THE MARRIAGE PACT: A NOVEL, BY MICHELLE RICHMOND
PUBLICATION: BANTAM: JULY 25, 2017
About the book:
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.
Looking for something creepy and different? The Marriage Pact, the upcoming suspense/thriller from author Michelle Richmond needs to go to the top of your TBR.
Sweet, happy couple Alice and Jake are getting married. Alice is an attorney that used to be a somewhat popular musician. Jake is a child/adolescent therapist breaking out into Marriage/Couples Counseling at his practice. After Alice helps out a famous folk singer with a lawsuit, she invites Finnegan and his wife to their wedding, but prior to the wedding, Finnegan sends them an unusual gift in the mail. Soon after the wedding, they learn that Finnegan has invited them into an exclusive club for married couples, called The Pact. Seemingly a positive thing, Alice and Jake sign on, however, they quickly learn that The Pact is much more than they realized.
I will start by saying that although this whole idea creeped me out from the first page, The Pact seemed harmless when first presented to Alice and Jake. Described as a family that helps each other in maintaining happy and permanent marriages, there were rules regarding buying your spouse a gift monthly, take quarterly trips out of town, and always answering the phone when your spouse calls. However, this weird group of people had many more rules. Given a manual after joining The Pact, Alice and Jake were repeatedly instructed to read it in its entirety and to memorize the rules, laws, and punishments. Of course, neither of them read the entire manual, therefore, they are blown away once they start being accused of various infractions requiring punishment and/or reeducation. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but as the novel progresses, things become increasingly worse and they consistently lose any control over their own lives.
After carefully reading this novel over the past two days, I’ve thought a lot about The Pact and am able to see the possibilities of people being swept up into the idea. Both Jake and Alice wanted their marriage to be forever, they wanted to be happy, and in love. So when The Pact is presented, they considered it a gift and a sign of how to ensure a happy marriage. As Jake begins taking on clients for marriage counseling, he spends a great deal of time researching marriage as a whole, as well as, various facts and statistics regarding studies involving the success and failure of marriages. Slowly, both he and Alice start to realize that there is no magic formula, group, club, etc. that will ensure a happy marriage, but that it requires love, commitment, and working at it every day.
Told entirely from Jake’s point of view, I feel that I connected with and got to know his character much more than Alice. Descriptions from the author provided some insight into Alice’s feelings, but flip-flopped the entire novel between thinking the enjoyed The Pact and that she wanted out. There were several instances where she justified her punishments by saying they had made her a better wife, and I honestly wanted to reach out and shake her. Even when I thought she was starting to think sensibly, she would surprise me again, and at times I found her rather morally ambiguous.
The Marriage Pact starts out very fast-paced and truly has you squirming in your seat until the last page. Michelle Richmond created a suspenseful, scary, stressful, yet at times, very happy and love-filled novel that touched on just about every emotion that I have. Although there were several moments where if it would have been a movie, I would have looked away, I still devoured every single word of this fantastic novel. This is a must-read for any lovers of suspense/psychological thrillers!
*Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!