Book Review: The Dilemma by B. A. Paris

A woman's birthday party takes a dark turn in a poignant, heart-stopping new novel from the reigning queen of suspense, B. A. Paris.

A few pages into The Dilemma, the relentless theme of the Perry Mason show pulsed in my brain. Something earthshattering and inexorable is about to consume Livia’s much anticipated 40th birthday party. The story is a departure for B. A. Paris, who is famous for her thrillers. The Dilemma is suspenseful and riveting, but no crimes are committed nor uncovered. 

Adam and Livia fell in love when they were barely adults, planning someday to get married. The only child of distant parents, Livia remembers:

[T]he closest I got to my mother was when she bought bridal magazines, and while we looked at the dresses and cakes and flower arrangements. 

 

But 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, with only Adam’s family and our best friends, Jess and Nelson, as guests.

Adam became a wood craftsman and Livia a stay-at-home mother, taking care of Josh, now 22, and Marnie, 19. Everyone Livia loves has been invited to her party—only Marnie can’t come because she’s living in Hong Kong. Livia is not unhappy about that because she recently learned something very troubling about her daughter’s life, a secret she keeps from Adam. Unbeknownst to Livia, Adam arranged for Marnie to be a surprise guest. Husband and wife will pay a terrible price for secrets they seem unable or unwilling to share. But enough foreshadowing.

On the cusp of her 40th birthday, Livia admits to herself, “If I’d been able to have the wedding they promised me, I wouldn’t have become obsessed with having my own special day.” Adam is not equally invested in the party but he writes to her estranged parents, pleading with them to come, saying it would mean the world to his wife. 

In their early years near Bristol, patterns were established that still haunt them. Because they had no money, Livia took in laundry and built a hidden nest-egg. She thought it was a secret, but it wasn’t. Months before the birthday party Adam says that with Josh going away this summer and with Marnie in Hong Kong, money is sure to be tight.

She looked at me, and I knew that look. Guilt.

 

“What?” I asked.

 

“I’ve been saving,” she admitted. “For the party. I’ve been putting money by for years, not huge amounts, just a little each month. I’m sorry, I should have told you.” 

 

“It’s fine,” I said, wondering if the reason she hadn’t told me was because of the time I spent her savings on a motorbike. It still makes me cringe even though it happened years ago, before Marnie was born.

Freedom was another issue. When they were newly-weds, they depended on Adam’s piece-meal income to survive but every so often he went AWOL. His friends and his employer explained to Livia that it wasn’t personal, he was letting off steam—keeping up with college friends—but she was very hurt and those wounds, although papered over, didn’t disappear. An anonymous quote sums up Livia’s feelings, “Time heals all wounds, but it doesn’t change who somebody is. Stop going back to pain.” Livia’s tendency to re-open painful memories feeds into her knee-jerk need for secrecy.

Their differing relationships with their children also marred their marriage. Adam and Josh were awkward together: their breaking point came during the construction of a Lego fort. 

“Daddy, I only need help with this last bit,” he’d said for the fifth time. “I did the rest all by myself, just like you told me to.”

 

“It’s too old for him,” Marnie kept telling me when I ignored him. “He can’t do it.”

 

But Josh had persevered and instead of praising him, I lost my temper and knocked the fort over.

 

“Why you do that?” Marnie asked, her grammar deserting her as she looked in horror at the trashed fort.

 

“I—it was an accident,” I lied.

 

The look she gave me, of pure disgust, reminded me of the one Livia used to give me when I eventually turned up after spending days in Bristol with Nelson.

Adam feels guilty and tries desperately to mend fences but in vain: after the incident Josh will have nothing to do with his father. Years later, Adam can release some of his guilt because he arranged for Josh to get an internship in New York City with one of his wealthy clients. The family trait to be secretive and avoid examining painful truths creates a time bomb. Adam doesn’t want to be separated from his girlfriend Amy, but he dreads letting down his father. When he finally talks to his dad during Livia’s party, his father is surprisingly understanding.

“Josh,” I say, stopping him. “It’s fine. It’s not a problem. If you don’t want to go to New York, don’t go.”

 

He stares, relief washing over his face. “Really?”

 

“Yes.” I swallow painfully. “Life’s too short. Just do what makes you happy.”

 

He shakes his head slowly. “You wouldn’t believe how worried I’ve been about telling you.”

When a young couple encounters problems like lack of money, an unequal division of household labor, or difficulties with child-rearing, those issues seem insurmountable. Years later, when time and money ease those difficulties, is all well? Not necessarily. The Dilemma is an honest, sometimes jarring, exploration of secrets made and kept in the name of love. As Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” The Dilemma explores the hard-won wisdom underlying that statement.

Learn More Or Order A Copy

Comments

  1. driving directions

    The information you share gives me more knowledge. I am very grateful for that.

  2. Jaipur Escorts

    I really discovered this a rich degree of data. The thing I was looking through for.I ought to recommend you that please continue sharing such sort of data.

  3. Goa Escorts

    We realize that you are having such a significant amount of fun in Goa. What’s more, you can make that fun, much more, better through spending time with our hot independent escorts Goa.

  4. Goa Escorts Service

    Regardless of whether it’s an Indian independent Escorts in Goa or a Russian escort. We can give you any girls at any of your accommodation.

  5. Goa Escort

    Our VIP goa escorts are too appealing models who are seeking for those kinds of men who need sexual joy in their life. They are a wonderful curvy female who is fit to make your evenings noteworthy for a lifetime.

  6. Goa Escorts Service

    I found this an informative and interesting post, so I think it is very useful and knowledgeable.

  7. Escorts in Goa

    Hi guys! you can book a call girl from Goa escort service to have fun and enjoyment with her. Goa call girls are very gorgeous and extremely beautiful. So if you want to spend some lovely time with hot sexy ladies contact Goa Escorts agency. For more information visit this website.

  8. Goa Escorts

    I’m so excited for you! Cry No More is a great album and you truly deserve this! I’ll be watching. Looking for the best escort services in Goa then contact Goa Escorts for amazing hospitality.

  9. Goa Call Girls

    I was very encouraged to find this site. The reason is that this is such an informative post. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Goa Escorts Service

    I’m constantly searching on the internet for posts that will help me. Too much is clearly to learn about this. I believe you created good quality items in Functions also. Keep working, congrats!

  11. Paharganj Escorts

    A Great Post. Well said, your every point is true.

  12. Jaipur Call Girls

    I just tracked down this blog and have high trusts in it to proceed. It’s unsafe significant ones. I have added to my top picks.

  13. Chandigarh Call Girls

    Check our Real And Verified Chandigarh Girls Image to Get Your Dream Girl

  14. Call Girls In Goa

    Since we are a very old provider of escort service in Goa, we are having a huge number of satisfied clients and a long range of escorts.

  15. zirakpur Escorts

    All over india Famus escorts Service by nishinegi.com

  16. Goa Escorts Agency

    Appreciation for a striking posting! I respected the experience of understanding it, you’re a striking creator.

  17. Goa Escorts

    Staggering news Dear.., Thank you for saving an edge to oblige us such a confounding article. I found such a central number of deck stuff concerning your blog especially its conversation. Continue to do perfect.

  18. Artificial Grass

    Thanks for sharing such valuable information.

  19. Cricket Turf

    Wanna play sports but don’t have proper arrangements?

  20. linksys extender setup xxx

    To begin with, users need to log in to their Linksys extender using the Linksys extender login page.

  21. Escort Goa

    Ensured enlivening redirection in Goa is all possible with us as Ankita Oberoi has 1,000 of astonishing young women in our sack.

  22. Patna Call Girls

    Appreciation for sharing this information. I really like your blog locale without a doubt. You have truly shared an enlightening and overpowering web journal locale with people

  23. Sheetal

    Spending your time alone. don’t worry, we are here to fulfil all your demands without any hindrance. For more details contact us.

  24. Gurgaon Call Girl Mobile Number

    I saw that I required motivation using all ways. Hanging. Would see the expense inside the event in which you move discussions or something, it would be an amazing way for your clients to the point of connection.

  25. Call Girl Agency in Bhopal

    If you want to enjoy the pleasurable moments with hot and slutty girls, then you must hire them once from Sunithasen girls escort girls.

  26. Escort Service Ghaziabad

    You will influence by their mistaking system for get-together acting. You can do anything with these women, yet we demand you to charmingly don’t request that they truly faint things. Our female models will really fulfill you by their ruler affiliations. You can participate in the most sexual call young lady relationship with our Five star Escort in Ghaziabad. Superbly strikingly a beast piece of our Ghaziabad Escort yield all in nature. They are, if all else fails, to participate in sexual relations with you. So say a gave words to them to make them OK with you.

  27. Gurgaon Escorts

    Intimate services include intense love-making, rough sex, hardcore anal sex, blow jobs, mouth fucks, strip tease, role play, lap dance, etc. All the high-end sensual drives will make a man feel delighted. Our beautiful girls have all these features that would keep you attracted to them. With their edgy looks, charming personalities, and captivating figures, they steal the attention of handsome hunks like you.

  28. Escort Service In Ghaziabad

    Taking into account sharing such a data it is genuinely proposed for me. Vital article with staggering thought Thank you for such a central article. I truly appreciate for this confusing data.

  29. Call Girls in Ghaziabad

    I truly respect this shocking post that you have obliged us. I ensure this would be titanic for dominatingly in common amazingly a monster piece of people

  30. Ghaziabad Call Girls

    One of the most respected call young lady of Ghaziabad is here and moving past you are looking for hot and provocative young lady, we are here to give you, if all else fails, inclination and fulfillment. Visit Ghaziabad Escorts and meet confounding young ladies accessible 24×7 hours open to you.

  31. Escorts Service in Indirapuram

    Need cosmetologist young ladies in your arranged room so Indirapuram Call Young ladies you can purchase from us incall and outcall settlement on a particularly central level over the top rate.

  32. Call Girl Powai

    Are you looking for genuine and sexy Call Girl in Powai, Just visit our website and get professional Call Girls Service at Low rate.

  33. Call Girls Service in Agra

    In which latest two or three years, The Agra Escorts Organization has been at the front of giving clients ensured female partners whose basic point is to make up for the shortfall in clients’ lives.

  34. Govt Jobs

    you’ve summarized beautifully Dilemma by B. A. Paris

  35. Escorts in Lucknow

    If you are somebody who needs to invest energy with the youthful and the coy then you can constantly look at school call girls.

  36. Goa Call Girls

    We have the most astounding escort young ladies that anyone could hope to track down in Goa. We are running driving escort in the city. Our call young ladies have the most certain demeanor that you can’t find elsewhere in the city. Our Goa Escorts will treat you purposely.

  37. Escorts in Goa

    You will influence by their mistaking system for get-together acting. You can do anything with these women, yet we demand you to charmingly don’t request that they truly faint things. Our female models will really fulfill you by their ruler affiliations. You can participate in the most sexual call young lady relationship with our Five star Escort in Goa. Superbly strikingly a beast piece of our Goa Escort yield all in nature. They are, if all else fails, to participate in sexual relations with you. So say a gave words to them to make them OK with you.

  38. Escort Service Ghaziabad

    This is the place where our service inclines well. They give you unattached fellowships. The call girls will be with you and will support and reassure you.

  39. Escort Service Kanpur

    Have you ever dreamed of being an Kanpur Escort? There are limitless options for a high-class escort service. With the sheer amount of escorts in Kanpur the world, it’s near impossible to find one that meets your standards.

  40. Escorts Service in Raipur

    If you’re looking for an elite escort service, look no further than ours! We provide only the best experience Call Girl for our clients.

  41. Zirakpur Escorts

    The best and most well-known company in the area that offers real escorts in Zirakpur is the Zirakpur escort agency. With the help of our daring escorts in Zirakpur, you may satisfy any seductive sexual fantasies you may have. Numerous seductive services are available from our exotic escorts. You’ll have the impression that you are in heaven.

  42. Zirakpur Escorts

    Make no plans to meet if you are unsure of the type of relationship you want with the Zirakpur call Girl service. Stop at Step 1 if you’re unsure of how far to push things, if anything makes you uneasy, or if your limits aren’t apparent. Likewise, proceed to Step 1 if your relationship with someone else is ambiguous (for instance, if your partner is unaware that you use an escort service). Once you are certain of your own position, there will be plenty of time for everything.

  43. Call girl in Chandigarh

    Chandigarh Call Girls are working as per their own desire, for the agency, it has to know most important that who keep desire or not, reason many call girls are here to earn money only, suppose they have to work 5 to 6 times in a day as per bond, they will think to finish it early and will go back to their home.

Comments are closed.