The Marriage Pact
In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?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.

The Marriage Pact Details

TitleThe Marriage Pact
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherBantam
Number of pages432 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Contemporary, Adult Fiction, Adult, Crime

The Marriage Pact Review

  • Elyse
    March 13, 2017
    "Hi Friend"...... There is an assumption we have about marriage which involves two people building a life together, but must we shed our former selves?The National average cost of a wedding in America is $29, 858Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. A few reasons documented are: infidelity, abuse, money problems, sex problems, children, time apart, household responsibilities, friends, irritating habits, family, expectations, and personality conflicts...just to name a few! I'm dying to 'spill the "Hi Friend"...... There is an assumption we have about marriage which involves two people building a life together, but must we shed our former selves?The National average cost of a wedding in America is $29, 858Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. A few reasons documented are: infidelity, abuse, money problems, sex problems, children, time apart, household responsibilities, friends, irritating habits, family, expectations, and personality conflicts...just to name a few! I'm dying to 'spill the beans' about the juicy parts of this story, "Friend", but without a signed contract from you - I'm afraid I can't do that. However, "Friend"......I happy to share a preview, a few thoughts -about Michelle Richmond's new novel, "The Marriage Pact". BUT..... first let me ask you a few questions? ..... Do you believe that a long marriage will go through periods of happiness and sadness and lightness and darkness?.....If you were newly married and committed to never getting divorced do you think you would be willing to sign a contract with "FRIENDS" if they have your success and happiness in mind? ..... Did you know that monogamous marriage was only established in Western societies about 800 years ago? ..... Did you also know that married people live longer than single people? "The Pact is a group of like-minded individuals intent on achieving a similar goal". "Created in 1992 on a small island off northern Ireland by Orla Scott. The Pact has increased exponentially in size and commitment since that day. While our rules and bylaws have changed, our membership has grown, and our members have spread far and wide, the mission and spirit of The Pact remain true to the concept in the beginning". If you were a member, "Friend", you'd get a complete copy of the rules and regulations yourself. "The Pact grew out of the failure of Orla's first marriage. With the modern world evolving the way it is, marriage may be left behind. Orla saw a purpose for fighting for the success and well-being of marriage and created an organization to support marriages succeeding. It's possible that the single-family modern marriage may no longer be efficient. Yet - all marriages need to evolve - need challenges - and a supportive designed organization was created with that purpose in mind. The organization will need to evolve over time too. Not anyone off the street can join THE PACT. Newlywed couples have been vetted and invited in. If they accept - they each receive 'The Manuel' .... which they are told to memorize....with rules to follow: I'll share a few of the RLUES of "THE PACT", but not all secrets.....LAUGH WITH ME .... THIS BOOK IS KICK OF FUN.....( but some turds will toss this book - with its manuel out the window and think it's insane)---I THINK THIS BOOK IS FRESH WITH HIDDEN BRILLIANCE.....AND it's SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN... (however It might have been a tad shorter). For the first 64% I was NEVER BORED: not one lag moment! Then, I did hit a few spots - for a short time -where I was less interested, and mostly getting impatient to see what was coming next. Soon enough, the story kicked into high gear!!! I loved the ending!!!!!THE FUN RULES......[which made me want to sign the contact]. I tried to get Paul to agree..... lol. We were laughing silly. He came up with some other cool ideas himself - marriage insurance -- etc. 1. Every month the married couple must give each other a gift - it doesn't need to be expensive but it does need to be meaningful. There are consequences if you forget. .....I WONT SHARE THE SPOILERS of these "consequences"2. There are some social parties in Hillsborough - and Woodside - MANSION HOMES in the Peninsula - here in the Bay Area. NOTE: THE PACT is not a POOR MAN'S club. 3. Each member must plan a travel trip away from home for a period of no less than 36 hours every quarter. --no other friends or family should be accompanied. Failure to plan at least one trip during a 12 month. Could be considered a felony. Chuckling?4. Whenever receiving a phone call from your husband or wife, you must answer it.A little about the characters ---- Jake is the narrator. I LOVED HIM!!!! It was also an enjoyment for me, having read several books by Michelle Richmond, before, having her create a MALE narrator. I think Michelle did a fantastic job!!! Jake is a therapist - he works with teenagers and kids and recently has taken on marriage counseling for adult couples. Alice is an attorney-- but also plays guitar and sings. She used to be in a band. A musician at heart. She didn't go to Law School until she was 30. Jake and Alice lived together for a couple years. Their marriage is new - and getting the background of them is completely engaging! As the reader... we attend the wedding! Michelle simple has us in the palm of her hands. Her writing flows - it's natural - and exciting!! Jake and Alice have a house in SF. There is much I admire about this couple - I like them both. I enjoyed reading about Jake and Alice's little habits together - from eating pastries in the morning- or one of them cooking bacon- all the dinners at home- their dialogue. A fun plug for Philz Coffee......( only the best coffee in the Bay Area)....LOVE THE BAY AREA DETAILS..... nobody does them better than Michelle Richmond--- ( born in the South)..... but has lived here so long - she's like a native! PARTS OF THIS BOOK I can't share my 'FRIEND' .... until you sign that contract and send it back to me.....Are the details of THIS STORY - THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS- PROBLEMATIC MEMBERS - THE BRACELET & COLLAR- "Fernley" - Details about other members: Finnegan, Dave, Joanne, etc. HALF MOON BAY AIRPORT -Personal Trainers -weigh-in's- restraints - Draeger's Market, jealousy- lies by omission- and Bay-to-Breakers. We have much to discuss, "Friend". WONDERFUL..... FANTASTIC FUN FUN FUN...."Friend"!Thank You Netgalley, Random House, and Michelle Richmond -- I LOVE YOU BOOK, "Friend"!!!!!
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  • Larry H
    March 19, 2017
    Is there a secret to a long and happy marriage? Is there one thing, a group of behaviors or conditions, which could ensure that a couple can weather the stresses and strains most marriages encounter and stay married until death do them part?If you ask Jake and Alice whether they wanted their marriage to last, and believed it could, they'd say yes, although perhaps somewhat dubiously. While Jake, a successful therapist, grew up in a home where his parents' relationship was strong (and is still go Is there a secret to a long and happy marriage? Is there one thing, a group of behaviors or conditions, which could ensure that a couple can weather the stresses and strains most marriages encounter and stay married until death do them part?If you ask Jake and Alice whether they wanted their marriage to last, and believed it could, they'd say yes, although perhaps somewhat dubiously. While Jake, a successful therapist, grew up in a home where his parents' relationship was strong (and is still going), Alice, a singer-turned-lawyer, had a fractured home life, with a family whose demons ate them alive. While Jake saw proposing marriage as a way to hold on to Alice, she saw it as an opportunity for the security she never experienced.Right before their wedding, Alice works on a case involving a somewhat-famous musician named Finnegan. In the flush of pride at the case's successful outcome, and the anticipation of her wedding, somehow Alice invites Finnegan and his wife to her and Jake's wedding. Surprisingly, he accepts, and the couple is a sweet addition to what turns out to be a beautiful day.Finnegan's wedding present leads Jake and Alice to an organization called The Pact. The Pact has one simple goal: to ensure marriages succeed. Supportive of that goal, Jake and Alice agree to join. While at first they are dazzled by the parties that their fellow members through, and the fellowship of the group, it's not long before they realize that while some of The Pact's rules—you must give your spouse gifts for no reason a certain amount of times each year, you must plan a non-work-related vacation for just the two of you once a quarter, always answer the phone when your spouse calls—seem innocuous, no infraction of any rule is tolerated.As Alice's work schedule heats up and she must spend more time at the office, she quickly runs afoul of The Pact's rules. When one minor infraction leads to another, she and Jake realize that this group isn't quite what they imagined it was. And when Jake learns from an old acquaintance some of the measures The Pact uses to ensure marriages succeed, he knows that they need to break their commitment to the group. But The Pact never leaves you, and you never leave The Pact...I found this concept really intriguing at first, and Michelle Richmond's writing, which I so enjoyed in her previous book, Golden State (see my original review), definitely kept me turning the pages. But the further I got into the book, the more I didn't like it. I just found the whole concept of The Pact and its means to an end utterly preposterous, and I found it really hard to believe that a lawyer and a therapist would so willingly allow themselves to be controlled by a group like this.Reading The Marriage Pact reminded me a little of reading some of Stephen King's books in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. Not that there were elements of horror in the book, but that I felt Richmond, like King, had such a brilliant ideas for a book and then little by little, it went more and more off the rails until it was just completely out of control. And while I can handle that in certain books, because of the way this book was rooted in such a solid concept like marriage, suspending my disbelief so completely just didn't work.I may wind up in the minority here, so if the plot as I've described it intrigues you, definitely give it a shot. I'll still be waiting for Richmond's next book to come along. And perhaps I'll pick up a few rules from The Pact, at least as suggestions...NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group—Ballantine provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
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  • James
    March 30, 2017
    4 out of 5 stars to The Marriage Pact, a thriller and suspense novel written by Michelle Richmond and set to be released on July 25, 2017. Many thanks to the author, NetGalley and the publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Bantam, for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC). I really enjoyed reading this novel and felt it had a lot of contained suspense, as I couldn't put it down but it wasn't the kind where you were scared; you just desperately wanted to know what was going to happen. Wh 4 out of 5 stars to The Marriage Pact, a thriller and suspense novel written by Michelle Richmond and set to be released on July 25, 2017. Many thanks to the author, NetGalley and the publisher, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Bantam, for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC). I really enjoyed reading this novel and felt it had a lot of contained suspense, as I couldn't put it down but it wasn't the kind where you were scared; you just desperately wanted to know what was going to happen. Why This Book I'd seen the book on a few people's Goodreads To Read or Currently Reading lists, and it looked interesting. I requested a ton of books on NetGalley to try to earn my 80% badge, and I got lucky when they approved this request. Plot, Characters & Setting Alice and Jake had been finalizing the list of 200 guests for their upcoming wedding when she won a big case at her law firm and felt compelled to invite one more guest and his wife: Liam Finnegan, a client who made a point of telling Alice's boss how instrumental she was to winning the lawsuit. When they arrive home from their honeymoon, Jake and Alice open the Finnegan's gift, an invitation given only to a select few to join "The Pact," a group of married couples who call each other "Friend" and help ensure everyone's marriage is successful. At first, it seems a bit odd but given their history as a couple, both think it's a good idea and jump in with open arms. They meet Vivian, who is their guide for the initial few months, and begin reading the bylaws, a huge tome of a contract that dictates how often they must give each other gifts, plan vacations, see other Friends, talk to one another, et al. And if they do not, there are consequences with differing levels of punishment. As the weeks go by, Alice and Jake don't take the group too seriously and begin accidentally committing minor infractions. The punishments begin, and it starts to completely unnerve them both. When they push back and try to leave The Pact, they're essentially told "No one ever leaves The Pact. And The Pact never lets anyone go." Alice and Jake attempt to follow all the rules, but work gets in the way, and Jake meets another Friend, whom he once knew before he was married. The woman tells him about the dangers of The Pact, but it's too late to save themselves, she warns. Weeks go by where Alice and Jake try to balance everything, but frequently find themselves with intrusive and harmful punishments... all culminating in Alice's disappearance and Jake flying to Ireland to find the creator of The Pact, in hopes he can convince the strange woman to let them leave. Approach & Style I read the novel through a Kindle Reader on my iPad. It has about 5200 lines, which works out to about 400 book pages. There are over 80 chapters, as each one is short and focused on a multitude of events happening in Alice and Jake's lives.The novel is told in past tense (with a few exceptions for present tense) and with Jake as the first person narrator whose point of view and perspective dominates the story. It took me about 5 hours to read the novel. I read 20% the first day and then 80% the second day. I couldn't put it down on the second day and only did so to go out for dinner. I found myself so interested in the middle section that I sometimes skimmed pages to get to the action, as I was shaking trying find out what was going to happen. Strengths The idea behind The Pact and the story is excellent. The divorce rate is too high. People take one another for granted. You're often left on your own to solve marital issues unless you push yourselves to attend therapy. It sounds like a fantastic idea: a group of Friends meant to help you focus on your life as a couple, some rules and guidelines to ensure you are constantly thinking about the other person and minor punishments meant as little reminders not to get off track. But when it gets out of hand, and you realize this is more like a cult who like to torture one another, wow... the subtle actions and words really leave you right on the line, trying to decide is this really happening? Is this one bad apple making the group worse than it really is? Are they truly a cult or is it all a game? Who is behind this? And it quickly becomes a page-turner, where you don't want to put it down.The book can seriously play on someone's fears about marriage. It makes you think what the point of it is, how and when you separate yourselves as a couple and two individual people. You see the love between a newlywed couple being ripped apart over minor issues in the hope that it will teach them not to ever let something big or bad happen between them. The intricacies of how The Pact always knows what's going on, how they simply just accept what happens to them and the balance of power between all the couples... really gets you ignited and passionate over what's right and wrong in this book. All good stuff, especially when you have such an emotional gut reaction to what's happening. The descriptions of the behavior, the punishments and the setting really help create the suspenseful drama. Concerns When I read a book, I throw myself into it, usually letting most unbelievable things go if they are meant to drive the action or plot forward. I'm pretty forgiving when a situation happens that probably wouldn't or couldn't in real life. It's a book. That's what drama is for. If I want reality, I'll look at my own life. And that's what readers will have to do with this book -- let some things go -- as there's a 1 and a million chance something like this could ever happen, but there are at least 10 situations where some readers are going to say "No way. That's ridiculous." And they're right, but then again, this is a story meant to entertain and scare you. So... I worry that some readers are going to be disgruntled with parts of the plot, and I can't say much as I don't want to give away spoilers. But a few easy examples... (don't read the next paragraph as it's not really a spoiler, but does give a bit of action away).Why would a lawyer sign The Pact without reading it? How could they not go to the police? How did The Pact know things about Jake and Alice's past? Why would you not ask the question to the leaders: "What should I do? If I don't attend your meeting today, you will punish me. But if I miss this court date, I lose my job. It's not that you aren't important... but without a job, how do I live?" That last comment is in reference to a major part of the plot where Alice is asked to do something by the same person who is helping her move forward at the law firm... and if she does do what they ask, she'll get in trouble at work. Something just didn't jive well for me there. I kept thinking to myself.... ask them what they want you to do and stop saying "I just won't show up to the meeting with the Friends." At that point, they'd already been punished a few times... why??? And they also hadn't read the full bylaws. I wanted to smack them for not reading the whole thing.I loved the first 80% of this book. I put it down to go to dinner at a point where it was absolutely unreal and intense in the suspense and drama. I was so excited to finish it when I got home. And then I did. But the ending was not sufficient for me. It's a good ending, but it wasn't the one I wanted. Alice and Jake are essentially faced with a choice in the last few chapters, one which as they learn more about The Pact, they realize what has truly happened in the last few months. And they have a decision to make which is a good thing, but wow... I think I might not have done that if I were in their shoes! Author & Other Similar Books Michelle Richmond has several other books which I will definitely peruse, as I enjoyed her writing style, characters and plot very much in this one.The story felt like a cross between "The Stepford Wives" and the movie "The Gift." The people in The Pact all feel like a cult being controlled by someone behind the scenes as the Wellingtons do Stepford. And Jake and Alice receives strange gifts with scary alternative meanings and consequences as occurs in the movie "The Gift." Questions & Final Thoughts I really like this book despite a little concerns with the ending. It's the kind of book where I want to keep talking about it. But I won't give away spoilers. So... a choice for you: (1) Read the book and then let's talk about it, as there is a lot to say, or (2) Don't read the book and we can talk about it but I'm gonna reveal all the spoilers so you totally understand it! About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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  • Paromjit
    July 21, 2017
    This is a psychological suspense thriller with an interesting premise. In a world where so many marriages fail, what would you be prepared to do to make sure your marriage will be successful? Jack and Alice are given a box as a wedding present from Liam Finnegan, a client of Alice. Once a singer, Alice is now a lawyer and Jake is a therapist. part of a successful psychology practice. Liam asks them questions about their marriage where upon they are invited to join a rich and exclusive group. On This is a psychological suspense thriller with an interesting premise. In a world where so many marriages fail, what would you be prepared to do to make sure your marriage will be successful? Jack and Alice are given a box as a wedding present from Liam Finnegan, a client of Alice. Once a singer, Alice is now a lawyer and Jake is a therapist. part of a successful psychology practice. Liam asks them questions about their marriage where upon they are invited to join a rich and exclusive group. On returning from their honeymoon, Vivian explains The Pact, and the rules and regulations which aims to ensure that their marriage succeeds. They are presented with a manual with the rules which include that they have to answer every phone call from their spouse, give gifts, travel etc.. Failure to uphold the rules will result in penalties. The Pact was set up by Orla upon the failure of her marriage to support marriages. The story is told through Jake's perspective. For different reasons, Jake and Alice are drawn to joining The Pact and without looking closely at the contract, sign it. At first, things are hunky dory, Jake and Alice's social life become a string of glamorous parties held by members who refer to each other as 'friend'. However, Alice's professional obligations, like preparing for trial, impede her capacity to adhere to the rules. In some strange and eerie way, The Pact appear to be remarkably well informed on their infractions, and punishments are enforced. Jake meets someone who implies that The Pact are a sinister organisation that controls couples and their marriages. There is only one problem, it is difficult to disassociate themselves from this cultish group. The Pact never leaves you and you never leave The Pact. Jake and Alice have fallen down a very dark rabbit hole.The novel requires a fair degree of suspension of disbelief to get the most out of the story. However, if you are prepared to do that, then this is a fast paced and entertaining story with shades of the Stepford Wives. Jake and Alice are educated people operating from a place of insecurites and misplaced hopes to surrender control of their marriage to an outside agency and signing contracts without fully understanding what they were letting themselves in for. Michelle Richmond's writing is really good in enticing you into the book and in sustaining your interest through out with suspense. The Pact is a seriously creepy phenomena, I was imagining it being imposed throughout society, yikes! Whilst this not a novel without its flaws, I enjoyed reading it. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
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  • Kaceey
    March 23, 2017
    The perfect combination of bizarre, strange and just down-right creepy!Alice and Jake receive a very strange gift for their wedding. A locked box, compliments of their new friend Finnegan, Alice's new client. The box as well holds a cryptic note to be revealed upon their return from their honeymoon. Warning bells! Of course this would have been the opportunity to have just walked away. Strike that… run away, and agree never to open the box. Oh no you don’t! Curiosity killed the cat..."The pact i The perfect combination of bizarre, strange and just down-right creepy!Alice and Jake receive a very strange gift for their wedding. A locked box, compliments of their new friend Finnegan, Alice's new client. The box as well holds a cryptic note to be revealed upon their return from their honeymoon. Warning bells! Of course this would have been the opportunity to have just walked away. Strike that… run away, and agree never to open the box. Oh no you don’t! Curiosity killed the cat..."The pact is a group of like-minded individuals’ intent on achieving a similar goal"Newly wed Jake seems to be questioning Alice's level of love and commitment right from the start. Maybe this marriage pact would be a good thing to help hold onto his new wife. But now the Pact is controlling every aspect of their lives. Can they just leave? If in fact the Pact will even let them leave?This book had me hooked from the start and I absolutely could not put it down! I kept thinking, where can this go? There is part of you that is going to shake your head and say "Oh come on! This is just crazy!" Then that little inner voice says... “But what if?” It does go a bit off the deep end in the last third of the book, and the relentless pace slowed. But come on, that fast and furious pace couldn't continue nonstop! Something had to give. The ending for me was, well… You’ll just have to decide for yourself.Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group and Michelle Richmond for the advanced copy in exchange for my review.
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  • Carol
    March 31, 2017
    ONE thing is for sure, THE MARRIAGE PACT is not chick-lit......not at all what I expected.....but so much more. The gift from a FRIEND...... Although newly wed, Jake and Alice are not kids nor uneducated, one an attorney, the other a therapist; HOWEVER, when they receive the mysterious box (with no key) for a wedding gift and invitation shortly thereafter to find out its contents, they agree to meet with the bestower, and foolishly end up signing a contract for what they believe to be fun-filled ONE thing is for sure, THE MARRIAGE PACT is not chick-lit......not at all what I expected.....but so much more. The gift from a FRIEND...... Although newly wed, Jake and Alice are not kids nor uneducated, one an attorney, the other a therapist; HOWEVER, when they receive the mysterious box (with no key) for a wedding gift and invitation shortly thereafter to find out its contents, they agree to meet with the bestower, and foolishly end up signing a contract for what they believe to be fun-filled times to enhance their new lives together....and meet new FRIENDS. "Do Not Mention The Pact"...... But all does not go according to plan.....They should have read ALL the rules.....THE PACT is not only exclusively secret, there can be devastating consequences if ANY rules are broken.....and punishment can be severe. (Yikes!) "We have to find a way out"...... THE MARRIAGE PACT is an entertaining and super suspenseful thriller with a satisfying creep factor; and while I did question some of the character's actions from time to time, it did not deter from my reading enjoyment......As for the ending....thought it quite apropos. "Fidelity to the spouse, Loyalty to the Pact. Till death do us part."
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  • Holly B
    April 14, 2017
    WOW! This was a fantastic read. I loved the fast pace and suspense. It was very clever and had me on the edge throughout. Some of the "pact" rules - 1. When your spouse calls answer 2. exchange thoughtful gifts monthly 3. plan a trip together once a quarter 4. NEVER mention the PACT to anyone.The adorable newlywed couple Jake and Alice are professionals and eager to start their lives together. As a wedding gift, they receive a mysterious gift. Later, they learn of the contents and end of signing WOW! This was a fantastic read. I loved the fast pace and suspense. It was very clever and had me on the edge throughout. Some of the "pact" rules - 1. When your spouse calls answer 2. exchange thoughtful gifts monthly 3. plan a trip together once a quarter 4. NEVER mention the PACT to anyone.The adorable newlywed couple Jake and Alice are professionals and eager to start their lives together. As a wedding gift, they receive a mysterious gift. Later, they learn of the contents and end of signing a contract that forever changes their lives.The Pact.....an exclusive group? ....a club?......a cult?????Jake, "What can they do, cart us off to marriage jail?" Dave, "You don't leave the pact and the pact doesn't leave you." "No one leaves alive, that is" Alice, "Jake, I'm scared." Jake, "We have to find a way out."The author delivers a thrilling mysterious ride that I won't forget for awhile!I absolutely loved the book. For now, bye friend. (The club members refer to each other as "friend" and not by their name).Thanks Michelle Richmond and netgalley for my arc. Publication date is July 25, 2017
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  • Susanne Strong
    May 21, 2017
    3.5 Stars* (rounded down)Could you imagine being married to someone and being obligated to stay with them forever with no way out ? Because you made a Marriage Pact to stay together? And you love each other and you were already making the commitment and it seemed fun, exciting, ominous and oh so mysterious? And heck, what could possibly go wrong, right?!Jake and Alice are a happy couple about to get married. Jake is a Psychologist and Alice is a successful Attorney. Right before the wedding, Al 3.5 Stars* (rounded down)Could you imagine being married to someone and being obligated to stay with them forever with no way out ? Because you made a Marriage Pact to stay together? And you love each other and you were already making the commitment and it seemed fun, exciting, ominous and oh so mysterious? And heck, what could possibly go wrong, right?!Jake and Alice are a happy couple about to get married. Jake is a Psychologist and Alice is a successful Attorney. Right before the wedding, Alice makes an impromptu decision to invite a client from her law firm, named Finnegan, to her wedding. Finnegan, immediately sends them a gift in a wooden box that can only be opened with a key that he, of course, neglects to provide. They are immediately intrigued. And so it begins.After their wedding, Vivian, a Friend, explains the rules and regulations of the Pact to Jake and Alice. If they join, they can't ever leave and it is a bond for life that cannot be broken. They will become members of an elite society of Friends. The Pact will only enhance their marriage and their love for each other. They must do things: give small monthly gifts to each other, plan trips.. be invested in their marriage. If they fail to comply, there will be consequences. Penalties. Alice and Jake are intrigued and they decide to join and are excited to begin this chapter of their lives. And when one slips up, or seems less interested in the marriage or forgets to give a gift, what happens? Their Friends find out. Alice and Jake do not take this seriously - but believe me, they should. Penalties are assessed and some are severe. Quite severe. And unfortunately for Alice and Jake, some lessons are hard to learn.Personally, I don't agree with being required to do specific things for a spouse in a marriage (and my ex-husband was vehemently opposed to doing anything out of obligation during our marriage (and no, that's not why we are divorced (lol)). And the fact of the matter is, I'm not into being punished because I didn't do "enough." I think a lot of people are with me on that, though you may disagree... but the only way to know for sure, is to read the Pact and roll the dice.I have to say that I liked the premise of The Marriage Pact. I found the book to be freaky and disturbing, but in a good way. Further, I liked both Alice and Jake - though their actions frustrated me at times. All of their Friends were quite creepy. I hope I never make Friends like that. Unfortunately there were passages in the book that I felt were long and drawn out and neglected to hold my attention. In addition, the ending disappointed me. Had it been different, I would have rated this book higher. I had previously read Michelle Richmond's The Year of Fog and loved it and wanted to love this one. This book had potential but something was missing for me, that said, something about this is intriguing... intriguing enough that it is worth the read. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine and Michelle Richmond for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 5.21.17.*Will be published on Amazon on 7.25.17.
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  • Sarah Joint
    July 22, 2017
    Creepy, unnerving, but thought provoking. Hello, Friend. What we have here is a very original and well thought out story. It's very intricate. The characters are multi-layered and complex. Alice especially, I found fascinating. In a way, I wish we had been granted looks into her head... but not knowing what she's thinking definitely ups the suspense factor. Like an actual relationship, we are left wondering what's going on in the other person's head with no way to know for sure. Alice is a for Creepy, unnerving, but thought provoking. Hello, Friend. What we have here is a very original and well thought out story. It's very intricate. The characters are multi-layered and complex. Alice especially, I found fascinating. In a way, I wish we had been granted looks into her head... but not knowing what she's thinking definitely ups the suspense factor. Like an actual relationship, we are left wondering what's going on in the other person's head with no way to know for sure. Alice is a former wild child rockstar turned lawyer. Jake is a therapist. They've found love with each other and seem to have a good relationship. Alice's decision to half jokingly invite a client to her wedding will alter the course of their lives and relationships forever. He and his wife are all too happy to accept, and offer the newlyweds a very strange gift... an invitation to join The Pact. Buy your partner one thoughtful gift a month. Take quarterly vacations with each other. Don't snoop on your partner. Don't cheat. Never ignore the phone when they call. Don't put your career before your spouse. Many of the rules that form The Pact seem like a great idea... a way to keep marriages happy and healthy. The Pact members don't get divorced. The couples involved seem like newlyweds, content and in love. The thing is, once you sign those papers... you're in for life, Friend. They can demand your presence at any time. Attendance at their functions is mandatory. Breaking the rules (of which there are many) results in punishment, varying from a slap on the wrist to things much more extreme.It doesn't take Jake long to resent The Pact. They signed without much thought. Worried about keeping his free spirited wife by his side, he has no problem signing when she wishes to. He has worried about keeping things new and exciting now that they're husband and wife. This is certainly different. So begins their journey with The Pact.No spoilers in this review. I refuse to potentially ruin it for anyone. This is a bizarre book. Immensely readable but a palpable sense of dread can be felt by the reader throughout. So why four stars instead of five? I had a hard time wrapping my head around a lawyer signing a contract without knowing absolutely everything it entails. The book also slowed down and almost lost me somewhere around 60-65% where things started to feel a little stale. I think there's a few parts that could have been eliminated without sacrificing the story. It did eventually pick back up and held my attention again. Worth the read. I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Random House, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
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  • Carol (Bookaria)
    July 12, 2017
    What if you could ensure the success of your marriage by following some guidelines? Well, this book will show you how in this chilling tale.This is the story of Jake and Alice. Jake is a psychologist, Alice is an attorney and they recently got married. On their wedding day they receive an intriguing gift; a wooden box with the inscription "The Pact" on it. This box cannot be opened right away, first one of the members must introduce you to The Pact's philosophy and manual. Initially the instruct What if you could ensure the success of your marriage by following some guidelines? Well, this book will show you how in this chilling tale.This is the story of Jake and Alice. Jake is a psychologist, Alice is an attorney and they recently got married. On their wedding day they receive an intriguing gift; a wooden box with the inscription "The Pact" on it. This box cannot be opened right away, first one of the members must introduce you to The Pact's philosophy and manual. Initially the instructions are easy to follow such as always pick up the phone when your spouse calls but soon it becomes restrictive and scary when there are severe consequences to violating the rules.The book is narrated by Jake, the husband and is told in a straightforward narrative. Another of The Pact's rules of is that spouses must maintain the weight they had on their wedding day within a 10% deviation allowance . There are quarterly weight-ins of the couples and when rule is broken the overseers impose severe penalties. In the book Alice's attention is called when she goes over her weight and the overseers make her meet with a trainer every morning at 5 A.M. or suffer severe consequences. Personally, I would love to be penalized with this rule as fear of physical abuse would be the only motivator that would get me to exercise regularly in the morning. I'd love to exercise without fail but sometimes (or most of the time) I prefer to stay home reading. Can you blame me?The story reminded me faintly of Orwell's 1984 because of its indoctrinating ideology, controlling overseers, and the severe punishments imposed on those who break the rules. Also, the members call each other "Friend" in a way that sounds very similar to "Comrade". I would have liked if the entire Pact's manual would have been included as an appendix. I would have read it out of curiosity, the book mentions some rules and I found them interesting and fascinating.Overall I enjoyed this chilling thriller and recommend it to all those who love suspenseful books and intriguing subject matters. I think this story would make a great book club discussion. Thanks to NetGalley, Michelle Richmond, and the Bantam Publishing for providing me with a copy of this publication in exchange for an honest review.Review also posted on blogAbout the author:TwitterWebsiteUPDATE: Forgot to mention, the first rule about the Pact club is you do NOT talk about the Pact club ;)
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  • Jill Croce-McGill
    July 7, 2017
    Wow! What did I just read! That was a wild, crazy, and twisted ride... and I loved every minute of it!It all starts out when Alice and Jake receive a bizarre wedding gift from one of Alice's new clients - A membership to "The Pact". This is a club that promotes long-lasting and healthy marriages... no one gets divorced and no one leaves "The Pact" alive. So, with one click of the pen, they decide to sign the contract - How bad could it be? After all, it's promoting healthy marriages, right? Alic Wow! What did I just read! That was a wild, crazy, and twisted ride... and I loved every minute of it!It all starts out when Alice and Jake receive a bizarre wedding gift from one of Alice's new clients - A membership to "The Pact". This is a club that promotes long-lasting and healthy marriages... no one gets divorced and no one leaves "The Pact" alive. So, with one click of the pen, they decide to sign the contract - How bad could it be? After all, it's promoting healthy marriages, right? Alice and Jake find several good things about "The Pact" rules - Answer the phone when your spouse calls, buy each other a small gift each a month, take a mini vacation somewhere every quarter. Doesn't sound too bad, right? But slowly it starts to take over their lives. Now they are having doubts about joining this club - or could it quite possibly be a cult? They want out, but can they just walk away from this bizarre group? What happens if you start questioning "The Pact"? Some members have died very mysteriously, but you are not allowed to talk about that or something mysterious will happen to you.The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond is a well-written, fast-paced novel with a brilliant plot that had me on the edge of my seat, I was hooked from the very start. Buckle up for the ride of your life my "Friend"! Highly Recommended!*I want to thank NetGalley, Michelle Richmond, and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Danielle (The Blonde Likes Books)
    May 24, 2017
    Therapist Jake and rock-and-roller-turned-lawyer Alice have just gotten married and are happily in love. Prior to going on their honeymoon, they received a mysterious gift from one of Alice’s high profile clients, and were told that everything would be explained to them when returned from vacation. Upon arriving home, they meet Vivian, who explains that they have been invited to join a secret membership-only group known as The Pact.The Pact promises to support them in their desire to have a happ Therapist Jake and rock-and-roller-turned-lawyer Alice have just gotten married and are happily in love. Prior to going on their honeymoon, they received a mysterious gift from one of Alice’s high profile clients, and were told that everything would be explained to them when returned from vacation. Upon arriving home, they meet Vivian, who explains that they have been invited to join a secret membership-only group known as The Pact.The Pact promises to support them in their desire to have a happy and fulfilled marriage. The rules laid out seem straightforward – be honest with your spouse, always answer the phone when your spouse calls, travel with your spouse once a quarter, and so on. Enticed by the promise of a marriage that lasts forever, Jake and Alice sign the contract, however they soon learn that they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. The Pact takes their rules…and consequences…very seriously. After realizing they signed up for more than they bargained for, they also realize there is no way out…Let me just start by saying that The Marriage Pact was SO GOOD. It’s been a little bit since I’d read a 5 star book, but this broke the slump for me – I completely loved it and was instantly hooked! I’ve read so many suspense/thriller books centered around marriages that are told from the wife’s point of view, that reading this told from Jake’s point of view was refreshing. It was really interesting to me to read his thought process throughout all of this while he guessed what his wife was thinking.The Marriage Pact was perfectly creepy and was the perfect combination of thriller and cult manifesto, and I loved it. I could not believe some of the things that were happening and had a really hard time putting the book down. I was constantly flipping the pages to find out what was going to happen! I had a ton of theories, and none of them were quite right. Despite the fact that Alice drove me up the wall sometimes, I was completely rooting for Jake and Alice.I’ve seen some other reviewers mention that they didn’t totally love the ending, and I will say that the end of the book was not at all what I expected and did get a little out there, but I actually liked it. While I was expecting the exact opposite of what happened, I think the ending the author chose fit with the characters more. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I would have loved to see an epilogue to see where our couple was six months or a year down the road.Overall, as previously stated, this was a 5 star read for me. I’ve never read anything quite like this, and it felt like this book was written just for me! The creep factor combined with the cultish aspects were exactly what I was looking for – I just didn’t know it! A big thank you to Netgalley, Michelle Richmond, and Bantam for an advanced copy of the book. It was my pleasure to provide an honest review. The Marriage Pact comes out on July 25, 2017, so be sure to pick this one up!
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  • Carrie
    July 15, 2017
    Alice and Jake have come to a time in their lives where they believe they are ready for that next step of getting married. Alice was once a singer in a band but now is settling into her career as a lawyer while Jake has been busy setting up his practice with his partners as a psychologist. The pair had planned on keeping the wedding somewhat small and simple but at the last moment Alice invites a wealthy client and his wife on a whim. Once invited to the wedding Alice's client sends a mysterious Alice and Jake have come to a time in their lives where they believe they are ready for that next step of getting married. Alice was once a singer in a band but now is settling into her career as a lawyer while Jake has been busy setting up his practice with his partners as a psychologist. The pair had planned on keeping the wedding somewhat small and simple but at the last moment Alice invites a wealthy client and his wife on a whim. Once invited to the wedding Alice's client sends a mysterious package to the couple as a wedding present. After the honeymoon it's explained to Alice and Jake that the present is an invitation to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact. The Pact is supposed to be a group that helps couples succeed at marriage and keep them happy and intact so Alice and Jake don't see the harm in joining but had no real idea of what they would really be in for. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond is one of those thrill rides that I find myself unable to put down once I've started reading because I honestly could see this happening in real life. Alice and Jake while both successful at their careers are both a bit worried about married life so it seemed logical for them to jump at a chance to help make sure they succeed. Once the story gets into the depths of just what they have agreed to I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see just what would happen to them next. My one complaint leading me to rate this book at 4.5 stars would be I so wish the author had added an epilogue to the story. I suppose though when I want to to continue reading when a book is over that is somewhat of a good thing though as I was clearly hooked on Alice and Jake's story. The ending after all that had happened just didn't seem as satisfying to me as I would have liked and felt it needed a bit more. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
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  • Purple Country Girl (Sandy)
    June 7, 2017
    I won a copy of The Marriage Pact in a Goodreads Giveaway.2.5Oh The Marriage Pact, how I wanted to love you. With such an interesting concept and the Fight Club-ish warning on the back cover that members are to “Never mention The Pact to Anyone,” I was super excited to dive in. Alas, the honeymoon was over about halfway through the book.The Marriage Pact revolves around Alice, a lawyer, and Jake, a therapist. Three days before the couple is to be married, Alice meets Liam Finnegan. She is workin I won a copy of The Marriage Pact in a Goodreads Giveaway.2.5Oh The Marriage Pact, how I wanted to love you. With such an interesting concept and the Fight Club-ish warning on the back cover that members are to “Never mention The Pact to Anyone,” I was super excited to dive in. Alas, the honeymoon was over about halfway through the book.The Marriage Pact revolves around Alice, a lawyer, and Jake, a therapist. Three days before the couple is to be married, Alice meets Liam Finnegan. She is working as an associate on his case and, when he tells her how much he loves weddings, she invites him to attend her upcoming wedding. The day before the nuptials, Liam sends the couple a gift: a locked wooden box labeled “The Pact.” This present brings them into the fold of The Pact where the members are determined to do whatever it takes to make their marriages succeed. Members are to adhere to The Manual which outlines the rules and regulations of this secret group. Rules like always answer the phone when your spouse calls, give your spouse a gift each month and plan a trip together each quarter seem like nice gestures that can be easily achieved. The fact that there is a section labeled Arbitration, however, raised red flags for me but apparently not for Jake and Alice. Jake and Alice decide to accept the invitation to join The Pact. At first, nothing seems untoward and they go about their days as a newly married couple. When Jake runs into an old college friend at a party hosted by another Pact couple, he is a little unnerved because she indicates there is something sinister about this group. The cult-like nature of The Pact further intensifies when Alice begins to get overwhelmed at work and doesn’t come home many nights until very late. The Pact deems this a violation and she is whisked away from home to a secret facility in the desert to face the consequences of putting her job first. When she returns, she is determined to follow the rules whereas Jake is getting more and more concerned, especially after having secret meetings with his old college friend to discuss The Pact.Just how far will The Pact go to ensure its members follow the rules to making their marriages work? Quite far, it turns out.The book is told from Jake’s first person POV. I liked Jake for the most part but I did not really care for Alice. Having her presented to us only through Jake’s eyes could be part of the issue. Her character is painted with Jake’s insecurity and she comes across as kind of empty and also a bit untrustworthy. Another downside of Jake’s POV is the intrusion of his practice and patients into the story. I didn’t give a fig about his patients and his little blurbs on marriage got my nerves quickly. At first I enjoyed The Marriage Pact. There is a bit of a big brother thing going on where The Pact seems to know everything the couple does. It’s creepy but also intriguing. Unfortunately, as the story progresses, I realized how stupid Jake and Alice are for joining what is an essentially a cult that threatens disciplinary action if they do not follow the rules. Expecting them to blow off their jobs for The Pact is ridiculous, especially for Alice who is in the middle of preparing for a trial. It becomes even more absurd with the type of discipline that is meted out. Not only that, the way over long passages detailing the discipline are just too much. It comes across as shock value.It’s definitely not a win for me. I did like the beginning but found the more The Pact interfered in Jake and Alice’s lives, the less I liked the book. I think if it had stuck to the creepy big brother is watching them vibe, it would have been far more interesting but when it became more about shock value, I started to lose interest. There are some good ideas and good writing but I just feel it missed the mark for me.
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  • Petra
    March 14, 2017
    What are you willing to do to keep your marriage alive?Shortly after their wedding, Alice and Jake receive an invitation to join The Pact, an organization whose objective it is to keep their members' marriages intact because marriage is for life...I had a love-hate relationship with The Marriage Pact. While it was totally readable, fast-paced and even quite gripping, I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to really get behind the story. I had trouble finding Alice, a musician-turned-lawyer, and Jak What are you willing to do to keep your marriage alive?Shortly after their wedding, Alice and Jake receive an invitation to join The Pact, an organization whose objective it is to keep their members' marriages intact because marriage is for life...I had a love-hate relationship with The Marriage Pact. While it was totally readable, fast-paced and even quite gripping, I couldn't suspend disbelief enough to really get behind the story. I had trouble finding Alice, a musician-turned-lawyer, and Jake, a marriage counselor (how convenient), to be credible characters. She's a lawyer! He's a marriage therapist! And they end up in this situation?? Jake being a therapist counseling couples allowed for lots of "psychological" information and statistics relating to relationships/marriages to be included although I failed to see how his therapy sessions helped the story.Alice remained quite a colorless character, which is perhaps due to the fact that the entire story is from Jake's first-person point of view. I also found it really infuriating that nothing was explained. Without wanting to give the plot away, things happened that made me want to know how on earth The Pact could have managed that. From about 60% onwards, it began to turn into something resembling a science fiction story and that's when the eye-rolling really started, and then there was that ending. Typical "and that's it???"-ending.Now, that sounds very negative, I know. But I did actually enjoy reading this. There was something utterly gripping about it. The first 60% anyway. So, provided you're happy to suspend disbelief and to not question the hows and whys, then this is quite a thrilling and entertaining domestic suspense story, and Michelle Richmond has managed to come up with something quite different in this genre. Well done for that. I've decided to go for the middle rating here. The first part was closer to 4 stars, the latter part closer to 2 stars, hence 3 stars.I received an ARC via NetGalley.
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  • Laura
    July 25, 2017
    The Marriage Pact is a club. There are rules you must follow: always answer when your spouse calls, give your spouse a thoughtful monthly gift, take quarterly trips together, maintain your wedding day weight, never ever mention the pact to anyone. Oh and you can't ever leave the pact. Breaking any of these rules has consequences.So when Jake and Alice receive an invite to the pact as a wedding present. Immediately, they are intrigued. A club to promote a happy marriage? What could be wrong with The Marriage Pact is a club. There are rules you must follow: always answer when your spouse calls, give your spouse a thoughtful monthly gift, take quarterly trips together, maintain your wedding day weight, never ever mention the pact to anyone. Oh and you can't ever leave the pact. Breaking any of these rules has consequences.So when Jake and Alice receive an invite to the pact as a wedding present. Immediately, they are intrigued. A club to promote a happy marriage? What could be wrong with that? And honestly...what do they mean there will be consequences. What are they really going to do when you accidentally break one of the stupid rules?What ensues is a fascinating, though-provoking suspense thriller that veers into creepy cult territory. The story has an interesting outlook on marriage, making it almost seem like a frightening commitment. Interestingly enough, it is told from Jake's perspective - something not usually seen, as I feel it's usually the wife's perspective. Thank you women's fiction, I guess? Using Jake to tell the story gives an original feel.There are definite Stepford Wives and (if you've seen the movie) The Gift vibes throughout.I won this through goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Karen
    July 25, 2017
    I enjoyed this suspenseful story. What an interesting concept, that of joining a ‘marriage pact’, a pact which is sold to pre-selected couples to bring balance and fairness to a marriage. Turns out, that there is no way out of this Pact, which is really a cult in which everyone creepily calls each other “friend”. This secret society brings in member couples, dazzling them with glitzy get-togethers but these couples soon learn that there are serious consequences for going against the Pact’s rules I enjoyed this suspenseful story. What an interesting concept, that of joining a ‘marriage pact’, a pact which is sold to pre-selected couples to bring balance and fairness to a marriage. Turns out, that there is no way out of this Pact, which is really a cult in which everyone creepily calls each other “friend”. This secret society brings in member couples, dazzling them with glitzy get-togethers but these couples soon learn that there are serious consequences for going against the Pact’s rules. How quickly tides can turn with one seemingly minor mis-step by a spouse like putting in too much time in the office or forgetting to buy their spouse the obligatory monthly gift. Pact board members show up at one’s home, take the offending spouse away and use extreme tactics to elicit fear and punishment, including using strait jackets, electric shock, being flown to a far-away maximum security prison in the desert and being given a choice of walking into a hot, bright cell or a cold, dark cell for who knows how long (but at least they get treated to gourmet prison food!). Throw in some pretty shady characters, ones who at times were hard to discern whether they were good guys or bad guys. Yes, the story can be a bit preposterous but whew, what a ride!
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  • Susan Johnson
    June 10, 2017
    It was clear, in my mind at least, that this was a take-off on the Church of Scientology. The group mentality, the counseling sessions, the inability to leave once you join, the need to follow rules, the group pressure- all of it has Scientology written all over it. A newly married couple get invited to join an exclusive club, The Pact, that supports and encourages happy marriages. The wife is an attorney and gets invited by an important client, a famous Irish singer. Her husband, a psychologist It was clear, in my mind at least, that this was a take-off on the Church of Scientology. The group mentality, the counseling sessions, the inability to leave once you join, the need to follow rules, the group pressure- all of it has Scientology written all over it. A newly married couple get invited to join an exclusive club, The Pact, that supports and encourages happy marriages. The wife is an attorney and gets invited by an important client, a famous Irish singer. Her husband, a psychologist/counselor, goes along with it because he wants his marriage to work and the statistics of that happening are daunting. Someone comes over to discuss The Pact with them and a contract is signed. Glamorous parties and a romantic relationship are discussed. Then it gets scary. Invitations are actually orders. Requirements must be met like a gift every month, a trip every three months, less work, and weigh ins. Missteps involve counseling sessions, work outs and then some really odd things happen. The pressure to conform gets turned up until it seems impossible that anyone would want to stay. The problem is how to get out. It is a very thought provoking book with lots of information on marriage. A lot of the information is really right. People in a committed relationship should be more attentive to each other, work less, put their cell phones down, enjoy each other. I do wonder about The Pact's belief that marriages without children are happier marriages but it gives lots of food for thought. All of the happy marriages I know incorporate these ideals- a true appreciation of each other. I could barely put the book down as I raced through it to find out what was going to happen next. It made me think. What more can you want from a book?Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review. I would recommend it to others.
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  • Janet
    July 25, 2017
    I'm not sure what to feel about The Marriage Pact. I know I wouldn't want for real, that's for sure!Jake and Alice are another seemingly perfect couple. Boy there seems to be many of those around. All languid limbs and perfect skins. Can't a main lead ever be short and stocky with a nice face?! Just sayin'!Anyway they meet, fall in love and do the done thing by getting married. Alice, being a lawyer, invites the enigmatic Finnegan, a famous client (as you do!) just because he mentions that he ha I'm not sure what to feel about The Marriage Pact. I know I wouldn't want for real, that's for sure!Jake and Alice are another seemingly perfect couple. Boy there seems to be many of those around. All languid limbs and perfect skins. Can't a main lead ever be short and stocky with a nice face?! Just sayin'!Anyway they meet, fall in love and do the done thing by getting married. Alice, being a lawyer, invites the enigmatic Finnegan, a famous client (as you do!) just because he mentions that he happens to like weddings. Jake and Alice get married and sure enough top star Finnegan with wife in tow turn up to their rather modest wedding.Finnegan leaves them an intriguing wedding present in the name of a box. Inside the box the couple learn of The Marriage Pact, an exclusive club for those couples destined for perfection, or at the very least aspire to the perfect marriage. They go along with it and what follows is, well, ridiculous. 'Ridiculous?' I hear you say. Well, yes, for two seemingly intelligent people I couldn't for the love of money understand why they would choose to enter such a pact. In this day and age where everything is at our fingers, especially information and women having choices thrust at them from every angle, kind of goes against why choices are then made for them. 'Follow these rules and you will have the perfect marriage,' but surely everyone's idea of a perfect marriage is theirs and theirs alone?! Am I wrong?Still, I read on and entered the world of The Marriage Pact aka another cult led by a successful ex female lawyer with her own ideologies that should be put out there to the world. In her esteemed opinion being an expert in all things 'marriage' you understand. Sheep mentality ensues and the rest dear readers is what you can find out for yourselves. I have to say Richmond paints an interesting premise and certainly writes in a way that makes you want to keep reading but I just couldn't get over the stupidity at times of Jake and Alice. Maybe it's just me; it probably is just me.... I'm just not tall and languid enough to aspire to such dizzy heights of perfection. *Looks across at husband* Hhmmmm.Nevertheless, I got to the end and we're left with a somewhat ambiguous ending. Really? Ok, I guess I'll put on my rose tinted glasses and think .........And that's where I'll leave it. For something different and that is written well I recommend. If nothing else it's a talking piece and for that alone Richmond has succeeded.My thanks go out for my reader copy.
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  • Kathryn
    May 23, 2017
    The Marriage Pact, Michelle Richmond’s most recent work, is a solid but not particularly noteworthy selection that asks: “how far would you go to protect your marriage?” In this book, unfortunately, the question is far more intriguing than the answer. Newlyweds Alice and Jake receive quite an unusual gift for their wedding. An invitation to join The Pact. An exclusive, secretive group whose sole mission is to preserve and uphold happy marriages. Sounds good, right? Well, Alice and Jake agree. An The Marriage Pact, Michelle Richmond’s most recent work, is a solid but not particularly noteworthy selection that asks: “how far would you go to protect your marriage?” In this book, unfortunately, the question is far more intriguing than the answer. Newlyweds Alice and Jake receive quite an unusual gift for their wedding. An invitation to join The Pact. An exclusive, secretive group whose sole mission is to preserve and uphold happy marriages. Sounds good, right? Well, Alice and Jake agree. And so initially they’re seduced by the glamor and promise the organization represents. Free vacations? Hobnobbing with the beautiful & talented? A guaranteed successful marriage? SIGN ME UP. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Admission to The Pact comes with a draconian set of laws and the consequences of breaking them? DEADLY. Now with that premise, one would think HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU GO WRONG??? But, oh how you can. The Marriage Pact took a concept rife with nefarious possibility and FLATTENED IT INTO THE GROUND. Yes, there are moments of danger and excitement. But overall it’s just rather meh. And that meh-ness can be placed squarely on our narrator, Jake’s, head. I know the man’s a therapist and as such would more readily self-reflect, but FFS…..NO MAN (or woman) ACTS LIKE HIM. He’s all tea, sympathy, & self-congratulation 24 HOURS. A. DAY. A complete Marty Stu. It’s hard to even feign interest in the guy because he’s too damn vanilla. So vanilla that he becomes nails-on-the-chalkboard level annoying. He actually utters the line: “as always, I completely agree with my wife,” in a completely serious, non-snarky tone. IS HE A STEPFORD WIFE??!! When you begin rooting for the supposed villains because you’re so done with the protagonist…... that’s a problem. It’s an even bigger problem because Jake’s seemingly bland perfection is contrasted against Alice, forcing a comparison that is unfair and unwarranted. By making Jake a Marty Stu and pairing him with “commitment-phobic,” “workaholic” Alice, the narrative’s basically elevating Jake’s status above that of his wife. Further solidified by having Alice say such nauseating things as: “you’ve been so good to me, Jake, and I just want to be worthy.” The man is (again) being portrayed as superior to the female. Let’s just ignore the tiny fact that Jake has an established career and Alice is just starting hers. But yes, JAKE IS SOOOO PERFECT. Gag. The book addresses *some* of these issues by its conclusion, but not sufficiently as to erase the earlier created dynamic. And Jake remains the tedious, sanctimonious, blowhard he is. #FREEALICE2K17.A twisty, shocking, out-of-the-box ending might have saved this book. But NOPE. We were again spoon-fed tedium. There are a few minor curve balls, but nothing GASP-worthy and, more importantly, nothing to override the negative aspects of the story.2.5 starsThank you to netgalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of the story in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Enchantress debbicat ☮
    March 21, 2017
    "Alice grasps my hand, and in that moment I know. For better or worse, she is with me."While a bit over the top....I thought this well written and a page turner. A few quotes:"I unwrap my sandwich-ham and swiss-and take a bite. Shit. My jaw hurts too much to chew. Someone must have punched me in the face after I hit the ground. Are we going home? I ask the pilot. Depends on what you call home. We're headed to Half Moon Bay.""But you are a member, right? Sure, he says, his tone unreadable. Fidel "Alice grasps my hand, and in that moment I know. For better or worse, she is with me."While a bit over the top....I thought this well written and a page turner. A few quotes:"I unwrap my sandwich-ham and swiss-and take a bite. Shit. My jaw hurts too much to chew. Someone must have punched me in the face after I hit the ground. Are we going home? I ask the pilot. Depends on what you call home. We're headed to Half Moon Bay.""But you are a member, right? Sure, he says, his tone unreadable. Fidelity to the Spouse, Loyalty to The Pact. Till death do us part. He turns back just long enough to give me a look that warns me not to ask any more questions. I've never seen him before. "Set in Cali in the Bay Area ,Alice and Jake are in love and get married. They are given a very special present as a wedding gift. If they choose to take advantage of the offering, they can join an exclusive community known as The Pact. Spouses that are part of the pact truly love and care for one another above all else. There are rules, but they seem reasonable and serve a purpose: which is to keep the marriage stable and faithful. At first, it seems too good to be true! The couple does decide to join and feel "the rules" will only be of great help in keeping their marriage happy and committed for the rest of their lives. They are deeply in love, so why wouldn't they want that??? Plus- it offers a great community to be a part of. Great "Friends" and parties and all good things to be had. Beautiful people, beautiful world. People call you "friend" and seem to want the best for you and your spouse. They will stop at nothing to help you to be faithful to the rules and The Pact. Problems arise. The rules are not quite as easy to follow as they seem. Consequences are pretty severe. As with most cults...someone pays a price. A rather large one! At some point in this evolving story, Jake and Alice have to decide if they can remain part of The Pact. But, can they really get out??? No one actually is allowed to leave the society. People may go missing. They may die (all with very good explanation); but no one just leaves because they want to. It gets pretty intense in places. And there is some cruelty involved and some scenes involving torture that some readers may not care for. I enjoyed this when I decided to just go with it and forget that it's pretty extreme and I don't know a single couple that would fit into the Jake and Alice mold. I had some issues with their characters. But, this was really inventive and suspenseful. I do recommend it for those who like thrillers, with a caution to keep in mind it is likely an R rating for some graphic scenes that involve punishment if "The Rules" are not followed. Thank you NetGalley and Random House for an ARC to read in exchange for a review. Thank you Michelle Richmond, who is a native of Alabama's Gulf Coast. I am too!!!! I will absolutely check out more of your books to read!
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  • Maureen
    May 28, 2017
    This book definitely held my interest! It involves an organization called The Pact. The book kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. The characters of Alice and Jake were excellently drawn. The writing was brilliant, and I will definitely be looking for more books by Michelle Richmond. 4 stars
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  • Amy
    July 13, 2017
    All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.comIm going to start this out a little differently than I normally do as I have a bit of a warning for you before I get into my actual review. First of all, if you have problems suspending disbelief this is probably not the book for you. The entire concept of The Pact and how Alice and Jake wind up joining is pretty far fetched and unbelievable. Quick example, it’s a binding contract and they both sign it extremely quickly and with almost no hesi All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.comIm going to start this out a little differently than I normally do as I have a bit of a warning for you before I get into my actual review. First of all, if you have problems suspending disbelief this is probably not the book for you. The entire concept of The Pact and how Alice and Jake wind up joining is pretty far fetched and unbelievable. Quick example, it’s a binding contract and they both sign it extremely quickly and with almost no hesitation. Did I mention Alice is a lawyer? BUT, if you can get past the probability of something like this actually taking place, then this book is highly entertaining and a whole lot of fun!I’ve had a long fascination with cults and in particular as of late Scientology, as I’m a huge fan of Leah Remini’s documentary series about this strange “religion”. (Anyone else watch this?! Would love to chat) Anyway, as soon as the details of this marriage pact were discussed I was totally reminded of Scientology. It’s eerily similar in the massive list of rules and regulations members must follow and in several other ways as well, but I don’t want to spoil it by saying more. I was also getting a strong Stepford Wives vibe, which is such an odd combination, but honestly? It mostly worked really well for me. Yes, I had issues in the beginning believing anyone as intellectual as Jake and Alice were supposed to be would actually want to be a part of something as freaky as The Pact, but I’m so glad that I kept going as it ended up being the perfect balance of creepy, downright strange and highly disturbing. Domestic suspense is one of my favorite sub genres, I tend to binge read these types of books as there’s something so addicting about martial strife. I’m always looking for a unique spin on things and this provided that in a few ways. The entire story is told from Jake’s perspective and I loved that as generally it seems to be the wife telling the tale. The other aspect that gave it a fresh feeling was that Jake and Alice were a united front fighting a common enemy. Normally the wife is usually searching for the truth about her husband or something similar and seeing a unified couple was great. As much as I did binge read this, the pacing is kind of strange. Most of the chapters are on the short side with the exception of a select few, but it still was a heavy, dense read. Jake spends quite a bit of time doing a lot of self introspection and analyzation, so it almost breaks up the otherwise fast pacing and excitement of the current storyline. The ending was ambiguous, which is not my favorite, but it did work well here. It sounds like I have quite a few complaints, and I guess I do, but I still really enjoyed this book. The whole thing is so bizarre, maybe my mixed reaction is an indication of just how bizarre this read actually was, I’m not exactly sure. I would recommend this to the right reader, I know some of my friends would hate it and others would love it, but I hope I’ve given you enough information to be able to decide for yourself if you’re interested or not.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    June 30, 2017
    I'm on the fence with The Marriage Pact.It is a page turner, I raced through it in two sittings, it is pacy and well written and in many ways completely gripping - but also unlikely to the point of reading inertia and sometimes so over the top silly that that you just sit there shaking your head. I guess maybe because it looks like a psychological thriller (and is I suppose in many ways) but reads more like a random episode of Tales of the Unexpected (showing my age there)I can't say I didn't en I'm on the fence with The Marriage Pact.It is a page turner, I raced through it in two sittings, it is pacy and well written and in many ways completely gripping - but also unlikely to the point of reading inertia and sometimes so over the top silly that that you just sit there shaking your head. I guess maybe because it looks like a psychological thriller (and is I suppose in many ways) but reads more like a random episode of Tales of the Unexpected (showing my age there)I can't say I didn't enjoy it I thoroughly enjoyed it but more because it gave me plenty of opportunity to growl at the characters for being either stupid or ridiculously passive. So the story is about a young couple Jake and Alice who marry and then join "The Pact" a strange cult like group determined to keep marriages happy. They have so many rules and regulations that your head will spin, couples are punished for "infractions" in an increasingly bizarre set of "sentences" one of which included Alice walking around everywhere for days (at her law firm where she is supposedly a respected staff member - lets not even START with her signing the contract at the beginning of this book without due diligence, some Lawyer!!!) in a kind of dog collar type thing (still not sure what THAT was all about) and another of which included actual torture. But hey they just pootle along with it and in between all this carry on being, well, slightly annoying and rather insipid. But still - I couldn't stop reading!It is a different premise, kudos to the author for that, but it really was terribly terribly ridiculous. I know its fiction so it doesn't have to be realistic throughout but everyone in this book was just weird in one way or another. Plus enough with the statistics about marriages Jake - I genuinely don't care. This might actually have gotten another star from me because as I said I couldn't stop reading it and it was addictive- but then the ending. Sorry to the author but if you are going to drag me along through a progressively ludicrous plot, expect me to give you plenty of suspension of disbelief, then the least you can do is give me the courtesy of a definitive ending. I don't mind ambiguous endings for the most part - some of my favourite books have them because they leave me with thought provoking what if's - but in this case it just doesn't work. Because frankly I don't care that much so I won't think about them again and all it did was make me go oh. That's it? Pfft.So 3* for great writing, an honestly hugely imaginative premise and for keeping me engaged even though I occasionally wanted to stab people.Recommended as a marmite read - decide for yourself!
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  • Kristy
    July 10, 2017
    Newlyweds Alice and Jake don't think much of it when a client from Alice's law firm invites himself to their wedding and then gives them a mysterious wedding gift. But they soon discover the gift is offering them membership in a exclusive group called The Pact, whose main goal is to keep couples married. The Pact comes with a series of strict rules detailed in the group's Manual. Jake, a psychologist, is interested in the institution of marriage and excited to find an organization that he thinks Newlyweds Alice and Jake don't think much of it when a client from Alice's law firm invites himself to their wedding and then gives them a mysterious wedding gift. But they soon discover the gift is offering them membership in a exclusive group called The Pact, whose main goal is to keep couples married. The Pact comes with a series of strict rules detailed in the group's Manual. Jake, a psychologist, is interested in the institution of marriage and excited to find an organization that he thinks will keep his beloved wife, Alice, a former rock singer turned lawyer, interested and focused on their union. Things change quickly for the couple, though, when The Pact thinks that Alice is breaking the rules. Suddenly, Alice and Jake find themselves stuck in The Pact, whose members seem to go to any lengths to enforce their rules--and to keep their members within the group. The set up to the book is certainly interesting: joining an exclusive group focused on marriage. It's a secretive society of sorts with a series of rules focused on a single goal: keeping your marriage intact. And if you don't follow those rules: there are consequences, often extreme ones. I can't deny that this book is very creepy at times. It also causes you to question the sanity of this couple. Why on earth would they sign these documents and join the Pact? Jake, okay, perhaps: he supposedly is desperate to keep Alice. But Alice, for pete's sake, is a lawyer: she has to know that signing anything, even if you think it's a joke (and this is not presented as a joke) could have serious consequences. Instead, she blindly signs because she wants to go to a party?! Perhaps they deserved what they get! (And maybe I'm a little bitter.) The book often reminded me of The Girl Before: another novel where you have to completely suspend disbelief that people would even entertain living life by a series of ridiculous rules to somewhat enjoy the book. That's not to say I didn't sometimes feel sorry for Alice, or even Jake. I was drawn a bit more to Alice and often wished I could have heard her perspective on things sometimes, instead of just her husband's. Rather, things just seemed so drawn out: so much of Jake ruminating about Alice, their marriage, marriage in general, life, etc. It was a little much for me. Still, as I mentioned the book definitely has its creepy moments. Even with those, it took me forever to read it. I never felt compelled to pick it up (so much talking and thinking from Jake) and probably finished at least two other books over the 10-day (!) span it took me to read this. I was more intrigued and interested in the last fourth or so of the book and then pretty much let down by the end, so there you have it. There's one good twist in there, and I'm going with a three-star rating, but I'm definitely not in the camp raving about this one. However, lots of people loved this book, so you may enjoy it a lot more than me. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review - it is available everywhere as of 07/25/2017. Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Instagram
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  • L.P. Logan
    March 27, 2017
    You know how some books overload you with so much secondary information that you immediately know they were written with the attempt at being the next - big - thing? You do? Great! Then you'll immediately know that this book is not for you. It is dull, has an awkward flow, and fails to really get into the meat of the story choosing instead to spend so much time on irrelevant nonsense that you are left trying to force yourself to continue. It has to get better right? I don't know. I didn't finish You know how some books overload you with so much secondary information that you immediately know they were written with the attempt at being the next - big - thing? You do? Great! Then you'll immediately know that this book is not for you. It is dull, has an awkward flow, and fails to really get into the meat of the story choosing instead to spend so much time on irrelevant nonsense that you are left trying to force yourself to continue. It has to get better right? I don't know. I didn't finish it. So I'm giving it one star just because I was so bored with it that I'm left slightly angry and wishing it was not a digital copy so I could have the satisfaction of ripping its pages out and flushing them down the toilet.
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  • Chris Carroll
    July 14, 2017
    This is a very freaky book. Stars are reflective of the work of the author - not whether I enjoyed it or not. She got the reaction she was striving for....~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I thought about this book many times before I excepted the review. I hesitated about reading it because it’s not a typical storyline that I usually read. But I’m trying to branch out slightly and thought this would be a good addition.Now that I have read this book I have decided I’m not good at these psychological reads. This b This is a very freaky book. Stars are reflective of the work of the author - not whether I enjoyed it or not. She got the reaction she was striving for....~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I thought about this book many times before I excepted the review. I hesitated about reading it because it’s not a typical storyline that I usually read. But I’m trying to branch out slightly and thought this would be a good addition.Now that I have read this book I have decided I’m not good at these psychological reads. This book has many disturbing parts. I do have to give props to the author for her imagination and excellent writing ability to elevate the creep factor.However, I did not enjoy reading most of the story. For me the best part was the ending. Not only because it was over, but also because of the outcome.With intense situations that will make you uncomfortable and make it very difficult to turn the next page, you have to be in a good frame of mind to read this book. I’m not going to give away the plot or any of the twisted, creepy stuff, but just know there are factors in this book that could trigger issues and emotions.Like I said prior, the author is extremely talented in the psychological twists and turns of the mind. This is one book you definitely will not forget, even if you try to. So if you love that type of story, you will enjoy this one!copy rev'd for review considerationFull review - http://amidlifewife.com/the-marriage-...
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  • Cass ☘
    June 21, 2017
    Creepy and disturbing with an odd premise and a page turner for the first bit. As the book went on though, I felt it dragged on and I found myself skimming through the pages. Newlyweds Alice and Jake receive a wedding gift from a client of Alice's - an invitation to join exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.From the book's synopsis: "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 c Creepy and disturbing with an odd premise and a page turner for the first bit. As the book went on though, I felt it dragged on and I found myself skimming through the pages. Newlyweds Alice and Jake receive a wedding gift from a client of Alice's - an invitation to join exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.From the book's synopsis: "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."It kind of reminded me of a Stephen King novella called Quitter's Inc., Big Brother meets NSA to the extreme.I thinkthe ending was less than appealing. But, without a doubt, it did make for an interesting and thought provoking read.Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine and Michelle Richmond for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Judy
    June 18, 2017
    Intriguing thriller! This book was totally engrossing and the writing is really good. Newlyweds Alice and Jake get tapped to join this secret society known as The Pact. They see it as a way to strengthen their marriage and make it successful. They had no idea what they were getting into. This society has some major rules that can't be broken and Jake and Alice seem to, unintentionally, break a lot of them. There is some violence here, so if you're squeamish you might have a problem with this boo Intriguing thriller! This book was totally engrossing and the writing is really good. Newlyweds Alice and Jake get tapped to join this secret society known as The Pact. They see it as a way to strengthen their marriage and make it successful. They had no idea what they were getting into. This society has some major rules that can't be broken and Jake and Alice seem to, unintentionally, break a lot of them. There is some violence here, so if you're squeamish you might have a problem with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would certainly recommend it as a good read.Thanks to Michelle Richmond and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine through Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • AnisaAnne
    May 10, 2017
    Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine for the ARC of the The Marriage Pact in exchange for my honest review.Loved this suspenseful shocking novel about marriages with dystopian rules. Parallels Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.During the Renaissance, ornate marriage chests were given as wedding gift to hold all the things needed to embark on married life. In the Marriage Pact, Alice and Jake would receive a modern similar type chest made of reclaimed wood with a pad Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group- Ballantine for the ARC of the The Marriage Pact in exchange for my honest review.Loved this suspenseful shocking novel about marriages with dystopian rules. Parallels Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.During the Renaissance, ornate marriage chests were given as wedding gift to hold all the things needed to embark on married life. In the Marriage Pact, Alice and Jake would receive a modern similar type chest made of reclaimed wood with a pad lock - holding a unknown surprise that would help to marry their lives together. But instead of holding material artifacts and possessions, something else both alluring and quizzical is contained inside. THE PACT. At first it seamed like a guarantee for a successful marriage but soon turns into a stagecraft of a dystopian new order.The premise of the book was very intriguing to me and it delivered a novel full of strange ideals and horror. The book is written by the perspective of the husband who begins recounting the events surrounding the Marriage Pact while telling us stories of the couple’s dysfunctional upbringing. This creates a valid stage for the Pact’s desirability. Further into the novel the Pact’s non negotiable and often bizarre rules will creates path of terrifying destruction into the newly married couple’s lives with no turning back. Will Alice and Jake’s marriage survive with the authority of the Pact? But another question may be could it have survived anyway? Read this page turning psychological thriller to find out.
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