My Wife's Affair

My Wife's Affair

by Nancy Woodruff

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Peter accepted his fate as a failed novelist turned semi-successful businessman, but even after three children, his wife Georgie always held onto the actress inside her.

When Peter gets a job in London, the move sets Georgie down a seductive path to the life she always wanted. Landing a one-woman show, she is drawn into the romance of the stage and begins to feel a kinship with her character-Dora Jordan, a famous eighteenth-century actress who had thirteen illegitimate children, ten fathered by the future King of England-and develops an irresistible attraction to the show's playwright, beginning an affair that will irrevocably change her life, her marriage, and her world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101186879
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/15/2010
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 881,032
File size: 267 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nancy Woodruff received her MFA from Columbia University, where she won the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award. She taught writing at Columbia and SUNY Purchase before moving in 1997 to London, where she taught for eight years at Richmond, the American International University. She currently lives in Brooklyn and teaches at New York University.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A beautiful but devastating novel of infidelity, a gripping story of a woman devoted to her family but driven by her ambition." Ann Darby, author of The Orphan Game

Reading Group Guide


A smart, sexy novel about a woman's search for her former self on the London stage

Georgie and Peter, very much in love, move to London with their three children. Once there, Georgie's dormant acting career takes off and she wins the role of Dora Jordan in a one-woman show. Dora Jordan was the most famous comic actress of the eighteenth century (she had thirteen illegitimate children, including ten by the future king of England).

As Georgie rehearses for her part, she becomes increasingly drawn to Dora Jordan, who she sees as a working mother with struggles exactly like her own. And when Georgie can no longer fight her attraction to the playwright, she begins an affair with tragic results.

Narrated by Peter, a failed-writer-turned-businessman, My Wife's Affair is about infidelity, passion, duty, and about finally getting what you want and then wanting still more.


Nancy Woodruff received her MFA from Columbia University, where she won the Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award. She taught writing at Columbia and SUNY Purchase before moving in 1997 to London, where she taught for eight years at Richmond, the American International University. She currently lives in Brooklyn and teaches at New York University.

  1. Why do you think the novel is narrated by Peter? More often we hear the point of view of a wife who has been cheated on—how is this different?
  2. Is Peter a reliable narrator? Is it possible that he could be? How would the novel be different if told from Georgie's point of view?
  3. Were you familiar with Dora Jordan before you read this book? Were you surprised by her story? What contemporary relevance does it have? Why do you think Georgie becomes so obsessed with her?
  4. Georgie fights for the play to conclude with Dora onstage, in front of an audience, rather than with the tragic ending Piers writes. Yet the novel itself ends on a devastating note. What do you make of that?
  5. Are Georgie and what she did sympathetic? Why or why not? Does her affair with Piers make her a bad mother?
  6. Forgiveness is a big theme in the novel. Should Georgie have been able to forgive Peter for what he did? Should Peter have been able to forgive Georgie?
  7. What is your opinion of Piers?
  8. Do marriages break up solely because of infidelity, or are there other, underlying reasons?
  9. While contemplating his wife's triumph as an actress, Peter says, "The strangers in us [are] always meeting the strangers in others, even when the others are ones we have loved." In what ways are Peter and Georgie strangers in this book? Are all husbands and wives are strangers to some extent?
  10. How do Georgie's and Peter's professions influence their behavior?
  11. What are the tensions between Georgie's life as an actress and her role as a mother? Do most women experience these tensions?

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My Wife's Affair 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
laVermeer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My Wife's Affair is fast-moving tragedy, elegantly rendered and shocking. Nancy Woodruff writes with an attractive style, despite a narrative tone that is ominous from the opening lines of the text and grows increasingly threatening as the story advances.The novel, as the title declares, traces a woman's affair from the point of view of her husband. This perspective produces a not-quite-omniscient narrator who brings an unusual degree of insight to the telling. Along the way, readers are invited to contemplate their own notions about love, children, art, justice, and what it means to live a fulfilling life.This novel should appeal to literary readers, particularly those who enjoy studies of emotions and relationships.
mountie9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok, this one is going to be a hard one to review and would have much rather reviewed it before I read the final two chapters. It is going to so difficult to explain what I didn't like about this book without giving anything away (which is something I totally dislike in a review) I will try my best!Good Stuff * Beautifully written, but tragic * The narrator's obvious love for his wife is so beautifully described * The narrator's wife is wonderfully theatrical (although quite the self involved tramp) * The character of Fergus is delightful with his wise comments and constant questions * Painfully uncomfortable and realistic portrayal of a marriage and of the tediousness of being a parent * Portrayal of the life in the theatrical world is fascinating * Historically accurate and makes me want to know more about Dora Jordan * Haunting tale of betrayal, passion and not being satisfied with what you haveNot So Good Stuff * The frickin last two chapters. Let's rip out your heart, stamp on it, and than stamp on it again. Way too depressing for my sensitive nature * I repeat, the last two chapters! * Irritated at times with how much of a drama queen the wife wasWhat I Learned (some spoilers in this - don't read if you don't want TMI) * Cheating bad -- don't do it! Especially with boring sounding English guys. * My god, I really really want to visit England * Actors are extremely selfish and self involved * I really don't like to read things that involve bad things happening to children (oh never mind, we already know how much I hate that) * Loved the scenes of the play within the story, made me want to see the fictional playFavorite Quotes and Passages"We try, we husbands and fathers, we really do. I just want to tell you that. We may not find the perfect triceratops pajamas on sale four months before the birthday""Peter, Peter, the world is a girl you're trying to get to sleep with you, and you'll never succeed if you tell her your failures""And yet had she known what was going to happen to her, to us, I know she would gladly have traded each moment of passion for decades of the tedium she then so fiercely attacked""It is inconceivable to me now that I could stand in a room with this man who in a matter of weeks would be F*****g my wife-who probably was thinking of nothing but that as we talked""Oh, Georgie, weren't there already enough of us who adored you? Why did you need one more"Who Should Read * Not for the sensitive reader due to last 2 chapters * Those with a love for the theatre and English theatrical history * Those enjoy stories of scenes from a life * Not for those who enjoy happy endings
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well written, but the ending was needlessly manipulative.
akblanchard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was beautifully written, well paced, and accurately portrayed many of the emotions involved in marriage, motherhood and art. The juxtatposition of the modern story of Georgie and her husband and that of Mrs. Jordan, an 18th century actress and mistress to royalty, is effective.Although the tragic ending is foreshadowed throughout the book, it still comes as a shock, and I do see why some have characterized it as manipulative. I wasn't totally satisfied, either. But I don't think it detracted from the beauty of this book.
avon1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really like this book. It was a very good read. I liked the story, the ending however tragic, was still good. As the title suggests it is about the consquences that an affair has on a family.
SilversReviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was wavering between a 4 and a 5 the entire way through the book, and then the ending brought it all the way up to a 5/5.The book is narrated by Georgie's goes back and forth telling about the life of Dora Jordan also an actress/comedian who Georgie portrays in a one-woman show and Georgie's life with her husband and three boys. Georgie left the stage in New York to be a stay-at-home mother, but now that her husband has been transferred to London and the children are enrolled in London schools, she wants to go back to work in the theater. Georgie lands the role as Dora Jordan on her first tryout. The play is a hit for Georgie, and she ends up traveling and leaving her husband and children for long periods of time and having an affair with the director. Her heart aches every time she leaves her children, but she still won't give up the touring. The ending will haunt you long after you turn the last will enjoy the book and not want to put it down.
ellisonWM More than 1 year ago
A writer husband and an actress wife move from NYC to London where the wife gets a role in a one-woman play. She is attracted to the writer of the play. Heartbreaking.
AmberMist More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of books and I came across this from magazine ratings. I read what it was about and it caught my attention. I like the way it's based on a true story and it entwines with fiction. This is a "dark" book of sorts and I am a dark movie fan. I don't reread too many books, but I would this one. Hope you enjoy!