The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
Published by Bantam on July 25, 2017 (expected)
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller
Format & Pages: e-book, 432
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In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . . Never mention The Pact to anyone.
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples. And then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.
You know how sometimes a book blurb either gives away too much information or completely misrepresents a book? I’m happy to say that was certainly not the case for The Marriage Pact, especially since the blurb is what enticed me to read it in the first place.
With super short chapters that made it easy to read compulsively, this was well written in a conversational style that also wove in a lot of information about human behavior and marriage. Whether it is all factually correct or not, I’m not sure, but most of it rang true. And perhaps that is why the characters that Richmond created seem so realistic. Both Alice and Jake are interesting, layered characters, with Jake taking a slight lead on this since he is our narrator. As they both evolve throughout the course of the story, their relationship evolves with it.
Reading The Marriage Pact was something of a roller coaster ride for me. It alternately entranced and horrified me, with an unrelenting pace and multiple loops leaving you back where you started (chronologically, physically, and metaphorically). And like any other wild ride I’ve been on, I simply cannot stop thinking about it.
And this is really where the strength of this novel lies. Whether you agree with decisions made within or not, it makes you stop and think. About human nature, why we make the choices we do, where our values lie, the complicated shades of gray between good and evil, and so much more. Yes, on the surface, this is a fast paced thriller about a couple that joins a group which seems very cultish. But there is so much more depth here if you’re willing to really sift through all of it.
If this sounds like something that might interest you, I encourage you to try The Marriage Pact. Fair warning, there are a couple fairly graphic scenes of “punishment.”
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.