Monday, 12 March 2018

A PERFECT MARRIAGE - by Alison Booth

Published: March 2018 - RedDoor Publishing 
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary / mystery
Pages: 222.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Theme of domestic abuse / one scene of strong sexual content
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

Sally Lachlan has a secret that has haunted her for a decade, although perhaps it is time to let it go. A chance meeting with the charismatic geneticist, Anthony Blake, reawakens her desire for love and, at the same time, her daughter Charlie shows signs of wishing to know more about her father. Both the past and the future are places Sally prefers not to think about, but if she wants to find happiness, she will first have to come to terms with her long-ago marriage. Only then will she be able to be honest with Charlie. And herself.

The main element that draws me to a thriller is the promise of twisty relationship dynamics. I adore the promise of something or someone not being as they seem - especially someone. The premise of this book drew me in with that promise, and I couldn't wait to start reading.

The writing is sublime. It's pitch-perfect. From language choice to sentence structure, it's simply masterful. I soaked up the words hungrily and their haunting vividness swayed me into euphoria. The dialogue is equally immersive - entertaining and gripping every time someone opens their mouth.
The level of detail is incredible. The author's deep perception of people and scenes makes every scene come alive and the characters instantly three-dimensional. It's not the boring kind of detail because the language is so strong, and I love it.

The setting adds so much to the story. Under bleak, overcast English skies in the middle of a bustling city, the plot comes alive and the scenes are richly complemented. It's beautifully atmospheric.

The plot isn't packed with twists; in that regard, it's rather predictable. But I didn't mind at all because I was so engrossed in the characters and in Sally's journey. The emotion is understated, there's no big action or adrenaline pumping scenes, but it's still tight, gripping, and entertaining. It's superb.

What had happened to our love; what was happening to our marriage? I’d been a somebody once, a woman with a bright future. Now I was a nothing. A nobody who didn’t have the strength to do anything, let alone leave.

The characters are brilliant. They're the kind of characters who give a first impression along the lines of "She's hiding something, he's so layered, they're so human and three-dimensional". They're instantly real people, if you know what I mean. You just know there's depth to them because the author pays attention to detail when she introduces them. It's effortless " bringing to life" of characters. It's impeccable.

Sally is a lovely heroine. She's well written and vivid, her journey as heartbreaking as it is hopeful. I loved seeing her character development and how her relationship with her daughter changes, too, as the story hops between Then and Now perspectives. And her relationship with Charlie (her daughter) is amazing. It's so relatable and genuine. I love well written mother-daughter bonds, and this one is wonderful and dynamic.

There's also female friendship! I love seeing Zoe and Sally come together, and they have each other's backs, which is quite a twist considering the story events. But it's good. It's unique, and it's empowering. I can't say much more cos of spoilers ;) 

This is a thriller that's more about relationships than it is about thrills. I loved watching Sally interact with all the different people in her life, especially her relationships with the other female characters. Everything is so sincere and at the same time entertaining. It's beautiful.

A Perfect Marriage is a stunning, gently moving tale of love, loss and the things we hide - even from ourselves. The writing is eloquent, the characters brilliant, and this book is incredibly moving. 


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