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 Lucia 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 go 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.
Having read all this authors previous novels, I snuggled down got myself comfortable, for the latest book. Adam and Livia seem so good together, they had a bumpy start Livia had fallen pregnant with their son Josh at a young age, sacrifices had to be made, Livia’s parents had nothing to do with her, and they refused to see Josh, when she wrote to them saying she had a grand daughter who was born in wedlock, they wanted to see her but not Josh. So Livia had had to go on without her parents in her life. I have a Dilemma in writing this review, as much as I liked the writing, I struggled to like the story. So I give my review on both because I can’t fault the writing, and I am sure others may disagree on how they feel on the story, but I think as a mother of grown up children, maybe I am looking at some of it from that point of view. But obviously we all have different views on books as it is so subjective. I also know this is fiction, but I think even fiction goes on what would happen in real life to a certain extent.
The children are now grown, and Livia has been planning her 40th birthday party for years, she has wanted it to make up for the big wedding she had never had, and to be able to celebrate it with all their friends and family. Adam had written a letter to her parents in the hope that they would attend, for Livia this was their last chance.
They are a very happy couple, they love each other, so why are they keeping secrets, Livia has known something for 6 weeks or so, but doesn’t want to tell Adam until after the party, wanting this to be the best day, before she feels everything will change, but why? To a certain extent I understand Livia’s reluctance to say anything. But then Adam has a secret on the day of the party, but although several times he tried to tell Livia on the night he doesn’t, this is where is struggled, this is a loving family and I don’t feel that anyone could keep the secret he is holding on to. The author does a good job of showing his anxiety as he continues through the party, trying to act normal. But I just found it unbelievable, so yes this party has been planned for a long time, I get that, and the secret will end that party, but for me it just wouldn’t be a dilemma, I would have had to tell Livia, and the more I read on the more annoyed I got, as Adam didn’t even know for certain whether he had all the facts until after the party. Even then he kept quiet for even longer, just trying to justify it all the time.
The story is told through alternating chapters from the points of view of Adam and Livia. As they wrestle with telling each other the secret they are keeping. Did we need the Dilemma’s to take up the whole book as well, seeing things repeated, throughout, the story takes place over one day. It is quite a quick read the pace is pretty fast, but still some repetition.
I kept reading hoping there would be some kind of twist at the end relating to both or either of the secrets but nope it didn’t happen. I just felt this to be unbelievable, which I really hate to say.
The writing as usual is great, I loved Adam and Livia and their friends, as well as the children Josh and Marnie. But the secrets just didn’t work for me, mainly Adams, to an extent I can see why Livia kept hers, maybe that seems like double standards, but it’s not meant in that way as the secrets are so totally different, in scale and in the end result.
I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I would like to thank #netgalley and #HQ for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.