by Paris, B. A.

"A woman's birthday party takes a dark turn in a poignant, heart-stopping new novel from the reigning queen of suspense, NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back"-

B. A. PARIS is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. The Dilemma is her fourth novel.

*Starred Review* For more than 20 years, Livia Harman anticipated having a lavish fortieth birthday party to make up for the wedding she never had. Pregnant at 17, she and Adam had married at the local registry office with only his parents and a few close friends in attendance, since her parents refused to have anything more to do with her. Although their plans for education changed, Livia and Adam have been happy with their children, Josh, 22, and Marnie, 19. Josh will be at Livia's party, but Marnie, studying in Hong Kong, will not. Except that Adam, as a surprise for his wife, has arranged for Marnie to come, too, assuming she can make a tight plane connection in Cairo. Then, on the morning of the party, Adam sees news that the plane on which Marnie was booked has crashed with no survivors. Stunned, Adam first tries unsuccessfully to reach his daughter, hoping that she missed her connection, and then struggles with when to tell Livia what's happened. Livia, meanwhile, has information of her own about Marnie that she dreads to share with Adam. Paris constructs an unusual and compelling premise and masterfully maintains suspense about what happened and when it will be revealed. A breathtaking story, nearly impossible to put down. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

A woman plans—and experiences—the long-awaited 40th birthday party of her dreams. But to ensure the party is a success, both she and her husband have decided to keep unexpected news from each other that will derail their lives. Neither Livia nor her husband, Adam, are perfect. Over the decades of their marriage they have both hurt each other, but despite this, they still love each other. Married quickly in a registry office as teens because of Livia's unexpected pregnancy, their planned futures derailed 23 years ago as parenthood and manual labor replaced their individuality and chances to go to university. Because her dreamed-for over-the-top wedding didn't take place, Livia began saving money to have the perfect 40th birthday party as a substitute. But 20 years into the planning and six weeks before the party she finds out something she fears will end the comfortable life she and Adam have established with their two grown children, Josh and Marnie. So she decides to keep it a secret until the party is over. And the day of the party, Adam finds out something devastating that could not only destroy their lives if it is true, but could also needlessly ruin the party Livia has been planning for so lon g if it isn't. So he decides to keep quiet until after the party. This is a novel told almost entirely in hourlong chunks during the course of that day, alternating between Livia's and Adam's points of view. Author Paris grapples with the question of whether it's love or selfishness that keeps half of a couple from sharing bad news immediately with the other half and whether or not it's deceptive to do so. While the complicated, interlocking nature of Livia and Adam's social circle might present an overwhelming amount of detail to absorb at the start of the book, clarity comes quickly and is crucial to understanding the story. An all-encompassing, tightly plotted novel of psychological suspense. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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