me feel very invested in what was happening with the characters.

   It was really reassuring to see that there will be yet another installment, based around one of my favorite novels, The Phantom of the Opera. Hopefully, it will be as nail-bitingly(Is this even a grammatically correct term?) frustrating in the emotional drama department. The last series to make me feel such aggravating, yet sweet,dramatic frustration was Downton Abbey. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Justin, I am so touched that you continued with the series and got as invested in the characters' lives as I did! Thank you for such a thoughtful and tantalizing review!!


  2. Justin B. says:

    Your welcome! I cannot wait to see how the plot thickens in the next installment.


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