The Dilemma by B.A. Paris
Genre: Contemporary Women, Thriller & Mystery
Published: January 2020, HQ
Swathi’s Rating: 4.5/5
Verdict: Brilliantly structured domestic drama that would pass for a pacy, psychological thriller!
About the Book:
A woman’s birthday party takes a dark turn in a poignant, heart-stopping new novel from the reigning queen of suspense, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors.
Livia is finally having the birthday party she always dreamed of. When she and her husband Adam fell pregnant as teenagers, she was disowned by her parents. Their marriage has had its ups and downs, but now, twenty years on, they are blissfully happy now with their two grown-up children, Josh and Marnie. And tonight, Adam is throwing Livia the party of a lifetime, to make up for the fairytale wedding they could never have.
Marnie has been studying abroad and can’t make it to the party. Livia can’t help but be slightly grateful for this, as she’s recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. For just one night, Livia wants everything to be perfect.
Adam, meanwhile, has set up another surprise for his wife: Marnie will be secretly flying back for the family celebration. But soon it emerges that Adam is faced with a dilemma of his own, and he too may have to keep a terrible secret. After all, if you could give the person you love the most in the world a few more hours of happiness, you would . . . wouldn’t you? As the day of the party dawns, one thing is clear: Marnie’s arrival could shatter everything.
B.A.Paris is one author that, I know, wouldn’t disappoint even if you pick her books without reading the blurb. In a letter to her readers about the book, she writes “I’ve always been fascinated about that gao in time between someone receiving bad news, and then having to tell the person they love that bad news. I wanted to take this a little further and explore just how far someone might go to give the person they love a last few moments of happiness. Can it be considered an act of love, or an act of selfishness”. And I’m here to assure you, she delivers exactly what promises!! I think the author is challenging the reader to choose whether to love or despise the characters based on their acts of impulse!
It’s a rather simple plot. Livia plans her 40th birthday with such efforts for so many years that it feels almost selfish to waste money on a party when you’ve two grown up kids! Liv has never had a proper wedding, so this party is everything she has wished throughout her life and she’s saved every single penny for it. But when she finds out a MASSIVE secret, she knew it would destroy Adam and hence destroy her much-awaited party! So she decides to keep it to herself, and then reveal to Adam, just when the right moment comes alone. Right after the party, of course!!
Husband Adam, consumed by his old guilt of not being there for Livia during their younger days, wants everything to be perfect for Livia on the day of the party. He’d do anything to see her happy. Even if it meant keeping a HUGE unavoidable secret for a few more hours, until the party gets over!
It’s only after reading the book that I realised the entire plot was an elaborate description of the happenings of a single day, more precisely the day of Livia’s grand party. The book is brilliantly structured by the very talented B.A. Paris and narrated from the POVs of Adam and Livia. There is a timeline that takes us from the start till the moments leading up to the party and end of the day it feels like reading a pacy psychological thriller, not a domestic drama! There is no putting down once you’ve started reading the book, I promise you that.
The Dilemma is a story with a LOT of secrets (pfff obviously!!!), denial, betrayal, rejection that happens within a family and the love and compassion that still keeps them together through thick and thin. Completely absorbing read recommended highly, if you’re looking for a pacy domestic thriller. Many thanks to HQ for having me on the very special, official blog tour where FIFTY bloggers talk about this lovely book. So proud to be on this!
Meet the Author:
B.A. PARIS is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. This is her fourth novel.