The Dilemma is unfortunately a book I didn’t enjoy and one I won’t be recommending to anyone, ever. I dived in expecting a thriller, a mystery, a suspenseful novel. What I got was everything but.
About The Book:
It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.
Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.
The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?
One day that will change a family forever.
In the Dilemma, we follow the life of what seems like a normal family, and we slowly start to uncover their secrets. The mum is busy planning her 40th birthday party – a huge celebration to make up for the fact that she never had a wedding ceremony. Her husband is slightly annoyed at this, but tries to make her happy. Whilst planning a surprise, he learns that something bad may have happened – and this is where the dilemma appears. Should he tell his wife now, or wait until the party is over. At the same time, the mum also learns a secret, and she is also doubting whether she needs to tell her husband.
And that’s one of the main issues with this book. The couple spend all the book not talking to each other.
I am sorry, but what kind of relationship is that? What kind of a marriage?
The other issue is that the dad is not even sure that something bad happened – but he also refuses to find out more. There were so many ways he could have checked if that information was true, but instead he chose to spend all day worrying about it.
Then, we also have a woman who has been dreaming for a 40th birthday celebration to replace the wedding she never had. I will never be able to understand her obsession to push something into happening, to force a celebration in which she makes all guests believe she is the bride. Let’s just conclude this to be a desperate need for attention and just leave it there…
I was so frustrated with every character’s decision and their decision making process as well. There was no logic in some of the actions they were taking, and it felt like the book was dragged to be much longer than is actually needed. There was also little to no mystery in this book – just some weird “secret-hiding-family-drama” scenarios that were mediocre at best.
But I’ll give credit where credit is due – I liked the writing. The scene descriptions were vivid and the chapters ended on a note that made you want to keep going – and that is the sole reason I managed to finish this book.
If you’re ever in a Dilemma (see what I did there?) as to whether to pick this book up, I suggest you pass.
About The Author:
B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, Bring Me Back and The Dilemma. Having sold over a million copies in the UK alone, she is a New York Times bestseller as well as a Sunday Times bestseller. Her books have been translated into 40 languages. Having lived in France for many years, she and her husband recently moved back to the UK.
Her fifth novel is out in 2021