A Touch of Scarlet
NEW this week…
A Touch of Scarlet by Eva Marie Mont
2 of 5 stars
Emma Townsend once again finds herself trapped between two worlds — her drama-filled life at Lockwood Prep, and Hester Pryne’s Puritan community from The Scarlet Letter.
I knew I had to escape and get back to the bridge if I wanted to be released from the spell. But what would happen if I couldn’t get out? Would I be stuck in Hester’s world forever? Was I as much a prisoner to my fate as she was?
I’ll admit, I’ve only read The Scarlet Letter once or twice, and it’s not nearly as interesting to me as Jane Eyre, but I wanted to read this ‘retelling’ anyways, as I enjoyed how the first book, A Breath of Eyre pulled the two worlds (real world vs literary world) together.
The writing is easy to read, making this a quick novel to finish. Although I still like the concept of Emma viewing her life in terms of classic literature (which is also why I’m a huge fan of the old Wishbone TV show!), I didn’t feel like Emma really related to Hester at all. Sure, she got in some spats with her friends and had a Bella-Swan-esque period of mourning for a bad breakup, but I didn’t feel she was isolated, a social pariah like Hester, nor was she bravely carrying a secret for someone else’s protection — which I see as the two main aspects of The Scarlet Letter which I expected to find here.
Instead, this story focuses more on the drama, drama, drama of Emma’s high school, with only a few very short trips into Hester’s world through strange, trance-like dreams which seemed like an afterthought. I felt like I was watching an episode of Gossip Girl rather than reading a book about The Scarlet Letter. With characters cheating on one another, coming out of the closet, obsessing about sex, and becoming activists for gay rights, there were too many story lines, and very few that really compelled me to keep reading.
Quoting from the book itself: “There was something so inherently ‘high school’ about the whole situation — all the tangled webs of relationships, the hurt and the angst — and of course, the inevitable focus on prom.”
Overall: Those who enjoyed the high school relationship focus of book one will enjoy this; those who loved the connection to a classic novel will likely be disappointed.