My novel, With Friends like These, has a strong theme of betrayal by a friend — the kind of person I like to call a "friend fatale". To inspire my writing I started with the Bible, moved on to Shakespeare — Julius Caesar! Othello! Macbeth! — then devoured the holy grails of heartfelt betrayal you see below.
What takes a friend to friend-fatale? It has everything to do with the deftness of their method, since the dueling is all the darker when a character does it on the sly. While the bylaws of friendship don’t require full disclosure of behavior, the chicanery in these novels — a healthy mix of classics and clever chick lit — is as deft as a sharp knife in the back.
by Jane Austen
Pick an Austen, any Austen, and you'll see at least one friend-fatale, but this is my favorite, thanks to Lady Russell's treatment of Anne Elliot, whom she convinced to break up with the love of her life.
by Judy Blume
Judy Blume may have you at Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, but this novel isn't for the Tween set. With plenty of sex to prove it, the story deftly plumbs the psyche of an adult female, earning it more than 1,000 glowing customer reviews on Amazon.
by Emily Giffin
Lovers of this author's bestselling oeuvre say her debut, about the meaning and value of friendship, set the bar high. She cast her heroine in a less-than-flattering light, surrounded her with a constellation of likable characters and told the tale with wit.
by Margaret Mitchell
Nothing like a war — or a love triangle — to keep a plot moving. Melanie may have been the ancestral godmother of Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, but we love this Southern classic for naughty, done-her-wrong Scarlett.
by William Makepeace Thackeray, introduction by Nicholas Dames
In this 19th century Brit-lit classic, Becky Sharp is a calculating adventuress not above using friends to satisfy her greed and ambition — which she balances with sufficient charm to make you really, really like her.
by Jennifer Weiner
When Addie and Valerie reunite a decade past graduation, they repair what had ripped them asunder, once upon a time, in a plot handled with finesse by an author who's now American chick-lit royalty.
by Edith Wharton, introduction by Louis Auchincloss
Dashing the idea that females are the worst snarks, each chum with whom Newland Archer ever clipped a cigar piles on to quietly make sure this Łber-WASP doesn't leave his dull, conniving May for the infinitely more ravishing, star-crossed Countess Ellen Olenska.
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About Sally Koslow
Sally Koslow most recently wrote With Friends Like These, a novel about four contemporary women that reviewers found “achingly real.” She’s also the author of The Late, Lamented Molly Marx, a Target Book Pick and German bestseller, and Little Pink Slips, inspired by Rosie O’Donnell kicking her upstairs when she was editor-in-chief of McCall’s Magazine. You can read excerpts of Koslow’s novels at her website.
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