Michael Joseph 28th June 2018
The Perfect Couple
Meeting Albie gave Beth a fresh start – a chance to leave her past behind. Now she has her new husband, an ambitious, talented young neurosurgeon.
The Perfect Marriage
Their marriage gives Beth the safe haven she’s always wanted – with just one catch. Albie has no idea of the secrets she’s keeping. He doesn’t know that years ago, Beth had an affair with Ted, the boss helping Albie’s star ascend. Nor that the affair’s devastating ending will have consequences for their own future.
The Perfect Storm
So when Ted’s generous patronage begins to sour, Beth senses everything she’s built could crumble. And she sees an opportunity. To satisfy Albie’s ambitions, and her own obsessive desire for revenge
She’ll keep her marriage and her secret safe.
But how far will the fall take them?
Divided into 4 Acts and with stage narrative setting the scene interspersed throughout the book, the format of this book felt very original to me. With an abrupt start leaving me feeling that I didn’t know what was going on, I was unsure whether this would be a book for me. I needn’t have worried at all, quickly I became immersed in this book set in London and Scotland with some terrific characters and superb descriptions of the settings.
Beth and Albie do have the perfect marriage and in many ways I liked them a lot, ambitious for each other – a family and a successful career for Albie are dreams the couple share. But always in the background is Ted, Beth’s secret ex lover and Albie’s aspirational boss, hugely renowned in the medical profession but is he duplicitous? Or not. Very cleverly written with a real sense of smoke and mirrors, the author skilfully leads the reader in one direction, then swiftly pulls the carpet from beneath their feet, leaving the reader unsure, wrong footed.
Personally I liked the characters of Beth and Albie and their reactions when their dreams were threatened filled me with glee. That said I suspect many will dislike most of the characters, I suspect many will feel the book starts slowly, but please don’t let either of these things put you off. This is a wickedly delightful piece of domestic noir with a fantastic spiralling as the main characters cling desperately to their dreams, while protecting their secrets at all costs.
Set in the world of neurosurgery, Albie and his mentor are pushing the boundaries of medical research. The plot is multi-layered with noble ambitions in the field of medicine combined with bad behaviour! I really enjoyed the writing style, which was not written as a play but had brief interludes detailing the audience perspective of the stage setting. Throughout the story there was a sense of foreboding, the knowing that things would go wrong and this created a sinister undercurrent throughout.
A great, great read definitely recommended by me.
Thank you so much to Jenny Platt and Michael Joseph Publishers for organising and inviting me to be part of this blog tour. Please do support the tour and check out what others are saying about this great book.