The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

Blog tour: 4 to 8 January 2020


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?

One day that will change a family forever.

My review

Livia has been planning her 40th birthday party for the past 20 years, after she was denied the wedding of her dreams when she fell pregnant at 17 with her oldest son, Josh, and was forced to have a quick ceremony in the local registry office with a few guests. Her parents disowned her and they haven’t ever met Josh, now 22, or his younger sister, Marnie, aged 19.

Livia is desperate to have the perfect party and her husband, Adam, knows how important it is for everything to go well. The build-up has been so prolonged and now it’s time for the main event and everything must be flawless. Livia is excited and happy but there is so much riding on the party and she feels guilty about the amount of money it has cost and the fact that they could have had a 25th wedding anniversary party in a few years time instead.

Despite all this, we learn that Livia is hiding a secret about Marnie from Adam and he is also hiding a devastating secret from her. While all the guests are having fun and enjoying the party, Livia and Adam are mingling but trying not to crack under the strain of keeping their explosive secrets to themselves. It is torture to watch the pair of them wrestling with their secrets, each afraid to tell the other as they want things to be perfect for the party and for everything still to be normal.

In an effort to protect each other, both Livia and Adam made some rather bizarre decisions but I think the run-up to the party had been so long and involved and Adam knew how much it meant to Livia that he didn’t want to do anything to ruin the momentous occasion. At the heart of it, they love each other and want to delay the upset as long as they can, but I think it would have been better for them just to be honest from the start, forget the party and support each other through things.

Poor Adam was going through such emotional turmoil and I almost felt like I was living his discomfort, fears, indecision and sheer terror over what he should do for the best. He did well to hold it together as much as he did!

Livia has been keeping her secret about Marnie for longer and she’s still trying to piece together all the parts of the jigsaw and work out what has been going on. Marnie is Adam’s favourite, as he has a rather tense and awkward relationship with Josh, and Livia doesn’t want to destroy their special bond.

I raced through this gripping, intense book in a matter of hours; frantically turning the pages to see what happened and hoping that everything would be resolved without too much heartbreak for all concerned. It was such a tense read at times and there was a sense of impending doom and apprehension running throughout the book, as well as some really awkward and uncomfortable moments for several of the characters!

I really enjoyed this book – it was so nerve wracking and gripping and I could feel my heart racing as the story progressed and things were revealed, and it made me feel very emotional, being a parent myself. The story was well paced and it flowed well, with just enough revealed over the course of the book/party to keep me hooked. It was very thought provoking and I was still mulling over it hours later, just wondering what I would have done if I’d been in either Livia or Adam’s position.

Overall, a great read; really absorbing, touching and fascinating! Would definitely recommend. I’m pleased that I’ve got a couple of B.A. Paris’ books still to read and I’m already looking forward to her next one!

Buy the book

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in hardback on 9 January, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

B.A. Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown and Bring Me Back. Having sold over one million copies in the UK alone, she is a New York Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. Her books have sold in 38 territories around the world.

She was brought up in England and moved to France where she spent some years working as a trader in an international bank before retraining as a teacher and setting up a language school with her husband. They have five daughters and have recently moved back to the UK. 

Twitter: @BAParisAuthor
Facebook: @BAParisAuthor

Blog tour

Thanks to Jessica Lee and Isabel Smith at HQ Stories for my proof copy of The Dilemma and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.


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