Literary love affairs: 6 novels about forbidden love

If reading Infidelity has made you curious to check out more books about forbidden love, dive into these great reads.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles, our current Cityline Book Club pick, it’s that affairs are very rarely as sexy in reality as they might seem in fantasy. Sneaking around and keeping secrets is incredibly difficult, and for Ronnie and Charlie, it made their lives extremely messy. If reading Infidelity has made you curious to check out more books about forbidden love, dive into these great reads:

Eleanor Catton, The RehearsalThis debut novel from the Man Booker Prize-winning novelist takes place in the aftermath of a local scandal involving Victoria, a young female student, and her affair with her music teacher. Using a non-linear plot structure, Catton reveals how this affair affected other students and Victoria’s sister Isolde.

D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s LoverBanned books frequently detail illicit affairs, including this 1928 classic novel about the aristocratic Lady Chatterley and her forbidden relationship with her working-class lover. Their affair is the result of Lady Chatterley’s frustration with her lack of a physical relationship with her own husband, who was paralyzed from the waist down during the war. Throughout the novel she realizes that she can’t be in love with the mind alone, but that she also needs to have a physical love.

Ian McEwan, AtonementA cross-class love affair kicks off the drama in this British family saga which spans more than 60 years. But when young Briony mistakes her older sister’s consensual love affair for rape, she ends up ruining the lives of her sister and her sister’s lover.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet LetterIn 17th century Puritan Massachusetts, adultery is one of the worst crimes you can commit. The novel centres around Hester Prynne, a young woman who is found guilty of this sin after she gives birth to an illegitimate child. As punishment, Hester is forced to wear a scarlet ‘A’ to signify her wrongdoing.

Gillian Flynn, Gone GirlExtra-marital affairs are just a small part of the deceit layered throughout this best-selling thriller. Nick and Amy have done just about every bad thing in the book towards each other, but their illicit relationships add an extra level of drama.

Zoe Heller, Notes on a ScandalIn this 2003 novel (which later became a movie starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett in 2006), Sheba, a lonely, unmarried female teacher enters into a sexual relationship with an underaged student who is from a underprivileged background and has literacy problems. When a fellow teacher finds out and threatens her to end the relationship, Sheba struggles with making the right decision.

Do you have a favourite book that deals with forbidden love? Whether it’s a cross-class relationship or an illicit affair, we want to know about your favourite reads. Share them in the comments below!

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