This can’t be a B.A. Paris book, no way! What a huge letdown! I can’t believe I actually finished this book. I don’t think I liked a single one of these characters. I thought the main couple was childish and simple, Livia needs to realize that not everything is about her. I kept thinking there had to be a major twist or a huge reveal or something major coming up as I read, for I knew this book wasn’t like her other books but it couldn’t be like this, could it?
To compensate for the wedding that she never had, Livia sets her sights on having a 40th birthday party blow-out. The idea of this party consumes her, I mean totally consumes her. Every beautiful item that Livia sees, up to the day of her party, she ponders on whether she could use that item for her party. Every item! From food, to clothes, to furnishings, Livia has these thoughts running through her head for years. You know Livia, you are an adult now, act like one. Adam, her husband, is a yes man. He loves Livia dearly and would do anything to make his wife happy but I think he needs to learn to be adult also. Adam also has a very close bond with their daughter, Marnie. His relationship with their son, Josh is a different story. I felt sorry for Josh a few times as I read this story, it seems like he was trying and he did make some compromises. I thought the children played an interesting role in this book.
There are a few other individuals in the story but everyone comes together with Livia’s 40th birthday party which should be a five-star production, since she’s had years to plan it, but the secrets that individuals are holding put a damper on the festivities. It frustrated me that these secrets ballooned. They didn’t seem to amount to much, when compared to the drama the individuals who kept the secrets were making them out to be. It was that anticipation of their reveal, that energy and that mysterious reaction that was going to be brought out by the characters not sharing the information until the last possible moment, that keeps the pages moving forward. I’m a huge fan of B.A. Paris but this one is not my favorite B.A. Paris book. 2.5 stars
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
Peter Brown; plein air; really good; nice bloke. Prolific, too - I've still got three unread catalogues on my shelf and haven't checked his website for new ones for months. Here I found the Brit paintings better than the France paintings, generally speaking. No idea why.