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The Dilemma by B.A. Paris | Book Review


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?


If you’ve been on my blog for any period of time, or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I am obsessed with B.A. Paris. I’ve devoured every book she’s written so far, from front cover to back cover, usually in a very short time span – seriously, I think I’ve finished all of her books in one or two days. It’s mad! I don’t know what it is, but something about her writing and the plots she comes up with just makes me breeze through them. As soon as I start reading, I can’t put it down until I’ve finished. You just always need to know more with every page you turn. And The Dilemma was no different.

Read my previous B.A. Paris book reviews: Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, Bring Me Back

I wouldn’t say this book is a thriller, though; it’s more of a family drama. Still very intriguing, but you’re not at the edge of your seat or looking over your shoulder at every strange noise you hear. I have to admit that this was a bit of an adjustment for me, as I was expecting another chilling tale that has you second-guessing everything, but The Dilemma was nonetheless a real page-turner.

We follow Livia and Adam in the run-up to Livia’s big birthday party that she’s been planning for twenty years as a substitute for the beautiful wedding she never got to have. Yeah, I found that a bit excessive too. Everything is ready to go, and the sun has even come out after a period of heavy rainfall. It looks like it’s going to be the perfect day – everything Livia has been waiting for for so long. Reality could not be further from the truth, though. Soon enough, you’re sent off on a wild roller coaster ride with a few good twists along the way. And throughout the entire book you’re just waiting for the big bomb to finally drop and to see the fallout.

As was briefly the case at the end of Bring Me Back, the chapters switch between the perspective of the two main characters throughout the entire book. This gives you a bit more insight into the motives of both Adam and Livia for the – sometimes weird – decisions they make. I still think that some aspects of the story are a bit too unrealistic – like the fact that Livia has been planning a birthday party for over two decades, or that Adam thinks it’s okay to keep an earth-shattering secret like that. They do have their reasons, and I guess a few of the questionable judgments need to be there to shape the story, but at times it all became a bit ridiculous.

Having said that, there are a few decent plot twists in the story that satisfy your need for an exciting read. Some revelations are entirely unexpected and will blow you away. If you’ve read any other books by B.A. Paris, it’s what you’ve come to expect (yes, I do see the irony of that) – and she definitely does not disappoint in that regard.

You might also like: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty | Book ReviewThe Lie by C.L. Taylor | Book Review

Although I didn’t love the story at first and it took me a little longer to get into than her previous novels, this book is still a solid four star read. Just don’t go in expecting a riveting thriller, because then you’ll surely be disappointed. It all felt a little bit more predictable than her previous novels. There are still some good plot twists in there, though; the overarching story line was just more obvious than what I’m used to from Paris. And I have to say that I didn’t see the ending coming at all. Granted, it was a bit frustrating, but nevertheless completely unexpected.

Have you read The Dilemma by B.A. Paris yet? If not… Did my review pique your interest? Let me know in the comments down below.

I hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll see you again next week with a new blog post!

Psst, want to keep up with what I’m reading? Become my friend on Goodreads.

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