Review: “The Marriage Pact” by Michelle Richmond

A newlywed couple receives a mysterious gift that, when revealed, promises the path to a perfect marriage in this new gripping novel by “New York Times” bestselling author Michelle Richmond.  

About the Book

Cover art:  "The Marriage Pact" by Michelle Richmond
“The Marriage Pact” by Michelle Richmond

When therapist Jake and musician-turned-attorney Alice get engaged, it seems like another impulse for Alice.   For Jake, it seems more of a way to hold onto the woman he loves.   Jake’s nothing if he’s not insecure.   Her rock star past.   Her rocker ex-boyfriend.  He fears he won’t be able to keep her, even after they’re married.  But a mysterious gift and invitation to the Pact from a last-minute wedding guest will change all that.

The Pact is a secret society comprised of married couples.  They promise to guide Jake and Alice down the path to a perfect marriage using rules and laws set forth by the society.  When Alice signs the contract to join, Jake sees it as her commitment to their marriage, and it pleases him.   Even later when Alice is the first to break the rules, Jake seems pleased that she takes her subsequent punishments doled out by the Pact in stride.  After all, she does it for him.  She does it out of her love of him.  Besides, the penalties are gentle at first.  They’re even effective.

But what seems like a good thing quickly proves otherwise.  The Pact is dark and sinister.   They create perfect marriages, not with gentle guidance, but with a brutal police-state approach.  Constant monitoring.  Incarceration. Torture.  These are a few of the punishments for violating the laws of the Pact.   What’s more, divorce is not allowed.   Nobody leaves the Pact like that – or do they leave alive.   The Pact controls you.  It controls your marriage.

But what happens when both Jake and Alice allegedly commit serious infractions against the Pact, as well as their marriage?  

What happens when they want to leave with their lives intact?  

With all the facts Jake knows about marriage from his career as a counselor, the Pact will teach him what his marriage truly is whether he likes it or not.

My Review

While some authors in the genre seem to create cookie-cutter versions of popular titles, “The Marriage Pact” by Michelle Richmond is refreshingly unique and original, not to mention impressively well written.   If that sounds boring, the book is anything but.   Get ready to clench gluteal muscles when the Pact comes a-calling.   Get ready to fight the urge to squinch your eyes because you can’t put the book down, but you don’t want to see what happens next.

“The Marriage Pact” is a by-the-book psychological thriller loaded with plenty of anxiety, drama, and suspense for readers to enjoy.  Early in the novel, the MacGuffin is clearly Jake’s desire to keep his wife.  It’s this desire that ultimately attracts him to the Pact.   Although this fades away as the pages go by (as it should) the ending brings it full circle to an unforeseeable if not symbolic conclusion.   Sometimes you arrive happily at a place you never thought you’d want to be.   It’s just one heck of a ride to get there.  That’s Jake.   That’s “The Marriage Pact”.

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One Comment

  1. bchipper says:

    Thanks for the review on The Marriage Pact, it was the only reason I got the book to read in the first place, and I must say I loved it. Psychological thrillers are not my usual genre (mostly sci-fi or sci-fantasy) and I did find the start a little slow (too used to spaceships blowing up on page one or two) but I soon became hooked and loved the whole book as well as the way it was written.

    And that ending, for me it was perfect, just the right thing for a reader to feel they have been part of a story, or even part of the pact!


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