What WAS She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]

Welcome to the life of Barbara Covett, a teacher at the local school. Her life is irreparably altered with the arrival of Sheba Hart, an alluring art teacher. The book is written from Barbara’s point of view and we learn the events of her and Sheba’s lives that throw them together and inevitably rip them apart.

Read onwards!


Sheba and Barbara teach a bunch of raging hormones. Age plays against Sheba (or in her favour?) and she begins an affair with one of her students. So many red flags in the run up to this event, but they are dutifully ignored by Sheba. SO. MANY. RED. FLAGS. And you truly read most of the book saying to yourself, “WHAT IS SHE THINKING??”

It’s not until you get through half of the book, that you come to realise that sense of ill-ease also applies to Barbara. She becomes increasingly possessive of her place in Sheba’s life and in her confidences. In a moment of spite, she reveals the affair to a colleague. Betrayal at its finest. But Barbara comes out like a cat who has the cream, even though she is implicated for her role in the affair.

The novel points out the differences between peoples’ living situations very well. Barbara lives with her cat, and the descriptions of the objects filling her house are underwhelming. Sheba has a lovely house with her husband and two children. While Sheba’s interfamily relationships are rocky, the image is one of happiness and joy.

Obsession is a theme that runs strong throughout the whole book, as well. Barbara is obsessed with Sheba, Sheba is obsessed with Stephen. The obsessions run so strongly that they are willing to give up their jobs and their families/ friends in order to pursue them. I think it translates interestingly into all aspects of life. As they say, everything in moderation!

Why indeed, Regina?

I watched the movie before reading the book, but I believe both are excellent and lead you on a roller coaster of psychological suspense! Give it a go!

Any future recommendations, friends? 

Cite your ish:
Book cover


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