The Dilemma

The Dilemma

Book - 2020
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A woman's birthday party takes a dark turn in a poignant, heart-stopping new novel from the reigning queen of suspense, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors , The Breakdown , and Bring Me Back .

"A heartbreaking page-turner that will have you up at night reading just one more chapter." -- Catherine Steadman , #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something in the Water

"The phenomenal B. A. Paris has done it again! I devoured The Dilemma in one sitting--it grabbed me from the very first page and wouldn't let go until I'd finished. Secrets, guilt, shame and heartbreak--this story has it all in spades."-- Sandie Jones , New York Times bestselling author of The Other Woman

Knowing the truth will destroy her. Keeping it secret will destroy him.

It's Livia's 40th birthday, and her husband Adam is throwing her the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there, except her daughter Marnie, who's studying abroad. But Livia is secretly glad Marnie won't be there.

Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. She needs to tell Adam, but she's waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam, meanwhile, has his own surprise for Livia: he's arranged for Marnie to secretly fly back for the party. But before Marnie arrives, Adam hears some terrible news. Now he too is faced with a dilemma: Does he share what he's learned with his wife? Is hiding the truth the same as telling a lie? And how far are Adam and Livia willing to go to protect the ones they love--and give each other a last few hours of happiness?

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2020.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9781250151360
Branch Call Number: PARIS B
Characteristics: 342 pages ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
May 09, 2021

Read like a “chick flick” film. Female authors just don’t seem to understand how men think, feel, talk, relate (except for Agatha Christie). As a romance novel maybe it’s good; guys: don’t waste your time with this.

Mar 17, 2021

The description of this booked peeked my interest and it was an opportunity to read something from an author I hadn’t read before. It was interesting at first but became quite tedious. The couple were both keeping secrets from one another. Every chapter flipped from husband to wife and the common thread throughout was “I have to tell him/her but he/she is so happy. Once I tell him/her our lives will be forever changed.” That replayed over and over. I wanted to find out how it all ended so I kept going. Reading other reviews, this was not one of her better books so I will pick up another and try again.

Mar 08, 2021

This was more of a family drama than a thriller but it still had lots of suspense.

Feb 18, 2021

The theme is the dynamics of grief. Setting is England. Over three days a couple.e is preparing dfor a 40th birthday party. Daughter is coming home rom Hong Kong via Ciaro and her plane rashes. When does Mother get told? When does Mother re veal daughters secret? Gets tedious.

Jan 27, 2021

One word: anticlimactic. If you're expecting one of B.A. Paris' usual psychological thriller novels, you will be sorely disappointed. The entire book, I kept expecting some kind of a twist (which is pretty much the hallmark of the psychological thriller genre). Instead, it's hideously predictable. Something I love about Paris' previous novels is her unpredictability - somehow, no matter how much you think you've figured out the storyline, she throws in a wrench that completely derails your expectations. This is in no way a thriller. My guess is that it started out as one and then Paris completely changed direction halfway though.

It also reads like an incredibly drawn-out short story; 340 pages that EASILY could have fit into 100 or fewer. Two perspectives, husband and wife, each harboring a secret that they can't bring themselves to share with the other. They spend a good couple hundred pages talking in circles, saying pretty much the same thing over and over again. It's really the most manufactured conflict. Lazy storytelling at its best. You also find out their "secrets" within the first half of the book and then spend the rest of it waiting for a twist that never comes. I realize that's pretty much what this review is doing but in some way it's making me feel better about the 6 hours I wasted reading this book.

Dec 17, 2020

I enjoyed this book. Her book, "Behind Closed Doors" was the best though. This one kept me guessing.

JCLAmandaAW Dec 16, 2020

The book largely takes place in the span of a day. The point of view switches back from the husband and wife. Both spouses are keeping a secret from the other one, but they don't want to ruin a party for each other so they keep them to themselves. Meaning 95% of this book is switching back and forth to the thought processes of each character. Maybe fun at first. Then highly annoying.

Each section plays out like this: Husband: Keeping this secret is so hard. I need to tell my wife. I'm going to tell my wife. But she looks so happy/this is the last time she'll be happy/this is what she'll think/etc. I can't tell my wife. Switch to the wife, same internal dialogue. Rinse. Repeat. x100.

I enjoyed the first couple of books by this author but I don't think I'll read her material anymore. These books make me incredibly frustrated by my own relentless curiosity. I can't put it down because I want to know how it ends, even though the book is incredibly exasperating more than suspenseful. So much could be resolved with conversations between the characters but that would be a much shorter book.

2 stars was generous and only because I actually made it through to the end of the book without throwing it across the room (see Nicholas Sparks).

JCLJenV Nov 05, 2020

Carve out some time to read this book, because once you start, you won't want to stop. This thriller keeps you engaged with each page you rapidly turn...

Oct 28, 2020

Listened to this audiobook so it was extra dramatic!! So good! Behind Closed Doors was my favorite book by BA Paris and this was a close 2nd!!

Oct 28, 2020

A good suspense story from varying points of view over the course of a long, long day, but also dipping back into the past. It was really hard to put down and is one of the first books I yelled at, as if I were watching a suspense movie.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LPL

To Top