Woah. So I knew going into this that it was going to be heavy, and emotional but I wasn't totally prepared.
31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction - Marcia Gloster
Marcia Gloster was a college student traveling through Europe in the summer of 1963. When she arrived in Salzburg, Austria to study at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision, she envisioned a month of intensive painting, never expecting to find herself swept into a passionate affair. Nor did she imagine her lover to be a married instructor with a long history of indiscretions. Even at a young age, Marcia knew how to protect her heart. But it had never been taken by a man as overwhelming and sensual as Bill Thomson.
31 Days is the story of Marcia and Bill in Salzburg. 31 days that would redefine love, sex, passion, and permanence for a woman of twenty; and a month that would resonate in her life forever.
Deeply sensual, intensely vivid, and achingly beautiful 31 Days is a memoir that lives in all of us.
So right away, the art teacher and student immediately brought me back to one of my favorite books of all time, The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman. Except it wasn't like that at all, so I was kind of let down in that regard, but this book became special in its own way.
We have two young friends who are going to do a semester abroad for school over in Austria. They'll be attending a prestigious art school and immediately, Marcia feels an unnatural attraction to her much older professor, Bill. Bill is widely known as a playboy, he's married but has several mistresses and is known to sleep with students. Several other students try to warn her, and being young, she ignores their pleas, knowing full well she'll be left devastated in the end.
But instead of it being a one semester thing, she develops feelings for Bill, and while Bill does as well, it's not going to be on the same level as her. Instead, this lasts years. I honestly felt terrible for Marcia because it's like she knows this is basically a waste of time yet you know she's hoping it'll somehow change him and become more. I'm going to be honest, the ending? I teared up. I just felt so.... sad for her. The great thing about this book is that it doesn't sugar coat or romanticize what this relationship was- it was straight infidelity. Yet what makes this amazing is that you hold hope for the mistress, and you feel wrong about it. You find yourself rooting for Marcia even when she wonders about Bill's wife, even his other lovers, and yet you know there is something about her that Bill needs. Except Bill doesn't appear to ever acknowledge that, or if he does, he doesn't think he deserves it. It was just really interesting. A bit slow in parts, but I didn't have any trouble finishing this one up quickly.
You can pick this book up at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. You'll love it.