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  • Writer's pictureChrissy's Books

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

Rating 7/10

I would like to first of all thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advance review copy of this book! This is now my 3rd time reading a book by B. A. Paris, soon as I received this I knew I would be definitely reading it ASAP. The past few books I’ve read have been quite heavy reads, so I felt that I needed to balance it out with an easy, page turner and a light read. The Dilemma totally hit the spot.


The Dilemma follows a husband and wife named Livia and Adam. It’s Livia’s 40th Birthday and her husband Adam, is throwing her an epic party of all parties to make up for the wedding celebration they never had. Livia and Adam fell pregnant as teenagers, which meant that they never got the wedding of their dreams, this also caused Livia’s parents to disown her. Since then, their marriage has had its ups and downs, but along the way they have had some blissful memories with their two now grown children, Josh and Marnie.

Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter Marnie, if revealed, it will completely shake the foundation of their family to the core. Marnie has been studying abroad and can’t make it to the party, which Livia feels quite relieved about. Livia is now in a dilemma as she needs to tell Adam about this secret but she wants to wait till the end of the party to do it, so they can have this last happy time together.

Meanwhile, Adam has a huge surprise for Livia, he’s arranged for Marnie to fly back secretly just in time for the party. Later on, Adam is faced with his own dilemma and he too is struggling on whether to tell Livia his terrible secret. Does Adam wait until the party's over to tell Livia his secret? If you had the choice, would you rather tell the secret before or after the party, and is it worth letting the person you love enjoy the last few hours of happiness before finding out some terrible news? One thing is clear, Marnie’s arrival could literally shatter their whole world.

My Review:

Seeing as this was my third book by B.A. Paris, I was expecting it to be more of a psychological thriller, because her books tend to be more in that 'edge of your seat' thrilling genre. I was quite surprised when I realized it wasn’t like her other books. That being said, I did enjoy reading this novel. The story was told from two points of views, the husband Adam, and his wife, Livia. It was a super easy read as we were only getting the perspectives of those two characters, this meant you were never really lost at all in the plot and the story. I really enjoyed the formatting of the chapters. Everything was basically leading to this huge party, so from the beginning, the book begins to countdown to the party and each chapter is told in chunks of time. For example: ‘8am-9am’. This made the book extremely readable and gripping! I felt super excited to read what would happen in the next hour, and so on and so forth.

Livia and Adam are a sweet couple who care a lot about each other. I also quite liked their son Josh, as well as their close circle of friends and family. You definitely got pulled into their little world which was nice and you could see that they have a pretty good life, even though they struggled a bit while they were teenagers with a child. I have to say that you don’t really get a good sense of who Marnie is, as a person I mean, so I did find myself quite detached from her character, even though the entire plot circled around her. I also at times felt insanely frustrated while reading the book! Haha A few chapters in, you figure out what the big secrets are and now it’s just a matter of Adam and Livia telling each other about their secrets. I did sometimes, feel like I was going a little crazy reading it and I was almost screaming to Adam and Livia to just bloody communicate with each other instead of coming up with these diabolical scenarios in their head about what they were hiding from each other. I think that B.A. Paris should mostly stick to her psychological thrillers a bit more because they’re always so damn good! That’s not to say I disliked this book, it was an okay read and just what I needed to read, but I have enjoyed her past books a little more.

The Dilemma is a book that you could easily read in one sitting. It’s that readable. It was unputdownable, addictive, and a page turner which will keep you wanting to read more and more as the hours pass in the book. I also quite like that the book centered around a huge party that was happening in the background, so it made it feel like a light, fun and glamorous read, and it felt realistic. This is a lovely summer read and you will finish it all in no time!

Oh! I noticed something totally off in this book! The Dilemma is based in England, and all the characters are English from what I could tell, and in the book there was this strange quote below: (Page 202)

“A few people laugh and I feel a weird sense of disorientation. I can’t believe that I’m sitting here, listening to people talk about soccer.”

Okay so from someone who lived in the UK for 15 years, NO ONE refers to ‘football’ as soccer in the UK, no one. I assume this was done by the US publisher translating for the US version of this book. I would love to hear from someone who has read this in the UK if they spotted the same error. It mostly made me laugh out loud.

The other two books I read by B.A. Paris were: Behind Closed Doors & The Breakdown (click on the names of the books to see my reviews).

I gave both books an 8/10 rating. Those two are definite must reads for psychological thriller lovers!

The Dilemma is available for purchase now :)

My song pick for The Dilemma was super easy to choose. I wanted to pick a song that celebrated the epic party. In the book, Livia and Adam have their special cheesy wedding song that they mention a few times. I had to choose it as it’s a classic tune, also it shows how close they are and how much they love each other. The song is: ‘Unchained Melody’ by The Righteous Brothers

Genre: Mystery | Contemporary Fiction | Suspense

Publication Date: June 30, 2020


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