Author of the steamy ‘must-read of the summer‘ says it‘s more socially acceptable for a wife to have a ‘deceitful affair‘ than to admit feelings for another man

It is more socially acceptable for women to have ‘deceitful affairs‘ than to be honest about having feelings for someone else, the author of new summer must-read has claimed.

British writer Mary Loudon, 52, has won praise for her first novel My House Is Falling Down, which tells the story of Lucy, a married forty-something mother-of-two who finds herself attracted to a man 20 years her senior. 

But rather than keep her feelings a secret, Lucy decides to tell her husband Mark about the situation – and ask what she should do.  

The steamy novel follows as the couple navigate the situation, which Loudon described to the as ‘a love triangle where no one is actually lying to anybody‘.

The book, Loudon‘s first foray into fiction after a string of non-fiction titles, was published less than two weeks ago but is already causing a stir. 

It inspired a Woman‘s Hour debate on the topic last week and has been praised by critics and fellow authors who have praised its ‘truthful‘ exploration of marriage and a long-term relationship.   

Loudon explained the novel challenges the expectations readers – and society as a whole – seem to place on women within the context of infidelity. 

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‘My hunch is that it is more socially acceptable for a married woman with children to have a deceitful affair, than to admit openly to loving someone else,‘ the author said.

My House Is Falling Down has been hailed one of this summer‘s must-reads

She added that we are happy to dismiss men‘s infidelities ‘as we might swat away a fly at the window, but when a woman stretches the boundaries, people react as if she is undermining the fabric of our society.‘  

The book tells the story of photographer Lucy, who has six-year-old twins with husband Mark.

A meeting in an art gallery marks the start of Lucy’s relationship with Angus, a pianist 20 years her senior.

But rather than react aggressively when his wife tells him she has met someone else, Mark decides to wait patiently – once again challenging the norms. 

Loudon explained: ‘He doesn’t regard Lucy as his and yet he is devoted to her. 

‘One problem is that men are expected to behave aggressively when their partners let them down, yet there are plenty of men who wait, when waiting is the sanest thing to do.‘   

However Mark becomes increasingly resentful, while Angus presses Lucy for greater commitment. Eventually, she is forced into a decision.