Warning: Possible spoilers for A Breath of Eyre.
From Goodreads: Emma Townsend is back at prestigious Lockwood Prep, but her world has altered immeasurably since her tumultuous sophomore year. The best change of all: her boyfriend, Gray. And though Gray is leaving for Coast Guard training, Emma feels newly optimistic, even if the pain of her mother’s long-ago death still casts a shadow.
Yet Emma isn’t the only one who’s changed. Her friend and roommate, Michelle, is strangely remote, and old alliances are shifting in disconcerting ways. Soon Emma’s long-distance relationship with Gray is straining under the pressure, and Emma wonders if she’s cracking too. How else to explain the vivid dreams of Hester Prynne she’s been having since she started reading The Scarlet Letter? Or the way she’s found herself waking in the woods? As her life begins to echo events in the novel, Emma will be forced to choose between virtue and love. But can she forge a new future without breaking her heart.
As the length of the summary might hint, A Touch of Scarlet has a lot of threads. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that these plot threads were woven well together nor did they seem to move towards any kind of point. Furthermore, I think my lack of knowledge of the novel this story is based off of, The Scarlet Letter, made it hard me to enjoy that aspect of the story.
I have a lot of trouble pinning this book down. I can’t decide whether or not it can be categorized as part of the supernatural genre or not, and this makes it difficult to understand when I’m supposed to suspend my disbelief or whether I should do that at all. Is Emma hallucinating or is there some sort of genetic thing with her mother? As this seems to be the main plot of the book (also difficult to tell whether this is true or not because it doesn’t seem to actually play a huge part in this book…), I would expect this to be clearer (or at least more focused on). Another plot point I had trouble with is Michelle’s side story which seems tacked on. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s something that I feel should have been referenced in the first book.
If I could do it again, I would probably pass this series by. I’d rather rewatch a different retelling of The Scarlet Letter, Easy A, instead.
Don’t just take my word for it!
“All in all, “A Touch of Scarlet” is another excellently-written and insightful literary work from Mont who encourages readers to follow their hearts even when it’s safer to remain a nameless face in the crowd.” – Reading for Pleasure
“Now, it’s not horrible that A Touch of Scarlet spends much more time within Emma’s own time, but I feel like the fact that she travels into these books is the major concept of this series, and I felt a bit let down by the fact that it wasn’t as big of a part of this book.” – The Overstuffed Book Case