Almost exactly two years ago I read and reviewed The Trials of Adeline Turner by Angela Terry and loved it. Now Angela Terry is back with another book set in the same world called The Palace at Dusk and it comes out on October 24!
Full disclosure, when I first started reading the book I wasn’t sure how I would like it because it does include the cheating trope, but by the end I really liked it.
The novel follows Jasmine “Jae” Phillips and her years long love affair with Brad Summers. They are both minor characters in The Trials of Adeline Turner so I vaguely remembered that Brad had a messy and chaotic situation at home/in his marriage (parts of the last 1/4 or so of the book overlap with events in The Trials of Adeline Turner). When the novel starts, Jae is a relatively new lawyer at a large firm in Los Angeles. One of her colleagues is Brad whom she had been friends with a few years ago when they were both summer associates. They liked each other back then and Brad had asked her out, but she was in a long distance relationship so nothing happened.
Now they work together again, but Brad mostly keeps to himself so when he randomly asks her to get a drink with him after work she’s surprised. After a few outings, she knows she likes him a lot, but one of their other co-workers warns her that she thinks she heard he has a girlfriend. After they spend a little more time together and actually become intimate, it becomes evident that Brad is keeping something from her and he tries to tell her but she is not ready to hear something that will keep them apart. It doesn’t take long for it to come out that Brad is married and has a infant daughter. They know it’s wrong to stay together, but they are in love. They do try to end things, but over the years they keep coming back together until finally Jae decides she needs a clean break and moves to San Francisco to work at the firm where her law school best friend works. But will moving hundreds of miles away change how they feel about each other?
I don’t want to spoil the book, but I will say that despite my dislike of the cheating trope this was a really good book that hooks you in and is a great example of how things aren’t always black and white and we can’t help who we love. Yes, cheating occurs, but Brad’s wife manipulated him into marriage and staying in the marriage for years (i.e. threatening to self-harm, keep him from his daughter, etc.) so I feel like this book is a little less about just a cheating jerk and more about Jae’s growth over the years and also two tortured people in love.
I will say that though the affair takes place over many years, I’m really happy that the author fast forwarded through it because I don’t think I would’ve liked it as much if the bulk of the book was about the details of the affair. I think that also wouldn’t have made Jae likable and I think she’s actually a really good character. Sure, both her and Brad or flawed, but they’re not bad people. I don’t think there are any bad people in the book (except for maybe one or two manipulative characters). I do wish that that the ending was fleshed out more so readers could see more of Jae’s happy ending though!
Overall, I really liked this book and I’d definitely read another book set in the same world!
*I was sent this book complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.*