By B. A. Paris
Published by St Martin’s Press
What it’s about?
Knowing the truth will destroy her. Keeping it secret will destroy him.
It’s Livia’s 40th birthday, and her husband Adam is throwing her the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there, except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But Livia is secretly glad Marnie won’t be there.
Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. She needs to tell Adam, but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.
Adam, meanwhile, has his own surprise for Livia: he’s arranged for Marnie to secretly fly back for the party. But before Marnie arrives, Adam hears some terrible news. Now he too is faced with a dilemma: Does he share what he’s learned with his wife? Is hiding the truth the same as telling a lie? And how far are Adam and Livia willing to go to protect the ones they love—and give each other a last few hours of happiness?
What I think:
Argh! This is such a hard one to review.
It’s compelling, in a couldnt put it down, raced through it, easy to read way, but I also didn’t enjoy it!
The biggest problems for me is that most of the characters were all thoroughly unlikable, particularly the central couple, Liviva and Adam.
There’s some spoilers coming because there is no way I can explain my frustration with this book without them.
Despite repeatedly emphasising how much they love each other, one of their actions would suggest that. They are selfish and lie to each other about life changing things.
I found the basic premise of the story quite ridiculous. Livia found herself pregnant and married in a registry office at 17. Having never had the wedding of her dreams she spends the rest of her live saving for her future 40th birthday party! Who does this!?
She even chooses her family home based on which has the best garden for a party over fifteen years away.
Livia also keeps the secret that her daughter Marnie is having an affair with her best friend’s father. A man she calls ‘uncle’ and the father of her own best friend. Horrid! I don’t understand why on earth Livia failed to confront her daughter or the friend after seeing him walking around naked in the background of a video call.
And then there’s Adam. How he and Livia have remained married for so long I don’t know.
When he realises that their daughter may indeed have died in a tragic plane crash on her way home for the party he doesn’t mention it! Wtf! He doesn’t mention it at all Let’s them all smile and drink and celebrate.
He waits until the next day so he doesn’t spoil the long awaited party.
And then there’s the estranged mother who randomly turns up for 10 minutes. She hasn’t seen her daughter for over 20 years, pops in, says hello and leaves again.
And Livia just goes back to the party and smiles.
The more I think about this book and the characters the more I dislike them all. They should just all talk to each other.
This one wasn’t for me I’m afraid. Not because it wasnt well written – just implausible and utterly unlikable characters.
Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.
You can decide for yourself by ordering The Dilemma from:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here