Book Review: The Pact by Dawn Goodwin


The Pact
Dawn Goodwin
Title: The Pact by Dawn Goodwin

Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: Aria

The cover of this caught my eye on Netgalley and after reading the blurb, I had to request it. It definitely sounds like Strangers On a Train (without the train). Two women with man troubles and one muses after too many glasses of wine that killing hers would improve her life. Unfortunately, the other is a lunatic and takes this as a "Game on!" moment and that can't end well.

But the way this played out wasn't exactly what I was expecting. There is indeed a murder but it doesn't take place until around the 75% mark. As a rule, I'm not a fan of that and like most stories where this happens, there's no good reason for it. Honestly, there was too much time spent on laying out the marriage of Maddie and Greg (from their meeting to the present). Maddie suffers through infertility and the breakdown of her marriage and when we enter the story, she is being moved into a nearby flat by her husband. Greg's now living in the home he and Maddie shared, with his formerly-his-really-bad-at-her-job-PA-girlfriend and their baby. Maddie, is really fine with all this and so accommodating to Greg to the point that upon accepting a lunch invitation to what used to be her home, she goes to the trouble of making him his favourite dessert (sticky toffee pudding) because he asked and gosh darn it all, he's just such a great guy (I never liked or felt for that guy but I think readers are supposed to). And that's not the most banana-pants thing this story has to roll out on the reader.

This was like a Lifetime movie and I had many moments of "What did I just read?!" That's not a bad thing because I just went with it and had fun but that's not the serious toned, Strangers On a Train vibe I'd been seeking when I requested this. The back 25% of this was full of twists and I was surprised at some of the revelations. The very end is too cute and wrapped in a bow for me but it was completely in line with that Lifetime movie feel, so not unexpected. There were a couple things that felt like continuity issues: Maddie is 38 but refers to herself as a Boomer (so... definitely not). She talks abt her fave shows with Greg & having watched them as newlyweds in the 90s. So perhaps she's supposed to be a Gen Xer & 38 was a typo, idk). May be worked out in the final edition for release.

I'd recommend this as a weekend or beach read. If you're the sort to talk to the characters as you read, you should settle in with a beverage. Wine, perhaps.

Summary: I'LL KILL YOURS, IF YOU KILL MINE.Maddie's life has come crashing down around her. Her husband has left her and moved on with a new woman and baby. No longer can she run from the past that's been haunting her. The past has destroyed her future.

In a new flat, trying to start a new life, Maddie meets Jade and her young son, Ben. All too swiftly Maddie finds the dark thoughts whirring through her brain. But Jade's different, she loves Ben, doesn't she?

As the two women begin to open up about their exes over a few glasses of wine, Jade conjures a plan, a pact. She'll kill Maddie's if Maddie kills hers. Laughing it off, Maddie returns to her normal life. But what if it wasn't a joke at all...

Many thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for the Advance Reader's Copy.

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