MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
French President Francois Hollande held an uncomfortable news conference this week. What was supposed to be about policy began with this question: Is Valerie Trierweiler still France's first lady? That question came in light of reports that Hollande has been cheating on his longtime partner with another woman, an actress.
Well, in light of this story, we bring you this week's Must Read, where authors are inspired by the news to recommend a book. Today's author speaks from authority. She's an expert in the art of the romance novel - Sarah Wendell.
SARAH WENDELL: It's hard not to sympathize with a woman who's been betrayed, which is why the most satisfying book for this situation is all about revenge. It's "The First Wives Club," by the late Olivia Goldsmith. It was made into a popular movie in the '90s. But the book is better, sharper and more biting than the film. It's filled with bleak honesty and a deadly sense of humor.
The story begins with a suicide. Cynthia's husband has become successful and traded her in for a younger, slimmer woman. And when her three best friends come together for her funeral, they find that they're each in that same humiliating predicament. So they decide to take action. And since their shame is public, the punishment should be, too.
This revenge isn't just served cold; it's Costco-sized. One ex is arrested in front of a billion dollars' worth of clients in his own gallery. Another sees his priceless art collection sold for a dollar when he tells his ex-wife to just take care of it and send him the profits. The worst is reserved for Cynthia's former husband. It's a fantastic scene of outsized retribution involving his Jaguar and all of New York's high society.
This story doesn't exactly end with a kiss or a ring. But the happily ever after for the ladies in "The First Wives Club" is a real one: They get mad, they get even, and then they move on.
BLOCK: The book is "The First Wives Club," by Olivia Goldsmith. It was recommended by Sarah Wendell. She's author of the book "Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels."
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