The Dilemma by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - approx 4 hours
Pages - 333
Publisher - HQ Stories
Source - ARC
Blurb from Amazon
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?
The book splits the chapters into us hearing from the main characters, Livia and Adam, told in first person narrative. Livia wants everything perfect for her big birthday, the amount of money spent it is lavish, over the top and on par with a wedding. It means so much to Livia and Adam just wants her to have her special day. He has arranged as a surprise for their daughter to come home and surprise them. But Adam has found out some news that will destroy the party, his wife's big night, he can't say anything but how do you act normal with something so huge weighing down on you. Livia finds out a secret that will devastate Adam and their close circle, how can she tell him, she knows she should, how can she act normal at the party? Both do what they feel is right, tensions are high and the reader is along for the ride as everything builds up and the party fast approaches.
The big theme of this one is families, friendship, love, secrets, lies and drama. Honestly so so much going on but family and friendship/relationships is integral to everything. Livia has been estranged from her parents for so long, Adam and their song have a very strained relationship, Livia is so hung up on grieving for her parents excluding her from her life, her children. As the book goes on you get a bit more clarity on why she is the way she is and why this party means so much to her.
As the reader you are a bit up and down, why would you do X, behaviours, choices - some of the characters you are scratching your head at but it is easy to judge when you aren't in the thick of it. How far would you go to protect the person you love. The book examines human behaviour, cause and effect and the lasting ripples decisions made can impact upon the person and those they love. 4.5/5 for me this time. It is no secret I am a fan of this author and I look forward to whatever she pens next.