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The Devil's Mistress by Virginia Coffman
WARNING: Review contains mild spoilers.

Virginia Coffman was a very capable writer. Her prose is effortless and immerses you in the story, so that you lose consciousness of there being an author (which in my opinion is the mark of a good storyteller). There are certain dated aspects to this novel but that's to be expected of one written in 1969 and set in that present day.

Christie is a young mother of two whose husband has divorced her after discovering her affair with another man. She's consumed by guilt (sexual guilt is a big theme in this novel) and desperately wants to reconnect with her estranged children. Following a period of rehabilitation at a clinic in San Francisco she goes to a spa called Lucifer Cove (not the most imaginative name, frankly) on the recommendation of a strange women she had met at the clinic.

Coffman does a wonderful job describing the pink-and-gold spa and its ambience of luxurious excess. Christie soon becomes emotionally involved with a mysterious man who may or may not be the owner of the spa. There's a devil-worshipping cult replete with a Greek revival temple on the hilltop (this is right off the 101 freeway -- ha!), and many of the guests at the spa appear to be involved with this cult. None of it is taken very seriously until Christie finds it increasingly hard to leave the spa (one way or another, every effort she makes to leave is thwarted). I won't give away the ending although the book's title leaves little to the imagination.

The Devil's Mistress was a fun read because Coffman was able to spin a heavy atmosphere over her story that at times was almost as hypnotic and pleasantly befuddling as the Lucifer Cove Spa was described as being. I read it in only two sittings, not merely because it isn't a very long novel but because I found it hard to put down.

I would rate this book four out of five stars -- lacking one star because I thought the denouement left something to be desired.
And it's book one in the Lucifer Cove series.
(11-25-2013, 08:42 PM)RareMale Wrote: And it's book one in the Lucifer Cove series.

Oh, I didn't know that. Thanks for informing me. I'll look for the rest in the series.
1. The Devil's Mistress
2. Priestess of the Damned
3. The Devil's Virgin
4. Masque of Satan
5. Chalet Diabolique / Chalet of the Devil
6. From Satan with Love

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