For her fortieth birthday, Livia is throwing herself the party she never had on her wedding day. Hastily marrying Adam due to an unexpected pregnancy, Livia has been waiting for and anticipating this day for twenty-two years, putting aside money to pay for a lavish party with all her friends and family there.
All of her family except her daughter, Marnie. Marnie is studying abroad and can’t justify the expense or time-off from her studies to come home for the party.
Set the day of the party and unfolding hour-by-hour like an episode of 24, B.A. Paris’ The Dilemma finds storm clouds gathering on the horizon the day of Livia’s big party. Both Livia and Adam know a secret — a secret which could devastate the other if found out and would certainly taint the party and the long-anticipated celebration. But as the day unfolds, can Livia and Adam keep those secrets. And if they do, will keeping them hurt them more in the long run?
Livia and Adam take turns telling us the story that day, as well as filling in details on their life together. Whether it’s Livia’s hope to reconcile with her parents who cut her off when she got pregnant out of wedlock or Adam’s desire to find the perfect surprise for Livia, all their hopes, areas, fears, and uncertainties are on full display.
It all makes for a page-turning, suspense thriller with high emotional stakes for all involved. And while Livia and Adam may not be Jack Bauer and saying the world from imminent destruction, I still heard the ticking clock echoing throughout this book as the two decide to keep certain details from each other for just a bit longer for the sake of other’s happiness and memories.
This domestic thriller was a delicious surprise. Looking back, I’m glad it showed up on my social media feeds for prevalently. I would have missed a great page-turner.