Author: B.A. Paris
Published: June 30, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 31- September 10, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.
But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?
Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.
This one definitely receives 4 Frustrating Stars: But this is in a good way!
Oh my word, this one is a departure from Paris’ other novels, as this one is not a thriller/ mystery but more of a domestic drama. This novel deals with family dynamics/ history, consequences of past actions, communication (or I should say a lack of), love, grief, and good intentions that may not have the desired effect.
It is Livia’s big 40 and she is going to have the biggest party ever, especially since she never got the huge wedding she really wanted. She has planned this since her early 20s. But she is keeping a secret from her husband Adam, and likewise he is keeping a new secret from her. In the long run, yes, Livia’s secret has big consequences, but Adam wins this ‘competition of secrets’ hands down.
This novel is a longer one that takes place just over a 24 hour period and we have both Livia and Adam as the narrators in dueling perspectives. The novel does become a bit weary; it is very repetitive as both narrators are constantly focused on the secret they are keeping from each other. I was more involved with Adam’s secret than Livia’s. Adam’s secret is heart breaking on so many levels. He becomes very frustrating at times because to get a definitive answer to his dilemma, all he has to do is make one phone call. At times I wanted to slap him and yell “Just make that phone call!” But then Adam still has a dilemma as once he knows the answer then there is no turning back. Adam really is in a lose-lose situation with Livia’s party going on.
Like Livia, I also turned 40 this year, so I identified with her on having a big birthday year. This is a situation no couple would want to find themselves in. There are ultimately no winners or losers in their situation. The title of the novel is so apparent as you read through the novel. The only thing that did not seem realistic was a woman who focused on having a huge 40th birthday party for half of her life. I mean, what about your 30th? That one is just as important!
I really did enjoy this frustrating novel, despite the repetitiveness of it. It does make you think “what would you do?” in Livia and Adam’s situations. And all I can say is: I am not sure.