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Publication Date: December 14th 2017
Publisher: Penguin UK – Michael Joseph
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Fiction
Part of Series? No
Goodreads Blurb: Would you stake your life on your marriage?
Newlyweds Jake and Alice are offered a mysterious wedding gift – membership of a club which promises its couples will never divorce.
Signing The Pact seems the start to a perfect marriage.
Until one of them breaks the rules.
The marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.
Because The Pact is for life.
And its members will do anything to make sure no one leaves . . .
I have never been so confused before about the rating of a book. I struggled to give this story between 3.5 and 4 stars and eventually settled on the later one because of the unique concept that it portrays. The Marriage Pact is a psychological suspense thriller with an interesting plot. Eventually, in the west, the rate with which the marriages are failing, is pretty high. In such a world, would you be prepared to do anything to make your marriage successful?
Jake & Alice And The Pact
This is the story of Jake and Alice who are newlywed. Jake loved Alice but he married Alice because he was afraid that she would go away. At their wedding, they were compelled to invite an additional guest Liam Finnegan and his wife, after she won a big case at her law firm. Finnegan gives them a gift when Jake and Alice return from their honeymoon. That gift was an invitation to join a secret society “The Pact”. The Pact was a group of married couples who call each other “Friend” and its goal was to help ensure everyone’s marriage is successful. Seeing this as an opportunity, both Jake and Alice sign the contract because they wanted their marriage to last forever, though neither of them was sure of this at first.
Michelle Richmond has introduced a unique concept in terms of The Pact. Jake and Alice meet Vivian who introduces them to the laws of The Pact and hands them the Manual. Yes, there is a whole manual about the rules and regulations of the Pact. The members had to follow those rules otherwise there were different levels of punishment and consequences. Some of the things mentioned in the Pact included giving gifts to each other every month, going on trips, meet other Pact members during the parties, etc. At first, they thought that this is going to be easy. But slowly the trouble started when Alice was more devoted towards her work. There were consequences too. Soon they realized that they have to get out of this but they found that it was almost impossible to leave the Pact.
“Marriage is inefficient!” she proclaims. “The whole construct is a model of wasted resources. The wife often stays home to care for the children, or even a single child, abandoning the career she worked so hard for, losing years of creative output. Beyond the wasting of talent, think of the physical waste. For every home, there are so many redundancies. How many toasters do you think there are in the world?” “I have no idea.” “Seriously, just guess.” “Ten million?” I say impatiently. “More than two hundred million! And how often do you think the average household uses its toaster?” Once again, she doesn’t wait for my answer. “Just 2.6 hours per year. Two hundred million toasters are sitting unused, statistically speaking, more than 99.97 percent of their active lives.”
I really like the idea of this Pact, obviously minus the punishments thing. The overall idea was to create certain rules in a marriage that will keep the spark in the marriage going on. There are often small things that matter the most like giving gifts to each other occasionally or planning vacations. Jake was a therapist while Alice was a lawyer. There was a huge difference in their work style. The idea of the author behind creating the Pact and this story is excellent. These days marriages are not that much secured and the divorce rate is too high, probably because people take each other for granted? Often most of the couples don’t attend therapy but this group idea seems totally good.
But then you realize that the Pact is just more than that. Which seemed like minor punishments, suddenly gets more serious and you realize that the Pact is more like a cult? Michelle Richmond creates a heavy environment with all the twists and turns you find yourself confused whether the Pact is good or bad. You want to know what would happen next and then you don’t want to put it down.
The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond is a quirky and fast-paced thriller with an intriguing and thought-provoking premise
I loved both Jake and Alice as characters. You can see them as any normal couple who willing to try everything to make their marriage last forever. Both of them are different in nature. Jake was a child therapist and recently started as marriage counseller. Alice is a former child rockstar turned lawyer. Both have different lifestyles and yet they found love in each other. The author has perfectly featured both the characters and didn’t sugarcoat it and they seem like any real life couple.
I loved how the stories from past life of Alice and Jake were told in between. It gave a good overall view of their past life and thus made me to connect with those characters in a better way.
Good and the Bad
With a unique kind of plot this story can actually make you think about your marriage and can play with your fears about it. It makes you think what if there is actually something like the Pact? What if someone is constantly keeping an eye on you and your partner? What if they know everything about you? What if you get punishments even for the little offenses you make? All of these things about the Pact and the story setting was enough to create a suspenseful drama. You are forced to turn the next page to know what will happen to Alice or Jake and who are these people. I would give full points to the suspense till 80% of the book.
The rest of the 20% was a bit dragged and it’s here that the book loses its 1 star for me. The end was not what I was expecting but yet I was hoping for something much better and dramatic. I think the book could have been shorter if the end was not dragged this much.
Another trouble I had was that it had too many details in between about the various facts. I mean, I get that Jake was a therapist but it was not required to give stats of different things at so many levels, like the stats on marriage etc. I think these stats made the story a little bit longer and it would have done just fine without those numbers.
I expected marriage to be a door that we went through. Like a new house, you step into it, expecting it to be an unchanging space to inhabit. But, of course, I was wrong. Marriage is a living, changing thing that you must tend to both alone and together It grows in all sorts of ways, both ordinary and unexpected.
One thing that I have seen many people saying that this story is not believable and yes, I agree. But isn’t that the whole point of a fiction? For truly engaging in this story, you have to have a little disbelief and need to go with the flow. Alice signed the contract without fully reading and understanding it, but she shouldn’t have done that because she herself is a lawyer. Yes, I get that. But what would’ve been the point of the story if she had declined it? I would say, sometime we should leave some things to go with the flow 🙂
The storytelling skill of Michelle Richmond was quite good with good choice of words. She makes you involved instantly and you keep on turning the next page.
This story was like a fresh breeze of air with unique storyline and a good amount of suspense. It makes you scared in between, it make you to feel sorry for Jake and Alice, it makes you scold them for their foolishness. In all, it gives you all the emotions. Though it could have been a bit shorter, it gives you a good ending to finish the brilliant story. However, you need a fair amount of disbelief to go with the story and once you do it, it would be a fast-paced and quite entertaining one. It felt like an original and thought-provoking story with multi-layered characters.
I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for a good suspense-thriller read.
It is creepy and bizarre but definitely an engrossing read to make you turn the pages. Wait till you reach the end. – The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond
A fun fact
This novel has already been purchased for movie adaptation by Fox. Read the full article here.
** Thank you Penguin UK for giving me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Buying this book from here would support this blog.
Have you read this book or planning to read?
Are you okay to have a fair amount of disbelief while reading a fiction or you find it hard to adjust to the facts?