The Dilemma

The Dilemma


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?

Our Review

I have a read a few books by this author, but The Dilemma was completely unexpected.

Livia has been planning her 40th birthday party for years as a way to make up for the lavish wedding she wished to have. All her friends and loved ones will be there to celebrate with her except for her daughter Marnie who has been studying abroad. Livia pretends she is sad that Marnie won’t be there but in reality, she is relieved because she knows a secret about Marnie that will devastate her husband Adam. Livia has known for weeks but she wants them to have this one last happy time before she drops her bombshell.

Adam has secretly planned for Marnie to travel home for the party. Before it begins though he hears some terrible news and has to decide whether to tell Livia or let her enjoy one last moment of happiness.

The Dilemma is written in split person narrative from the perspective of both Adam and Livia and suits this novel well as the reader can get to grips with the character’s motivations.

The book begins on Saturday 9th June at 3.30am with Livia waking to hear her husband leaving on his motorbike.

“The guilty beating of my heart slows when I see, behind the marquee…He’s there, he hasn’t gone to settle scores.”

Adam’s first chapter is full of anguish, you can tell he is really battling some strong emotions.

“The drag of the wind on my face is intoxicating and I have to fight an overwhelming urge to let go of the handlebars and freefall to my death. Is it terrible – that Livia and Josh aren’t enough to make me want to live?”

He is pulled over by the police and tells them it is about his daughter Marnie.

The next chapter begins the day before on the morning of the party.

We learn that Adam and Livia had their son Josh at a young age and for a long time afterwards Adam struggled to adjust to life as a parent whilst his friends were at university and out every weekend. He was a poor and absent father to Josh but then Marnie came along and Adam realised what being a father should be like.

“I’m reminded that Marnie is on her way home.

Smiling at the thought of seeing her again because nine months is a long time.”

Adam is paying for Marnie to come back for the party via Cairo and then Amsterdam as he knows if he gets her a direct flight Livia will not be impressed because he wouldn’t pay for Josh to have a direct flight to New York a few weeks later.

He swears Marnie to secrecy because he doesn’t want Livia to find out before the party.

“There are quite a few surprises lined up for Livia today, but Marnie turning up at the party is going to be the best surprise of all.”

Livia hasn’t spoken to her parents for many years, but she is thinking of them on the morning of her party because it Is partly because of them that she is having the party.

“When I became pregnant, not long after my seventeenth birthday, they refused to have anything more to do with me. And the lavish wedding became a hurried fifteen minute ceremony in the local registry office, with only Adam’s family and our best friend’s Jess and Nelson as guests.”

Right from the beginning Livia’s secret intrigued me. She clearly is close to her daughter and loves her very much so why doesn’t she want her home?

“Although I miss Marnie, I’m glad she won’t be here tonight. I feel terrible because I should be sorry that she’s missing the party, and I was at first. Now, I don’t even want her home at the end of the month.”

The reader is left wondering what could have possibly caused this change.

I don’t wish to give any spoilers so I will just say that I had very different reactions to Livia and Adam withholding information from each other. I think Livia did the right thing in her decision although her motives were questionable and more likely selfish.

Adam, on the other hand, did not do the right thing but his motives were likely more to do with shock and I need to not know what he knew.

There were times when I wanted it to speed up, but I am not sure if it was because I found it so gripping or because it felt a bit stalled.

Having said that I would definitely recommend this book.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 3.6/5

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