I really appreciate the way that the books in this series are NOT retellings. The main character, Emma, sort of "falls into" Jane Eyre for points in the first book, Breath of Eyre (after she's struck by lightning) and then hallucinates herself into The Scarlet Letter in this one. I guess the way I'd put it is that the series uses these classics as a way to explore issues in Emma, the main character's life. In A Breath of Eyre, she's coming to terms with her mother's suicide. In this book, what she's coming to terms with is less clear. Her love life? Her independence? I sort of wish that A Touch of Scarlet had been a companion book with a new main character. It's not that I don't like Emma, but a lot of this book's plot seemed to be of the "drama for the sake of drama" variety and not much of the drama had anything to do with the Scarlet Letter. There were lots of instances of characters splitting up and moping and then getting back together, of characters kissing one another and then saying "I had no idea why I just did that." There's a gay rights subplot which is a welcome topic but, when folded into all The Scarlet Letter stuff, got a bit muddled for me. And I still have no idea why Emma imagines herself in some books but not others -- she's also reading Candide in French class and she never finds herself in the best of all possible worlds :)I do applaud the creativity of these books and am curious to see what the author does with Phantom of the Opera.