A Congressman’s Sex Scandal from Twenty Years Ago Still Haunts His Wife and Daughters – by Kim Arbor
Ever since researching a history paper in junior high about 1920s-era President Warren Harding and finding out about his illicit liaisons in a White House closet with a young woman named Nan Britton, I’ve been fascinated with political sex scandals. And today it seems that every other week there’s a new story of another politician caught cheating on his wife. From Gary Hart and Bill Clinton to Gary Condit, Elliot Spitzer, Jonathan Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Herman Cain, etc., etc., it’s clear that the explosive combination of politics and sex never seems to go out of style.
And although we hear a lot about the wives who stand by their men, in my new novel, His Wife and Daughters, I wanted to also delve into how a political sex scandal affects a politician’s daughters. What happens to them when their father’s cheating becomes known, not only to his family, but to the entire world? What message does a man engaging in such reckless behavior send to his daughters? And what message does their mother send when she insists on standing by her man?
His Wife and Daughters starts in 1988 with Trina Brath and her teenage daughters, Jill and Phoebe, leading happy and privileged lives as the wife and daughters of successful five-term California Congressman Dan Brath. But all that changes when Dan, 52, is suspected of having an affair with Lesley Chisholm, a nineteen-year-old Washington DC intern who has gone missing. Soon Dan Brath is being accused in the harsh media spotlight of not only sleeping with Lesley Chisholm, but responsible for her disappearance.
Despite Trina’s standing by her husband and insisting he is not a murderer—yet keeping the secret that he has cheated on her many times before—the incessant media scrutiny puts a strain on the family, causing their lives to go into a tailspin.
Eight months later, when Lesley mysteriously returns home safe and sound, Dan Brath’s career is over, and his family is in tatters.
Today, the scandal that rocked the Brath family continues to take its toll. Amid media reports of new political sexploits almost every week, it’s a handy reference point for a gossip-hungry public. Besides her trust issues with men, Jill self-medicates with food. Phoebe leads a self-destructive life, having been estranged from the family for years. And Trina, who continues to blame Lesley Chisholm for the family’s financial and career misfortunes, maintains a codependent relationship with her husband.
To make matters worse, Lesley Chisholm is breaking her silence with a tell-all memoir—a book Trina is trying to stop—which is sure to make Dan Brath’s wife and daughters relive the trauma all over again. Will Jill, Trina and Phoebe be able to cope, heal their wounds and move on with their lives?
Told from the viewpoints of the three women, His Wife and Daughters is a moving story of how one family attempts to survive the ultimate betrayal.
His Wife and Daughters is available as a Kindle e-book on Amazon:
and a Nook e-book at Barnes and Noble:
Read the first chapter here: http://kimarbor.blogspot.com
I’m a San Francisco writer with an MFA and a serious addiction to gummy bears. When I’m not busy writing you’ll find me haunting the coffee houses of North Beach, exploring the city’s stairway streets and chasing cable cars that climb halfway to the stars.