cover image The Art of Scandal

The Art of Scandal

Regina Black. Grand Central, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5387-2277-0

Black’s steamy and evocative debut kicks off at white liberal D.C. mayor Matt Abbott’s 40th birthday party, where his Black wife, Rachel, discovers he’s having an affair. Knowing she signed an ironclad prenup, Rachel fears destitution should she leave Greg outright and negotiates for a million dollars and their suburban home in exchange for her silence during campaign season. But playing the perfect politician’s wife becomes harder after she meets Mexican American Nathan Vasquez, 10 years her junior and the scion of another prominent local family. Nathan, an exceptionally good listener, offers comfort, respect, and admiration for Rachel as both a woman and an artist. Their emotional affair is stop-and-start as both try to fight their undeniable connection. Things heat up, however, when Rachel chooses Nathan as the featured artist at an upcoming gala she’s hosting. As their feelings intensify, so does the risk of their affair causing a scandal that will destroy both their lives. Subplots about Nathan striving for independence from his domineering family and Rachel rediscovering the passion for art that she put on hold to support Greg add emotion and nuance to the story. As poignant as it is passionate, this marks Black as a writer to watch. Agent: Sharon Pelletier, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Aug.)