Square AffairTimmothy J. Holt’s Square Affair is not my normal type of read, but I decided to go a bit out of my comfort zone with this one.

Set in a small Midwestern town in the 1960s, Square Affair explores the impact of a public indecency trial on the accused, their families, and the community as a whole.

I found Square Affair a compelling read.   The small town gossip is familiar to anyone who has spent time in towns like this- everyone knows what’s going on with everyone else. Or they at least think they do.  And everyone feels free to judge without knowing the whole story.  Reading Square Affair with an eye of 2015 looking back to the 1960’s- before my time- it’s easy to see how much things have changed, and how much they have remained the same.  It’s a novel not out of place now.

The most interesting parts of the story to me were those of the accused men and their families.  Some of these men struggled mightily with who society expected them to be and who they are at their core. Each of them has a choice to make on how they want to live the rest of their life, knowing that their indiscretion and future choices impact not just them, but their families.

The spouses are an intriguing part of the story, too. Each of the women must decide if she is willing to stay with her marriage knowing what she does about her husband, or if living truthfully is better.  Similarly, this same argument plays out among parents and children and communities and neighbors.

The key is, there isn’t an obviously right or wrong answer here.  That’s the beauty of the book. It doesn’t present black and white answers, but more the inner turmoil of the people involved.   Each of the men has his own reasons for his choices, illustrating once again that we are all complex individuals with different motivations for our behavior.

I did feel like Square Affair wrapped up and ended rather abruptly.  I felt like there could have been a little more, or rather, I didn’t expect to go from the last scene in the book into an immediate Conclusion. Overall, though, I enjoyed Square Affair.   I encourage anyone with an eye towards current events to take a read of this one.

I was offered an advance copy of this book for review in exchange for an honest review.  I have not seen the published copy, so I am not sure if there are any major differences based on the difference in editions.