The Dilemma by B A Paris – ARC Review

Title: The Dilemma

Author: B A Paris

Genre: Mystery, General Fiction

Publisher: HQ Harper Collins

Publication Date: 9th January 2020

Rating: 3/5




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?


I generally quite like a bit of domestic suspense so the premise of The Dilemma intrigued me. The story follows Livia and Adam, a married couple, on the day of Livia’s much anticipated and extravagant 40th birthday party. Both of them are keeping major secrets from each other which the reader slowly becomes aware of as the book progresses. The truth of these secrets and their reasons for keeping them is the big hook of The Dilemma and is sometimes successful and sometimes not.

I have to admit I was definitely compelled to keep reading The Dilemma. I wanted to know what exactly the secrets Livia and Adam were keeping involved. However the book does get quite repetitive after a while. I just felt like things were dragged out a bit and the story could have done with more action or tension throughout. The other problem I had was the slightly odd obsession Livia has with having a huge, fancy birthday party – ostensibly because she didn’t have a big wedding – although I couldn’t really work out why the two things were so intertwined. Livia’s intensity about the party came across as slightly juvenile and just didn’t make much sense to me personally.

On the more positive side, The Dilemma is  certainly an addictive and compulsive read, There are some really interesting situations that arise and the relationships between certain characters are intriguing to examine as they unravel. Overall I have to say I was a  little underwhelmed by The Dilemma and there wasn’t quite enough suspense for the repetitiveness to work. However the addictive nature of the secrets being revealed did keep me reading at a quick pace. A bit hit-or-miss in my view.


I received this e-arc through Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion. 

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