THE PERFECT MARRIAGE by Kimberla Lawson Roby


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Denise and Derrek appear to be the perfect couple, but can their love for each other and their family overcome their deepening drug addictions?

As this sketchy novella opens, Denise and Derrek are at a 12-step meeting. Derrek, whose parents were drug addicts, has decided that they need help quitting what his wife of 15 years considers merely recreational drug use. Denise, unlike her husband, came from a "good" family, and as a nurse, she believes she understands and can control both their joint cocaine use and her increasing reliance on Vicodin. What Derrek doesn't know is that Denise isn't serious about giving up a habit that she doesn't consider dangerous. What neither realizes is that both are vulnerable and that a family crisis will push them over the edge. Before long, they're both using again and moving into harder drugs that not only endanger their livelihoods and their comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle, but eventually the health and happiness of their daughters. Roby (The Reverend's Wife, 2012, etc.) keeps to her fast, sexy, moralistic style; there is little doubt that love and faith will win out, especially for such an attractive couple. What keeps the adult fairy-tale formula from completely satisfying, however, is its sketchiness. The effects of the drugs, for example, are vague. The secondary characters, such as kindly old Lula from whom Denise steals drugs, are flat stereotypes. And details, like the health scare that starts Derrek using again, are mentioned after the fact, as if the author decided on a motive too late and didn't want to bother going back. This might hold fans until the next installation of the author's Reverend Curtis Black novels, but it won't win over new readers.

An outline, rather than a fully drawn study, of a beautiful couple's trials with addiction, their predictable redemption too easily won.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-446-57250-7
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2012


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