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The Dilemma Book : an Exciting Psychological Thriller or Another Mundane Reading?

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B.A Paris is a New York Times best-selling author who is acclaimed for her psychological thrillers with nerve-wracking plot twists.

Ever since her debut, Behind Closed Doors, sold over 3.5 million copies and became a must-read for every thriller enthusiast, Paris has only ever gotten better and continued to awe readers with more of her page-turning suspense novels.

If you like psychological thrillers and crime novels in general, you might also be interested in books by Lucie Foley,  Tana French, or similar authors.

Despite B.A. Paris’s reputation and the success of her first books, the domestic thriller The Dilemma continues to receive controversial reviews from her fans.

Unfortunately, it failed to satisfy several readers who were expecting something as mind-blowing as her first two books.

Goodreads users have rated it 3.5% on average, and about 62% liked it.

So, before starting The Dilemma book and regretting later, check the review to find out if it’s worth your time.

The Dilemma Book Summary and Plot Overview

This entire book takes place within 24 hours and covers the events of preparation, celebration, and aftermath of Livia’s extravagant 40th birthday party.

Livia, who fell in love and got pregnant at 17, was refused a proper wedding celebration by her conservative parents.

Ever since then, she and her loving husband Adam have anticipated this party so they can finally enjoy the long overdue celebration.

The entire family is about to gather, including her son Josh, long-distance relatives, friends, and even her parents.

Well, everyone except for their 18-year-old daughter Marnie who is studying abroad.

However, Livia is not exactly devastated over her absence, as she recently uncovered her daughter’s affair with a 38-year-old family friend whose wife was diagnosed with MS not long ago.

Such a scandal can destroy the already fragile family roots, so Livia keeps it to herself and decides to tell her husband later in hopes of enjoying these last few hours together.

To her surprise, Adam is already flying Marnie out for this celebration.

Minor spoiler ahead:
Soon Adam receives devastating news regarding their daughter’s life, and the web of betrayal and secrets expands as the once happily married couple finds themselves in a dilemma.

Now, what will it be? Blissful ignorance to avoid the inevitable doom or brutal honesty that will shatter the family from its core.

The Dilemma Honest Review

Even though The Dilemma is considered the black sheep among the other books by B.A. Paris, most seem to dislike it only because they “expected” more and didn’t think it reached her usual caliber.

Others complain that the book was extremely slow-paced, and the author seemed to drag the story through hundreds of pages.

Paris failed to maintain an element of surprise in this book which is why when secrets came out in the open, the reader wasn’t completely astonished.

Hence, defying the “thrilling” part of a psychological thriller.

Needless to say, even that didn’t stop the readers from speculating with every breath about how and when the other will find out.

Each dialogue and scene kept me on the edge of my seat, just waiting for the bubble to burst and agonizing reality to strike.

As the infamous quote from the book suggests:

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

Unlike other domestic/ psychological thrillers, this book doesn’t pertain to murders and mysteries.

Instead, the author has played with the concept of intentions and the value of secrets.

As we see the couple struggling to keep their secrets, it is difficult to understand whether it is because they want to prolong their partner’s happiness or it’s the fear of dreadful consequences that keeps them silent.

To judge this book based on the author’s previous masterpieces is not only unfair but degrading as well.

The Dilemma has a lot to offer, and if you are not a typical Paris fan and this is your first time reading any of her work, you might just find the plot extremely captivating.

The author has created a much more emotionally deeper story this time that will tear you up on several occasions.

The book covers a wider spectrum of feelings that ranges from Adam and Livia’s love for one another to their need to protect each other from brutal truths.

Thoughts analysis: Is The Dilemma worth your time?

Read The Dilemma if you like

  • Domestic fiction
  • Family drama
  • Secrets and anticipation
  • Narrow scope

If it sounds like a match to you, grab the book and find out the end of the story.

The Dilemma FAQs

What is the genre of the dilemma?

The dilemma is one of B. A. Paris’s classic psychological/ thriller novels, although it is also considered a domestic fiction filled with family drama.

Where do The Dilemma actions take place?

This book is about a married couple, wood-crafter Adam and stay-at-home wife Livia, who live in Windsor, UK.

How many pages are there in The Dilemma?

Published by st. Martin’s publishing group, The Dilemma by B. A. Paris, consists of 352 pages.

What to read after The Dilemma?

If you are searching for similar books, take a look at Colleen Hoover’s  Verity or Eve Chase’s The Glass House.


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