Book Reviews

Flash Reviews: The Marriage Pact & The Garden Party

the marriage pact

Title: The Marriage Pact
Author: Michelle Richmond
Genre: Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
My Rating: ★★★★★

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.

My Thoughts

For a little while there I was afraid I simply fell out of love with mysteries and thrillers along the way due to reading so much but wow, Richmond absolutely changed my mind on that.

This was an insane, twisted, disturbing, and utterly chilling read. I was captivated every page, every sentence, I needed to know what would happen next. Not a single chapter was predictable. I couldn’t begin to fathom the destination but I was 100% along for the ride.

If you loved Gone Girl then this is a worthy successor – high praise coming from me I promise. It’s a harrowing and sometimes even grisly read and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting it for a long time to come.

the garden party

Title: The Garden Party
Author: Grace Dane Mazur
Genre: Literary, Fiction, Marriage
My Rating: ★★★★☆

A rehearsal dinner brings together two disparate families in a sparkling social satire set over the course of a single day.

This enchanting novel takes place in Brookline, Massachusetts, where dinner in the garden is bringing together two families on the night before the wedding that should unite them. The families are not unfriendly but they are shy and leery of each other. The Barlows are a Wall Street Journal-reading family of lawyers steeped in trusts and copyrights, corporations and war crimes, golf and tennis. The Cohens are wildly impractical intellectuals, including a biologist who has studied why scorpions glow in the dark; a social activist who always needs rescuing; and a historian of the cooking of ancient Babylonian who is trying, while hosting the dinner party, to figure out whether Time is really shaped like baklava.

The novel begins with the Cohens brewing morning coffee and considering the work they will have to do to prepare their house and gardens for the dinner, and it ends, late that very night, after a complicated series of fiascoes and miracles. Over the course of the day, it becomes clear that neither family is more eccentric than the other.

Featuring an ensemble cast of exceptionally vivid characters ranging in age from three to the early nineties, Grace Dane Mazur’s wonderfully lyrical novel is an irresistible portrayal of miscommunication, secrets, and the power of love.

My Thoughts

I want to begin by stating how rich and intuitive Grace Dane Mazur’s writing is. Somehow she takes a common garden party and turns it into something lush and ethereal. Her descriptive passages are inviting and atmospheric, she entrances you and turns the mundane into something extraordinary with every passage.

The plot of The Garden Party is not a complicated one and yet it leaves you feeling as if you’ve just embarked on a journey through a fantasy land, coming out the other end a more enlightened person.

Thank you to NetGalley and Grace Dane Mazur for giving me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

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