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The Dilemma

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Dilemma

  1. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    B.A. Paris, my Queen. Although very different from her prior works, I still really enjoyed this. Smaller in scope, yet quite intricate as a character study. Following husband and wife, Livia and Adam, this story takes place during the course of one day. The day of Livia's much anticipated 40th birthday party. Adam and Livia were married very young and never had the chance to have the wedding of her dreams. She has always looked on this party as an opportunity to celebrate not just her birthday, but B.A. Paris, my Queen. Although very different from her prior works, I still really enjoyed this. Smaller in scope, yet quite intricate as a character study. Following husband and wife, Livia and Adam, this story takes place during the course of one day. The day of Livia's much anticipated 40th birthday party. Adam and Livia were married very young and never had the chance to have the wedding of her dreams. She has always looked on this party as an opportunity to celebrate not just her birthday, but also their relationship. As the day arrives Livia is dragged down by a monumental secret she is keeping from her husband. Unfortunately, she's not the only one with a secret. Adam has a life-changing secret as well that he is choosing to keep from her. The narrative alternates between the two as they struggle with their decisions to keep such important facts secret from one another. While very introspective in a lot of ways, there is still quite a bit of suspense. Over the course of the story, the reader learns the true nature of their respective secrets and what those secrets could mean for the family as a whole. As I mentioned above, this novel seemed smaller in scope compared to her previous novels. By that I mean, all of the action takes place at their home during the course of one day. Her previous novels certainly covered larger geographical areas, as well as longer spans of time, making the stories seem more complex. However, I think after you complete this one, and you sit back and think about what you have read, the real intricacies begin to come to light. I cried reading this. The characters go through so much, it really moved me. Although I would classify this as more domestic drama than psychological thriller, which is what I would classify her earlier novels, I appreciated it very much. Her writing style is just so compelling and never fails to keep me glued to the pages. B.A. Paris has a fan in me for life. I will always pick up every single thing she has published. Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin's Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. This was absolutely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it did not disappoint.

  2. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    1.5 stars This was a boring short story that was stretched out into a full-length snooze of a book. I basically hate-read it. Why? Let me count the ways: • The entire book relies on the tired trope of a couple NOT TALKING TO EACH OTHER!! UGH • I found it hard to believe a grown ass woman would dream of a 40th birthday party for 20+ years, to make up for the big wedding she never had. The way she obsesses over the party is utterly ridiculous. Grow up already. • Pages and pages could be skimmed 1.5 stars This was a boring short story that was stretched out into a full-length snooze of a book. I basically hate-read it. Why? Let me count the ways: • The entire book relies on the tired trope of a couple NOT TALKING TO EACH OTHER!! UGH • I found it hard to believe a grown ass woman would dream of a 40th birthday party for 20+ years, to make up for the big wedding she never had. The way she obsesses over the party is utterly ridiculous. Grow up already. • Pages and pages could be skimmed without missing a thing. 90% of the book was repeating over and over and over again the “dilemma”. Good grief, we get it already. Without the repetition the book would have been about 30 pages long. • The dilemma? Each knows a secret that they are keeping from the other. Adam’s secret is serious and to think he could continue with the party despite his suspicions is utterly ridiculous. Just so his immature wife can have her ridiculous party. Livia’s "secret" is just plain dumb, as is the way she obsesses over it. • The ending? It was not only pat and unbelievable but it made me angry for all the people who have lived this particular hell. • There was no tension, just irritation. This is a family drama, not a thriller, and a boring one at that. I did finish the book thinking there just might be a payoff at the end. There wasn’t. I'm rounding it up to 2 stars simply because I finished it. * I received a digital copy fromNetGalley and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I should rename this book with my another favorite Led Zeppelin’s song name: “Communication Breakdown” or we may call it “Anatomy of Marriage” and deliver this heart wrenching, soul crusher, touchy story into talented hands of Noah Baumbach to turn this into a tear jerker movie. What do you think if we may have another realistic, memorable movie after Marriage’s Story. I have to admit, I didn’t expect a dramatic family fiction when I started reading this book. When I saw B. A. Paris’ name, I I should rename this book with my another favorite Led Zeppelin’s song name: “Communication Breakdown” or we may call it “Anatomy of Marriage” and deliver this heart wrenching, soul crusher, touchy story into talented hands of Noah Baumbach to turn this into a tear jerker movie. What do you think if we may have another realistic, memorable movie after Marriage’s Story. I have to admit, I didn’t expect a dramatic family fiction when I started reading this book. When I saw B. A. Paris’ name, I thought I was about to devour a nail biter, eyes wider, grey cell crusher thriller story. So I may have given two stars after the disappointment but... I couldn’t because this is really good written fiction. I truly loved Livia as a character, Adam and her marriage story made me cry, affected me deeply because in my opinion you’re not growing up till you get married and spend your life with someone, discovering yourself and learning more about your partner in crime! When you get married, you learn how to share, how to fight against tremendous challenges life is throwing at your way, because your marriage teaches you to be selfless, mature, logical. Mostly marriage also teaches you to be blind, mute and listen more, act lesser. Livia and Adam were so young when they put their rings on and took their first steps to the parenthood when they were also young adults. Livia is shunned by her family emotionally and financially. And Adam had real hard time to adapt his new life. He acted like spoiled brat/ baby boy who wanted to hang out and play with other boys, riding bikes, rejecting responsibility and put entire parenthood burden on his wife’s shoulders. He made so many mistakes and now he was adamant to pay his dues and atone his past marriage sins. So our story starts at the 40th birthday party of Livia. She’s finally having quality time with loved ones and being pampered by her friends and family. But Livia is not really happy. She’s keeping a secret from her husband about her daughter. Her husband’s favorite, Marnie, their daughter, betrayed their trust and Livia is not ready to face to her daughter who is still in Hong Kong for her education. This secret could change everything about their family dynamics, their social circles and close friendships. But guess what! Her husband is also keeping a secret, too. Their daughter is planning to make surprising appearance at her mother’s birthday. Adam is so happy and determined to compensate his faults and wrongdoings throughout their marriage by giving his wife the most special night she deserves. Then he checks the news and finds out there is a plane crash and their daughter might be in very same plane. But he can tell it to his wife and ruin his day. Maybe their daughter missed the plane. Maybe she was alive, wasn’t she? You wanna know what’s gonna happen? Go on and read it! It’s getting better at each page. I enjoyed book’s realism about marriage, friendship, parenthood and the author’s way of questioning those matters with honesty. Only thing I didn’t like is the couple’s lack of communication because of their own reasons could be more frustrating than you could ever imagine. And of course ending ripped my heart apart. So I’m giving my happily ever after four stars and recommend this heartbreaking journey to you. But please keep your napkins, tissues, any kind of tear driers closer and do not wail way too long like I did not to traumatize your lovely neighbors! Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sharing this meaningful ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    I’m in a quandary…no, a full-fledged dilemma on how to review this one! The entire read takes place over the course of just one evening. Told from alternating POV of Adam and Livia. A misguided couple so desperate to please each other yet so dismally confused on how to accomplish it. A birthday party like no other! Livia has saved up for years to throw herself the bash of the century for her 40th birthday! And no one’s stopping this epic event! No matter what craziness might be happening around I’m in a quandary…no, a full-fledged dilemma on how to review this one!💁🏻♀️ The entire read takes place over the course of just one evening. Told from alternating POV of Adam and Livia. A misguided couple so desperate to please each other yet so dismally confused on how to accomplish it. A birthday party like no other! Livia has saved up for years to throw herself the bash of the century for her 40th birthday! And no one’s stopping this epic event! No matter what craziness might be happening around her...she won’t let it rob her from her stupendous day! And Adam? He simply wants nothing more than for Livia to have her day! But at what cost? This book read like a freight train running off the rails! I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough! And basically read it in just a bit over 2 sittings! (Who needs to eat?) I was desperate to see how this would turn out! I needed to know the ending!! However, the main characters were so despicable it was hard to sympathize with either of them. Livia came off as selfish and self-absorbed to the point that she puts herself far above from her family and friends. Adam...well I’m not even sure what to say about him!!? What’s the old saying, “if you can’t say something nice?” I’ll just say his behavior boggled my mind! Did I enjoy it? Well yes I certainly did! Was it what I expected? Ha! Not even close! Would I recommend it? YES! If you are looking for a speedy thriller for a weekend read, then this is the one! A quick and fun buddy read with Susanne!🎈 Thank you to Marissa Sangiacomo at St Martin's Press for an ARC to read and review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    marilyn

    This is a story about a dilemma that takes place over less than 24 hours but felt like a century, to me. Despite the fact that my reading buddies liked this one a lot more than I did, it was still a fun buddy read. I pretty much griped about the husband Adam, not making a necessary phone call and continually thinking he should do something but not doing it, on and on and on. If I were a violent person, I would have thrown my Kindle across the room, but I'm not a violent person and I like my This is a story about a dilemma that takes place over less than 24 hours but felt like a century, to me. Despite the fact that my reading buddies liked this one a lot more than I did, it was still a fun buddy read. I pretty much griped about the husband Adam, not making a necessary phone call and continually thinking he should do something but not doing it, on and on and on. If I were a violent person, I would have thrown my Kindle across the room, but I'm not a violent person and I like my Kindle too much to break it.  And then there was Liv, who I could relate to about as easily as I could relate to a mushroom growing on a faraway planet. Liz missed out on her dream wedding (which she'd been dreaming about before she even knew who she would marry) but then she got pregnant and had to have a quickie wedding. Because Liv missed out on her dream wedding at the age of 17, she's been obsessing daily about having a huge, 40th birthday party. Everyone knows how important this birthday party is to her, nothing can ever interfere with this birthday party. Not even the very important, maybe devastating news that her husband has for her, it's so important, but he can't bring himself to tell her this thing because it might ruin his wife's birthday party.  Really, Liv, you missed out on your dream wedding and instead of having a huge party to renew your wedding vows or something "wedding-like" you make it all about you? Your husband is afraid to tell you something very, very important because of how much you have made this birthday party your life goal. What are you going to do after it's all over, will there be anything to live for?  Oh, Liv has something very important that she wants to tell, not only her husband, but several close couples and she knows it's going to upset all the people she tells. She's been sitting on it for weeks and really needs to discuss it with one person but she hasn't because of "excuses". But she's letting this thing color every minute of her very important birthday party. At times, her husband almost gets the courage to blurt out his important something but then Liv flits off to do birthday things or to get out of having a deep talk with her husband, during her birthday party. These people were wearing me out.  Thank you to St Martin's Press and Edelweiss for this ARC. 

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    4 Stars. Most spouses keep a few secrets from each other, am I right? Everyone does it and it’s the reason why this novel will getcha. Livia and Adam have been married for over 20 years and have two children, Josh, 22 and Marnie, 19. Having had a small wedding ceremony way back when, Livia has been scrimping and saving for 20 years to have a huge 40th Birthday Party to make up for what she has always dreamed of. Livia’s party would almost be perfect, if only.. Livia never planned to keep this 4 Stars. Most spouses keep a few secrets from each other, am I right? Everyone does it and it’s the reason why this novel will getcha. Livia and Adam have been married for over 20 years and have two children, Josh, 22 and Marnie, 19. Having had a small wedding ceremony way back when, Livia has been scrimping and saving for 20 years to have a huge 40th Birthday Party to make up for what she has always dreamed of. Livia’s party would almost be perfect, if only.. Livia never planned to keep this secret from Adam for so long, yet, the longer she keeps it, the harder it is to utter. She knows that if she fesses up, it will destroy both her husband Adam, and several of her friends' lives. Adam just wanted to do something special for Livia on her birthday. He never imagined the horror his surprise would inflict on his entire family.. now he can’t fathom telling them the truth. “The Dilemma” is a novel that makes you think about intentions, both good and bad and how they can be perceived. Communication in a marriage is oh so important and yet, it’s not that easy is it? Sometimes, as we all know, pretending is easier. This novel made me think about secrets. Little White Lies and those Big Old Whoppers. We’ve all told ‘em. Now I wonder if they were worth it. Told from the perspectives of Livia and Adam, “The Dilemma” is nothing like I expected it to be. Livia and Adam, are, in my opinion, wholly unlikeable and that made for an extremely interesting read. It’s hard for me to love a novel when I don’t like the characters and yet, this is highly addictive. This novel, which is more of a domestic family drama, is a departure for B. A. Paris. It is one that will make your heart catch, your throat tighten and your nerve endings feel raw. It is very well done and I recommend it to fans of B. A. Paris and any one who loves fiction of all kinds. This was a Christmas buddy read with Kaceey and I’m so glad I got to share it with her! Thank you to Marissa Sangiacomo at St. Martin’s Press and B. A. Paris for the arc. Published on Goodreads on 12.29.19.

  7. 5 out of 5

    sue

    I found this book hard to put down. Each chapter alternates between Olivia and her husband with everything in between. Olivia didn’t have a fabulous wedding. She’s longed and planned for her 40th birthday, what seems like, all her life. She’s saved and invested all her years focused on it. But does her birthday huge party go off with a bang? It sure does. But not in the way we think. Olivia is walking around with a secret. And we get to read what she’s really thinking and feeling. And a dark cloud I found this book hard to put down. Each chapter alternates between Olivia and her husband with everything in between. Olivia didn’t have a fabulous wedding. She’s longed and planned for her 40th birthday, what seems like, all her life. She’s saved and invested all her years focused on it. But does her birthday huge party go off with a bang? It sure does. But not in the way we think. Olivia is walking around with a secret. And we get to read what she’s really thinking and feeling. And a dark cloud of revelation is hanging over her husband that day. And we get to read what’s going on in his head, and his emotions. They have two grown children. And we get some tearful times with Dad and his son that brought a lump to my throat. Emotional at times. Picturing the birthday party in my head was so well played out with top “star” characters being there. I grew to love Nelson. A best friend of her husband. The parental family enveloping from her husbands side was lovely and all that it should be. Family support in crisis. At one time I thought it was a bit drawn out that’s why it has 4* from me. But don’t be misled because I absolutely was invested in this book 100% and more. We see about communication. We learn about ‘good intentions’ that can go badly wrong. We learn about family and relationships. And we learn about love. Pure unselfish love. And we learn about grief. It’s one I’ll remember for quite some time. This author astounds me with her abilities and insight to human depths of character.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    A husband and wife with secrets. Livia and Adam are protecting their secret from each other. One believes his/her secret is damaging. The other knows his/her secret is heartbreaking. Both are keeping his/her secret from the other as it is the day of Livia’s 40th Birthday party. A party she has been waiting to have for a long, long, time. Both intend to tell the other his/her secret after the party. But how? How does one keep it together? Who does one keep on a happy face when his/her world has A husband and wife with secrets. Livia and Adam are protecting their secret from each other. One believes his/her secret is damaging. The other knows his/her secret is heartbreaking. Both are keeping his/her secret from the other as it is the day of Livia’s 40th Birthday party. A party she has been waiting to have for a long, long, time. Both intend to tell the other his/her secret after the party. But how? How does one keep it together? Who does one keep on a happy face when his/her world has been devastated forever? I found this to be a fast read, but will I remember it in six months' time? Most likely as the B.A. Paris book that I enjoyed the least. I found this to be a fast read but felt that it would have worked just as well as a novella. Plus, even though I get that one individual wanted to keep the secret until there was concrete proof but at the same time, I thought, seriously, this is something that should not have been kept secret. But as you can tell, these people are flawed. They both have their reasons for their secrets whether we agree with those reasons or not. So how do they tell their secrets? How do the secrets come out? What happens next? How does life change for them? Do you agree with both keeping their secrets until after the party? What would you have done? I know how I would have handled things. How would you have handled them? Making the title of this book to be absolutely perfect. I enjoyed the book, but it didn't wow me as much as her other books did. Her other books The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors wowed me more. The Dilemna, although a fast read, was also repetitive. It was, like her other books that I have read, well written. Even though this not my favorite by B.A. Paris, I will be on the lookout for future books. I received a copy of this book from ST. Martins Press and NetGalley in return for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    Some frustrating characters in this one.... This author has been a little hit and miss with me, I've read all of her books. In my opinion, this one is NOT a thriller, but more of a family/relationship drama. The entire novel centers around a twenty-four hour period and a married couple- Livia and Adam. The story revolves around Livia's 40th Birthday bash. Her daughter Marnie won't be attending. I was extremely frustrated at both of them to the point of wanting to scream at them.Livia was Some frustrating characters in this one.... This author has been a little hit and miss with me, I've read all of her books. In my opinion, this one is NOT a thriller, but more of a family/relationship drama. The entire novel centers around a twenty-four hour period and a married couple- Livia and Adam. The story revolves around Livia's 40th Birthday bash. Her daughter Marnie won't be attending. I was extremely frustrated at both of them to the point of wanting to scream at them. Livia was unbelievably obsessed with this party and Adam, well, he drove me insane with his actions.   I was getting frustrated and at the same time wanting to know where the missing daughter was and why these two parents weren't sharing what they knew! They just continued their "partying". I did enjoy it, but there is quite a bit of repetition with the same events being repeated over and over caused much skimming because I was tiring of the party shenanigans, but I also really wanted to know about Marnie. I was compelled to keep reading and find out the answers to my questions... Where was Marnie? What is going to happen? Is she going to show up at this party? I won't spoil the ending, but I will say, it wasn't the end I expected. I'm sure Paris fans will enjoy this one, but for me it was a bit lacking in the execution and left me feeling a little bewildered. Really. Thanks to NG and the publisher for my review copy. OUT in June 2020

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    2 stars because I made it to the end This is a case where the more I thought about this book, the more I turned to the dark side where the words "god I so dislike this story" entered my mind.. So what words describe a book like this...lackluster, boring, nonsensical, immature, egotistical are a few that come to mind. Of course none of them indicate a book that I would recommend. First the premise of a woman who missed out on a big fairy tale wedding and now has scrimped and saved for countless 2 stars because I made it to the end This is a case where the more I thought about this book, the more I turned to the dark side where the words "god I so dislike this story" entered my mind.. So what words describe a book like this...lackluster, boring, nonsensical, immature, egotistical are a few that come to mind. Of course none of them indicate a book that I would recommend. First the premise of a woman who missed out on a big fairy tale wedding and now has scrimped and saved for countless years to throw herself a fortieth birthday party was ridiculous. For pity sake, if you missed a wedding why not throw one for you and your husband. Countless people do so are you so narcissistic (yes) that it must always be all about you? Oh and she has a secret, one she can't share with her husband by the way. And then there was the husband, hiding a secret so awful that he let his beloved wife go through "her day" without telling her the horrible news. My god, this is your wife, the person you share everything with. Why would you not share this? Shouldn't you both be able to face this happening together are husband and wife, as parents? Yes, the tragedy was horrendous, one that no parent should ever experience, but at the end of the long drawn out, or what could have been a short story in Reader's Digest, we find everything back to normal. The tragedy has been handled, the secret has not been exposed, and life goes on its merry way. Absurd!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I was so excited to have a new B.A Paris book I settled down knowing I wouldn’t be moving anytime soon. I was right as soon as I had read the first page I was completely hooked and unable to put the book down. Adam and Livia are married with two children, Josh 22 and Marnie 19. Livia has been planning her 40th birthday party for twenty years to make up for her small wedding. She has been secretly saving so that she can have a party no one will forget. All her friends will be there apart from her I was so excited to have a new B.A Paris book I settled down knowing I wouldn’t be moving anytime soon. I was right as soon as I had read the first page I was completely hooked and unable to put the book down. Adam and Livia are married with two children, Josh 22 and Marnie 19. Livia has been planning her 40th birthday party for twenty years to make up for her small wedding. She has been secretly saving so that she can have a party no one will forget. All her friends will be there apart from her daughter Marnie who is studying in Hong Kong. Livia is relieved Marnie won’t be at the party as she knows something about her that she needs to tell Adam, but knows it will ruin her party so is going to tell him afterwards. Adam also has a secret he needs to tell Livia and this will not only ruin the party but will devastate all their lives. All he needs to do is get through the evening and then he can unburden himself to his family. This is such a great book, it’s told from Adam and Livia’s point of view leading up and the night of party. As always B.A Paris has wowed me with another incredible book!! My heart was pounding during the party as the tension was rising and I knew the secrets were going to be revealed. I felt every emotion possible reading this. A heart wrenching tale about friendship, relationships, loss and how sometimes we really don’t know what’s best for someone else after all!! This book will stay a long time in my heart, makes me realise you shouldn’t take life for granted!! This is such a great story that it would make an amazing film. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie B

    When I find out B.A. Paris has a new book coming out, I get giddy. When I actually get the book in my hands and sit down to read it, I'm like a kid on Christmas morning. I just have so much fun reading her books, and this one was no exception. I wouldn't say any of her books are perfect and I realize she is not everyone's cup of tea, but an amazing reading experience always counts for something and that's why I'm placing this in the 5 star category. When you can set aside your everyday life When I find out B.A. Paris has a new book coming out, I get giddy. When I actually get the book in my hands and sit down to read it, I'm like a kid on Christmas morning. I just have so much fun reading her books, and this one was no exception. I wouldn't say any of her books are perfect and I realize she is not everyone's cup of tea, but an amazing reading experience always counts for something and that's why I'm placing this in the 5 star category. When you can set aside your everyday life problems and get lost in a book, it's really what reading is all about, or at least that's my opinion. I 100% agree with other reviewers who said this book is a bit different than anything she has written before. I don't want to get into spoilers and I do think the less you know going in, the better. If you can appreciate a slow paced story this might be the book for you because most of it takes place over the course of a day. Livia got married and had her kids at a young age. Now that she is turning 40, she wants to finally do something special for herself, so she throws a big party to celebrate her birthday. This party has been in the works for a long time and she doesn't want anything to ruin the day, so she thinks it's best to just wait until after the party to share a secret with Adam, her husband. Adam has something rather important to tell Livia as well, but he knows how important the party is to her so he's going to have to decide when to drop the bombshell. The story alternates between Livia and Adam on the day of the birthday party. So who is most likely to enjoy this book? Well, if you have liked other books by the author, than give this one a chance but just go in knowing that it is different from her other novels. (And yes I wish I didn't have to be so vague, but trust me, you don't want to know too much ahead of time.) If you aren't a B.A. Paris fan, than I highly doubt this is going to be the book that changes your opinion about her writing. For as many readers as I know who love her books, there's a decent amount of people who don't, and that's perfectly fine. We all have certain writers we love, and that's definitely the case for me with this author. She manages to always keep things interesting and I seriously can't wait to check out her next book! (Am I going to have to wait until 2021?) Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie (JuJu)

    ”An angel walking to the Devil’s beat.” Beautiful saying for a tattoo! Dilemma is the perfect title for this book...well maybe Dilemmas would have been more appropriate! It’s an emotional tear-jerker that touches on sensitive subjects and pulls at your heartstrings. 4 ’s for this family drama—with more than one dilemma—that is told through alternating chapters by Liv and Adam. Parents of Marnie and Josh. They pour out their deepest feelings and private struggles to us...but not each other. Once ”An angel walking to the Devil’s beat.” Beautiful saying for a tattoo! Dilemma is the perfect title for this book...well maybe Dilemmas would have been more appropriate! It’s an emotional tear-jerker that touches on sensitive subjects and pulls at your heartstrings. 4 💔 ⭐️’s for this family drama—with more than one dilemma—that is told through alternating chapters by Liv and Adam. Parents of Marnie and Josh. They pour out their deepest feelings and private struggles to us...but not each other. Once revealed, will their secrets tear them apart or bring them closer together? Read it and find out! It was original, intense and hard-to-put-down, but slightly drawn out. I would have preferred a shorter book, with less repetition. My Rating: 4 ⭐️’s Published: January 23rd 2020 by HQ Pages: 384 Recommend: Yes! If you are looking for an emotional family drama, this is the book! Thank you to NetGalley, HQ and B. A. Paris for this digital ARC, in exchange for my honest opinion! @BAParisAuthor @HQstories #familydrama #tearjerker #originalpremise #TheDilemma

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White

    Where do you start with a book like The ? BA Paris is a wonderful writer, and this books give you all the feels. It is an emotional rollercoaster so have those tissues ready. It is also a tough book to review without giving the plot away. And trust me, you don't want this book to be spoilt before you read it. It was also another book that is hard to put down once you start, the story will have you staying up way too late to find out what happens. Livia is about to turn 40. She has been planning Where do you start with a book like The ? BA Paris is a wonderful writer, and this books give you all the feels. It is an emotional rollercoaster so have those tissues ready. It is also a tough book to review without giving the plot away. And trust me, you don't want this book to be spoilt before you read it. It was also another book that is hard to put down once you start, the story will have you staying up way too late to find out what happens. Livia is about to turn 40. She has been planning her 40th birthday party forever and it is going to be the party to end all parties. When she married Adam young and pregnant her parents turned their back on them. Their wedding was not the wedding that young girls dream of and she wants her party to make up for that day. She has everything planned and the only thing missing is her daughter Marnie, who is studying in Hong Kong. But Livia and Adam are keeping secrets from each other - secrets that will break them. How do they tell each other - and when? What would you do? Spoil the party that has been the focus of your life for so long or keep the secrets for a little while longer? Thanks to Harlequin Books for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I have one! A dilemma ( apart from constantly spelling it with 1 m ) My dilemma is what to say about and what to mark this book Firstly I am not going to give away any of the plot except to say ‘Dilemma’ is 352 pages of focused dilemma (s) Words to describe it would be: Claustrophobic, irritating, suspenseful, aggravating, wonderful, dark and upsetting! Also at times repetitive But boy did it drag you in, coax you to stay, involve you and make you tense at the same time as frustrating you At times I I have one! A dilemma ( apart from constantly spelling it with 1 m ) My dilemma is what to say about and what to mark this book Firstly I am not going to give away any of the plot except to say ‘Dilemma’ is 352 pages of focused dilemma (s) Words to describe it would be: Claustrophobic, irritating, suspenseful, aggravating, wonderful, dark and upsetting! Also at times repetitive But boy did it drag you in, coax you to stay, involve you and make you tense at the same time as frustrating you At times I wanted the ‘Dilemma’ in its gaining parts to ‘all come out’ and be solved, other times I wanted it to go away and be gone, pretty much like some of the character’s were feeling throughout Fascinatingly written ‘The Dilemma’ is all its meant to be and maybe some its not Am not sure what to mark it tbh so will go for a 8/10 4 Stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nazanin

    3.5 Bittersweet Stars The Dilemma by B.A. Paris was a different read for me, compared to what I’d read by her before. It wasn’t a mystery or thriller, well, maybe you could count it as a thriller in its own special way. To me, it was more like a family drama and such a drama I was reading. It started off really good but it was too slow for my taste, toward the ending it dragged a lot and around 80% I just wanted to finish it, so I skipped some parts. I liked both Adam and Livia but I felt for 3.5 Bittersweet Stars The Dilemma by B.A. Paris was a different read for me, compared to what I’d read by her before. It wasn’t a mystery or thriller, well, maybe you could count it as a thriller in its own special way. To me, it was more like a family drama and such a drama I was reading. It started off really good but it was too slow for my taste, toward the ending it dragged a lot and around 80% I just wanted to finish it, so I skipped some parts. I liked both Adam and Livia but I felt for Adam because of what he was bearing, what was weighing on his shoulders and the decision he had to make. Told in dual POV, 1st person, it’s a standalone novel. it contains flash-backs and short chapters, it’s slow-paced with well-developed characters. For me, these types of books aren’t an easy read and I hope you enjoy it!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    The Dilemma is a little different to B.A Paris' previous novels, in that it's more of a family drama than a psychological thriller. Livia, who is about to turn 40 has been looking forward to and planning a big birthday party for a long time. The celebration with all her friends is important to her as she feels that she missed out on the big wedding to her husband Adam that she had planned when she became pregnant. With Adam and son Josh helping, everything has been perfectly organised, except The Dilemma is a little different to B.A Paris' previous novels, in that it's more of a family drama than a psychological thriller. Livia, who is about to turn 40 has been looking forward to and planning a big birthday party for a long time. The celebration with all her friends is important to her as she feels that she missed out on the big wedding to her husband Adam that she had planned when she became pregnant. With Adam and son Josh helping, everything has been perfectly organised, except for the fact that her daughter Marnie is studying overseas and can't get back for it. Knowing it will upset Adam, Livia has a terrible secret that she's been keeping to herself but plans to tell him after the party, knowing it will affect the way he views some people. Adam is also hiding a secret from Livia that will change all their lives and is in a dilemma about when to tell her. This is a slow-played out novel as we watch Livia and Adam get ready for the party over a 24 period with alternating chapters from their points of view. Although the novel is well written and heart wrenching in places, I didn't really connect with Livia and her obsession over her party, although really felt for Adam as he agonised over his dilemma, not wanting to spoil Livia's special night. For me the book was longer than it needed to be and I found the ending when it came a bit flat. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy domestic dramas but it may not appeal so much to those who love thrillers. 3.5★ With many thanks to Harper Collins Australia/Harlequin Books for the gift of an ARC.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    I loved Behind Closed Doors, I liked The Breakdown and was curious to read B.A. Paris' latest novel. As with her previous books, Dilemma is gripping and well written. I quickly became absorbed in the lives of Livia, Adam and their two kids Marnie and Josh and wanted to know what happened to them. Livia is turning 40 and organising a grand party to celebrate her big birthday. On the day, her husband Adam is faced with a dilemma of whether to tell her something which would ruin the party or wait I loved Behind Closed Doors, I liked The Breakdown and was curious to read  B.A. Paris' latest novel. As with her previous books, Dilemma is gripping and well written. I quickly became absorbed in the lives of Livia, Adam and their two kids Marnie and Josh and wanted to know what happened to them. Livia is turning 40 and organising a grand party to celebrate her big birthday. On the day, her husband Adam is faced with a dilemma of whether to tell her something which would ruin the party or wait until the celebration is over. Tell or not to tell? That's the dilemma... It sounds simple, yet it is a dark secret, one that will change their lives forever. Do you need a whole book to ponder to make a decision? Probably not and that's where my 3 stars come from. Despite the author's engaging writing, I found some bits of the story repetitive with a few fillers that are not needed. Overall, a quick gripping read with a dark reveal at the end that was not easy to read about. Many thanks to HQ for my review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lori Lamothe

    I always like to see an established writer take a risk, so when I started reading The Dilemma I was glad B.A. Paris seemed to be venturing into new territory. Whereas her previous book, Bring Me Back, is a straight thriller The Dilemma is entirely different. Told from Livia and Adam's points of view, the novel is broken up into short chapters that span a single day that combines frivolity and tragedy. After twenty years of imagining a lavish fortieth birthday party, Livia has at last made her I always like to see an established writer take a risk, so when I started reading The Dilemma I was glad B.A. Paris seemed to be venturing into new territory. Whereas her previous book, Bring Me Back, is a straight thriller The Dilemma is entirely different. Told from Livia and Adam's points of view, the novel is broken up into short chapters that span a single day that combines frivolity and tragedy. After twenty years of imagining a lavish fortieth birthday party, Livia has at last made her dream a reality. All her friends will be there to celebrate with her, Adam and their son Josh in a backyard garden filled with roses and fairy lights. The only thing that mars Livia's happiness is that her 19-year-old daughter Marnie can't be there. Well, that's not quite right. Because she isn't sure she wants her daughter there, for reasons we learn later on in the novel. The premise and structure of the novel reminded me immediately of Virginia Woolf's novel, Mrs. Dalloway, which also spans a single day. Like Livia, Clarissa Dalloway is also planning an extravagant party—a party that's marred by a tragedy. It's this similarity that gives me most pause when writing my review, because it makes me wonder just what Paris's take on her characters actually is. As a few other reviewers have mentioned, there are times when Adam and Livia seem shallow and selfish, not to mention foolish. Are they—as well as some of their friends--meant to come across as unsympathetic? Or are we supposed to identify with them, to like them? I'm just not sure. Maybe that uncertainty is what Paris wants readers to consider. I don't know. I'm also not sure whether Paris intended the narrative structure to be as frustrating as it was. Both Livia and Adam are holding back secrets—secrets they know they must share with each other. Readers know early on what Adam's secret is and are maybe halfway into the book when they find out what Livia's hiding from her husband. Because the chapters alternate between Livia and Adam's perceptions, and because they proceed hour by hour, the time between learning Adam's secret and hearing him tell Livia becomes excruciatingly maddening (there is also the not-so-small matter of an unmade phone call...). At first I found Adam's behavior utterly unrealistic, but after mulling it over last night I realized I know people who have acted in just this same way when faced with difficult tasks. And as much as I couldn't identify with Livia's actions, I understand there are women out there who would react in this way. As a mother, I found the final chapter in the book—the final paragraph specifically--the hardest to accept. But I suppose that brings me back to my initial question: what are we as readers meant to make of these characters? I do recommend two things: first, if you're a fan of Paris, go into this novel with different expectations. The Dilemma isn't like her other books and I wouldn't really classify it as a thriller, though there is a lot of suspense. Second, if you can read the book quickly, in one or two sittings. Otherwise, the waiting may drive you nuts. I think if this had been a shorter book, even a novella, it would have worked better for me. But I read it very quickly—in the course of a single day—and that fit with the narrative arc, more or less. Much thanks to St. Martins and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jamie beauty_andthebook_

    A true departure from other BA Paris novels! The Dilemma is really more of domestic fiction with some well timed reveals than an actual thriller. **Please take that into account when reading this one** is advice I would shout from the rooftop. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole time and then realized, it wasn't going to. I still enjoyed it but was confused until I double checked the category it was listed under on Amazon - contemporary fiction. Keep this in mind and you'll be more A true departure from other BA Paris novels! The Dilemma is really more of domestic fiction with some well timed reveals than an actual thriller. **Please take that into account when reading this one** is advice I would shout from the rooftop. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole time and then realized, it wasn't going to. I still enjoyed it but was confused until I double checked the category it was listed under on Amazon - contemporary fiction. Keep this in mind and you'll be more pleased when you go into it. Domestic drama abound, still a worthwhile read. Thank you to St. Martins for an advanced copy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was another great book by B.A Paris. I really liked the main character Adam and felt awful for him throughout the book holding on to something so devastating so his wife could have the party she always wanted. There was so many moments I just wanted to shout tell her but the book was put together so well it didn’t matter. It was heartbreaking but also brilliant. It was an easy read and I can’t wait for the next BA Paris book already.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    I devoured this book. It was not at all like Paris' first three books. It was more family drama, it was more heartbreak, it was a deep book about a few dilemmas. I want to know if you think the secrets being held were an act of love or an act of selfishness? You read the book and let me know what you think. Be sure to order your copy of this one. Tt was a great read, I HIGHLY recommend. 5 stars to times for sure. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review I devoured this book. It was not at all like Paris' first three books. It was more family drama, it was more heartbreak, it was a deep book about a few dilemmas. I want to know if you think the secrets being held were an act of love or an act of selfishness? You read the book and let me know what you think. Be sure to order your copy of this one. Tt was a great read, I HIGHLY recommend. 5 stars to times for sure. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Oh I LOVED this book but it was very traumatic! It’s Livia’s 40th birthday party, a day she has planned for and obsessed over for years. But something she knows has thrown a dark cloud over things. Husband Adam is determined that Livia will have her dream day..But he has a secret of his own… What an emotional rollercoaster of a read this was- jumping between Adam and Livia as things unfold you often want to clap your hands over your eyes in dismay for them as each reveals the thing they are Oh I LOVED this book but it was very traumatic! It’s Livia’s 40th birthday party, a day she has planned for and obsessed over for years. But something she knows has thrown a dark cloud over things. Husband Adam is determined that Livia will have her dream day..But he has a secret of his own… What an emotional rollercoaster of a read this was- jumping between Adam and Livia as things unfold you often want to clap your hands over your eyes in dismay for them as each reveals the thing they are hiding, to the reader but not to each other. The author manages the emotion of it pitch perfectly, her eye for quietly compelling characters is second to none and it’s utterly riveting and hugely thought provoking. It’s an emotionally relevant human question- when do you give news that may tear your family apart, how long can you let your loved one remain happily oblivious- I honestly don’t know what I would do in either Adam or Livia’s situation. You spend the entire read waiting for those bombs to drop and when they do it is hugely heart breaking. This is a love story. That’s what I think. Beautifully written and plotted to give full impact, The Dilemma will have you thinking about it for a long time after it’s done. Excellent. Highly Recommended. But you may want to keep a box of tissues and some chocolate handy…

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    Livia has been planning an extravagant 40th birthday party for twenty years to make up for the wedding reception she never had. Today is the day of her party and she is sure that everything is going to be perfect. She has a secret to tell her husband Adam but she will tell him tomorrow once the party is over. Adam has a secret of his own and its trying not to say anything about it as he wants Livia to have her big day. The tension in this book builds from chapter to chapter, it's a roller coaster Livia has been planning an extravagant 40th birthday party for twenty years to make up for the wedding reception she never had. Today is the day of her party and she is sure that everything is going to be perfect. She has a secret to tell her husband Adam but she will tell him tomorrow once the party is over. Adam has a secret of his own and its trying not to say anything about it as he wants Livia to have her big day. The tension in this book builds from chapter to chapter, it's a roller coaster story that had me on the edge of my seat. Thank you to NetGalley and HQ for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bex (Beckie Bookworm)

    This really was an emotional ride that by the finish had the tears pouring down my face. This really needs to just be picked up and read with no prior expectations. Its essentially at heart a family drama that focuses heavily on the family dynamic and what makes people tick. A dilemma of ultimate truth told from both Husband and wife Livia and Adam who are both holding their cards close to there chest, temporally withholding certain facts they believe will protect and shield there loved ones. The This really was an emotional ride that by the finish had the tears pouring down my face. This really needs to just be picked up and read with no prior expectations. Its essentially at heart a family drama that focuses heavily on the family dynamic and what makes people tick. A dilemma of ultimate truth told from both Husband and wife Livia and Adam who are both holding their cards close to there chest, temporally withholding certain facts they believe will protect and shield there loved ones. The events unfolding here play out over a very brief window of time which expertly manages to increase the intensity and increasing sense of horror, disbelief, betrayal and despair all depending on whose head we are in at that moment in time. But I also equally felt such a sense of connection to this family and I could definitely feel there love and commitment for each other despite and also because of the obstacles they have managed to overcome. So despite my Sadness here I was also left with an emerging sense of hope and also growth. That this family have managed to pull together in such a make or break scenario and even eventually emerge intact as a unit. This was such a heartening thing, so yes I did enjoy this it's excellently written and managed to get me feeling all sorts of mixed-up emotions. My rating reflects also on the toll this took on me personally, my enjoyment of this was also mixed with a profound sense of loss and I was left feeling wrung out and put through an emotional wringer. Also, this was quite slow in regards to plot direction as I said it focuses more on feelings so at times I did find myself skimming slightly, In conclusion, this was a solid emotional read that I would recommend just keep the tissues handy. I voluntary reviewed a copy of The Dilemma. Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm https://www.facebook.com/beckiebookworm/ www.beckiebookworm.com

  26. 4 out of 5

    Georgina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It’s finally here. The day Livia has been planning for the best part of the last two decades: her 40th birthday party. Livia and her husband Adam should be full of excitement that the long awaited event is finally here, but instead they both find themselves wrestling with dark secrets. What do you do if you know something that will change your spouses life forever? That is the dilemma. This seems to be a bit of a marmite book, and sadly for me I’m firmly on the side of not enjoying it at all. I It’s finally here. The day Livia has been planning for the best part of the last two decades: her 40th birthday party. Livia and her husband Adam should be full of excitement that the long awaited event is finally here, but instead they both find themselves wrestling with dark secrets. What do you do if you know something that will change your spouses life forever? That is the dilemma. This seems to be a bit of a marmite book, and sadly for me I’m firmly on the side of not enjoying it at all. I found it irritating, dull, and depressing. The rest of this review will contain spoilers, so please don’t read beyond this point if you’ve not read the book! SPOILERS AHEAD!! Ok, so the book starts on the morning of Livia’s 40th birthday party (no, not a typo, she is Livia not Olivia), an event she has been planning for years. And no, not vaguely thinking she might like a party, but actually squirelling money away each month to make sure she can have the party to end all parties. She even picks the house they move into when the kids (son Josh and daughter Marnie) are tiny as the garden would be ideal for the party. Personally, I found the whole thing completely bizarre, but hey, maybe it's just me? So anyway, the book is broken down into time periods, alternating between the perspectives of the husband and wife (for example, 8:00am - 9:00am, Adam). Sometimes this way of writing works really well, but in this case I found it just made everything feel very dragged out. The book might only span a day, but it felt a lot longer. So a lot of the book really is filler: getting the party set up, and a lot of chat that isn’t that important. The main reason you want to keep reading is the secrets the couple are keeping, which thankfully are revealed relatively early on. Livia is reeling from having discovered that her daughter Marnie is having an affair with family friend Rob, who is also the father of her best friend. She knows she should tell Adam, as he and Rob are friends, but struggles with it, especially as Marnie miscarried Rob’s baby the summer before – another thing that Adam is unaware of. Now, all of this pales into insignificance when you discover Adam’s plight, which is really the main dilemma of the book. As a treat for his wife, he’s arrange for daughter Marnie to fly home from her studies in Hong Kong as a special surprise. But his joy turns to horror when he finds out that the plane she was meant to be on has crashed, leaving no survivors. There is some hope though - her connecting flight was delayed, so there is a chance she wasn’t on the plane. He decides to wait to find out for certain until after he’s spoken to Livia, but then spends the whole day finding reasons to avoid doing so. To be fair, this did have some potential at first, when you’re waiting to find out the secrets. But once you realise what they are, you know two things – firstly, its absurd to think that they wouldn’t tell each other, especially Adam: who the hell doesn’t tell his wife that their kid might be dead?! Secondly, it becomes the longest most dragged out experience ever as they both kept finding excuses not to say anything. Basically, this was one of those books where you feel like you're waiting for something to happen, and it just never does. There’s no real tension in the pacing, so it’s long and dragged out and just feels very flat. By the time you find out Marnie’s fate (she made it onto the plane) there is absolutely no surprise in her presumed death (which is confirmed in the epilogue). It sounds cold to say, but it just felt like a massive anticlimax. Now, family dramas always include some sort of odd dynamic, and in this in book, there is a very obvious problem in the form of Adam blatantly favouring Marnie over Josh. Adam and Josh have a challenging relationship - Adam didn't cope well with the shock of becoming a father, and their relationship never fully recovered. To me, this was just idiotic. At the end of the day, Adam is the parent, and to let the fact that he was young when his first child was born still be affecting their relationship now is ridiculous, and spoke of an immaturity and selfishness that I could not understand. Especially when it is revealed that their frostiness really stems from one major event when Josh was a child, in which Adam was a complete bully, which he then followed up with years of caution and distance. And to be honest, I'm not surprised Josh took issue with his father – Adam makes his resentment towards his son clear, and at the start of the book, he basically says that, in his mind, Josh came along first and ruined his life, and then Marnie being born a few years later somehow managed to make everything perfect. I know a lot of parent's have favourites, but the way this was written just felt weird. Especially at the beginning of the book, the way Adam talks about Marnie is almost like he is infatuated with her, and it all felt a bit uncomfortable to me, especially when contrasted with the clear resentment Adam feels towards his son. If i’m honest, there were a few points when Marnie’s pregnancy was revealed that I worried about who the father could be – that’s how strong his infatuation is. All in all, this was completely not what I expected. For an author who is clearly so skilled at creating genuinely tense and gripping psychological thrillers, I was surprised to see her turn her hand to a rather lacklustre family drama. If I’m honest, I think the real weakness of this book was the shallowness of the characters. Both parents are so damn obsessed with the party, and lets be honest, even if it has been 20 years in the making it is absurd to allow a birthday party to take precedence over dealing with your friend shagging your barely adult child, or finding out whether that child is actually alive or was killed in a terrible plane crash. Essentially, this is a book of two awful people finding excuses to avoid telling each other very important things. And it is every bit as dull, aggravating and flat out ridiculous as it sounds. Disclaimer - I was provided with an advance reading copy by NetGalley. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Livia's is hoping to have a fabulous 40th birthday party to make up for the wedding she never had. All her loved one's will be there except her daughter Marnie who is studying abroad. Strangely Livia is secretly pleased that Marnie won't be there as 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. At the same time Adam is trying to make things go perfectly and secretly arranges for Marnie to come home Livia's is hoping to have a fabulous 40th birthday party to make up for the wedding she never had. All her loved one's will be there except her daughter Marnie who is studying abroad. Strangely Livia is secretly pleased that Marnie won't be there as 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. At the same time Adam is trying to make things go perfectly and secretly arranges for Marnie to come home as a huge birthday surprise. On the day of the party Adam hears some terrible news that he must tell Livia about but time is running out and party guests are arriving. Adam news leaves him with a dilemma that will not only ruin the big birthday celebration but change their lives forever. Does he tell her the news before she has the birthday celebration she always dreamed of or tell her after the event. Will him holding back the news a few hours change anything other than awarding Livia the party she always wanted. Livia has her own life changing secret to tell which she intends to tell Adam after the party. She doesn't ant anything to spoil this memory. Both have to face a dilemma, they know it forever. I enjoyed this book and it did keep me gripped but felt a little uneasy about how realistic the dilemma really were.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected pub date: June 2020 Livia has been planning her over-the-top 40th birthday party for 20 years. In part, to make up for the large wedding she dreamed of and never got to have, and in hopes that her long-estranged parents will show up and make amends. As the day of the party draws closer, Livia discovers her daughter, Marnie, is unable to come Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected pub date: June 2020 Livia has been planning her over-the-top 40th birthday party for 20 years. In part, to make up for the large wedding she dreamed of and never got to have, and in hopes that her long-estranged parents will show up and make amends. As the day of the party draws closer, Livia discovers her daughter, Marnie, is unable to come home from abroad and won’t be in attendance. Due to the secret Livia just found out about her daughter, she is partly relieved that she won’t have to face her daughter on her birthday. Adam, Livia’s husband, has secretly planned to have Marnie fly home for the party and, not knowing the secret Livia knows, thinks his wife will be ecstatic. However, on the day Marnie is expected home he finds out even more horrible news. News that he knows will completely destroy his wife forever. With both spouses keeping secrets from each other, will they be able to make it through the party, pretending everything is as it always was? I was excited to find out that “The Dilemma”, the third novel by B.A Paris, was about to be released into the world. Having read her other novels, I was over the moon to be given an ARC of this novel. This book belongs in the new genre I’ve created called “secret-keeping spouses”, as there seems to be piles of novels strictly dealing with the dangers of keeping secrets from your partner. Although this one fits that bill, it is true B.A Paris style, and breaks the mould when it comes to suspense, entertainment and intrigue. The characters are relatively vapid initially, Livia focusing on her fortieth birthday party like a teenager planning her Sweet Sixteenth, but she is still likable, and creates empathy with the heartbreaking story of her parents’ estrangement and the life experiences she missed out on. Adam is charming, too, although I must say I yelled at him a few times throughout the novel (honestly, one phone call would have solved the problem for him. ONE. It’s 2020, not 1940. Technology is there for a reason). The surplus of the couples’ friends, neighbours and family was, at first, difficult to sort through, but as they each grew their own personalities and settled into the story, it became easier to differentiate between them. With the exception of the abhorrent character of Rob, there really is no unlikable character in the bunch. Well-told and full of suspense, “The Dilemma” is narrated by both Livia and Adam, as we try to understand why they kept the secrets they did. When it all comes to a head, as these things inevitably do, the ending left me with a hopeful, bittersweet feeling (and also an intense fear to reveal each of my deep secrets to my closest friends and family…just in case) .

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bookread2day

    With being a big fan of B A Paris, I have to say my favourite were Behind Closed a Doors that I gave 5 stars to and Bring Me Back , that I also gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. I think that The Dilemma has been written in a fresh different style to all the other books, I couldn't stop reading it. Reading Dilemma, early on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, gave me that feeling of a party. Livia has been planning a party, she been putting money away for years, she set the date for the party but the With being a big fan of B A Paris, I have to say my favourite were Behind Closed a Doors that I gave 5 stars to and Bring Me Back , that I also gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. I think that The Dilemma has been written in a fresh different style to all the other books, I couldn't stop reading it. Reading Dilemma, early on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, gave me that feeling of a party. Livia has been planning a party, she been putting money away for years, she set the date for the party but the one thing Livia had never imagined possible is that her daughter Marnie was going to Hong Kong, and to make matters worse there wasn't a chance that the party date could be changed as Josh was leaving to New York. Livia is about to keep a secret from Adam about Marnie, but it's secret I didn't see coming. It ends with a tragic loss that I also didn't see coming. I recommend The Dilemma as the shocks secret and heartbreaking ending no one will ever imagine that it's going to happen.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    The Dilemma, a mystery/thriller was a 3.5 star book. Told from alternating POVs, the book centers around main characters Livia and Adam- a couple that married and had children at a very young age. Livia, now hitting the big 40, has saved for years to throw herself a huge birthday party and nothing will get in the way- even important information they both have to tell each other. I found The Dilemma to be an interesting read. Though the characters were highly unlikable and it was a slower paced The Dilemma, a mystery/thriller was a 3.5 star book. Told from alternating POVs, the book centers around main characters Livia and Adam- a couple that married and had children at a very young age. Livia, now hitting the big 40, has saved for years to throw herself a huge birthday party and nothing will get in the way- even important information they both have to tell each other. I found The Dilemma to be an interesting read. Though the characters were highly unlikable and it was a slower paced book, I found it to be an enjoyable book where I had to know what happened next. Recommended to fans of mystery/thriller books. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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