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by B.A. Paris

Pub Date: June 30th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-250-15136-0
Publisher: St. Martin's

A woman plans—and experiences—the long-awaited 40th birthday party of her dreams. But to ensure the party is a success, both she and her husband have decided to keep unexpected news from each other that will derail their lives.

Neither Livia nor her husband, Adam, are perfect. Over the decades of their marriage they have both hurt each other, but despite this, they still love each other. Married quickly in a registry office as teens because of Livia’s unexpected pregnancy, their planned futures derailed 23 years ago as parenthood and manual labor replaced their individuality and chances to go to university. Because her dreamed-for over-the-top wedding didn’t take place, Livia began saving money to have the perfect 40th birthday party as a substitute. But 20 years into the planning and six weeks before the party she finds out something she fears will end the comfortable life she and Adam have established with their two grown children, Josh and Marnie. So she decides to keep it a secret until the party is over. And the day of the party, Adam finds out something devastating that could not only destroy their lives if it is true, but could also needlessly ruin the party Livia has been planning for so long if it isn’t. So he decides to keep quiet until after the party. This is a novel told almost entirely in hourlong chunks during the course of that day, alternating between Livia's and Adam’s points of view. Author Paris grapples with the question of whether it's love or selfishness that keeps half of a couple from sharing bad news immediately with the other half and whether or not it's deceptive to do so. While the complicated, interlocking nature of Livia and Adam’s social circle might present an overwhelming amount of detail to absorb at the start of the book, clarity comes quickly and is crucial to understanding the story.

An all-encompassing, tightly plotted novel of psychological suspense.