By Sofia Reynoso | April 17, 2023
Welcome to Sofia’s BookTok Nook! Biweekly, I will be discussing a novel that has taken BookTok, or the book-readers niche on social media app TikTok, by storm. I plan to tell the sometimes hard, sometimes beautiful truth behind the novels that pop up on my feed, intending to put a stop to the disappointment that comes with reading a book that is overrated on TikTok.
This week, I will be discussing “The Perfect Marriage” by Jeneva Rose: a thriller novel that many "BookTokers" have insisted is the “next ‘Gone Girl.’” I will be the judge of that!
Sarah Morgan is a successful lawyer based in Washington D.C. She has recently been named a partner of her firm, and is extremely happy with where her life is going. Not only is she successful, but she believes she has a loving husband waiting for her at home.
Unfortunately, Adam Morgan, her husband, has not found life to be as kind to him. He is a published author, but not a successful one. He also wants children, something Sarah doesn’t feel she needs in her life.
Because Sarah is always consumed by her work, Adam takes to beginning a lust filled affair with waitress Kelly Summers in the lake house Sarah purchased for Adam as a gift to aid in his writing. One morning everything in their lives changes. Kelly is found stabbed to death in the master bedroom of the lake house, leaving Adam as the prime suspect in her murder due to their very obvious affair. Sarah decides to take the case: a case that means defending her cheating husband, who was accused of killing his mistress.
I have an obsession with thrillers and mysteries, especially ones with a little romance added to it (more like an obsession, really, with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn). It was brilliant work, and the movie was just as good. So when The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose started coming up on my feed, I found myself intrigued the more I saw reviews and recommendations promoting it. I finally decided to give it a read since.
Jeneva Rose gives readers a dual POV novel of both the husband, Adam Morgan, and his wife, Sarah Morgan. Since Sarah is always working and Adam- who also wants children- isn’t, he finds himself searching for comfort in another woman. He starts an affair with waitress Kelly Summers, the wife of a deputy at their local police department. What is a domestic thriller without a mistress being stabbed to death in her lover's lake house? And who killed her? Even though Adam was cheating on her, Sarah takes his case to help prove him innocent, and this plot point proves to be the only unique thing about this book.
From the moment that Sarah took the case, I found it unethical, although a quick Google search shows that it isn’t illegal. It made it hard for me to take the rest of the book seriously, although I did appreciate how fast paced the novel was. Still, it was very predictable.
The writing itself was messy and needed a lot more editing. Towards the end, Rose abruptly changed the course of the entire novel. Chapter 64 was the only time that we see the truth behind Sarah’s mind. While this could be a creative decision to prove that she was an unreliable narrator, I feel it is more possible to have made this known to the audience with little hints throughout.
We read half of the book from Sarah’s perspective, and there was zero foreshadowing that could have led us to believe that she committed the crime. It was strange and felt as though the twist was thrown at readers with no forewarning. The way it was written was equally strange, feeling rushed and leaving me with tons of questions.
This novel was less than thrilling as advertised, and certainly not nearly as well written as I thought it was going to be. While I dislike giving a book such a terrible review, it just wasn’t for me. I still got through it, but that was because it read like a fanfiction. It could be a great read if you take it less seriously and look past the silly mistakes.
Read if you like:
I gave this book:
Naked truth: Personally, I am never reading this book again.