The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose is a great choice for book clubs who enjoy domestic thrillers, with an edge. From the outside looking in, Adam and Sarah Morgan have all the ingredients of a perfect marriage – he’s a handsome writer who dreams of starting a family, and she’s an ambitious lawyer who’s hard work has landed her straight at the top of the corporate ladder. But in reality, things aren’t so perfect. Resentment is building, and at least one of them is harboring a big secret. When Sarah discovers that not only has Adam been involved in an affair with another woman, but that this woman was found dead in the couple’s lakeside home, Sarah must determine if it’s possible her husband is capable of murder. And, if wasn’t Adam, who was it?
While the twists and turns in this book will have readers guessing the whole the way through, the author also explores deeper themes around relationships, justice, and abuse of power. Use our The Perfect Marriage book club questions to get some great conversation flowing! In addition to 10 prompts, this discussion guide for The Perfect Marriage also contains a synopsis, a selection of reader reviews, and 3 readalikes to help your book club pick their next read.
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The Perfect Marriage Synopsis
(We always chose to provide the publisher synopsis because we feel that it’s worthwhile to discuss whether the official book description actually squared with your experience of the book.)
The Perfect Marriage, Jeneva Rose
Sarah Morgan is a successful and powerful defense attorney in Washington D.C. At 33 years old, she is a named partner at her firm and life is going exactly how she planned.
The same cannot be said for her husband, Adam. He is a struggling writer who has had little success in his career. He begins to tire of his and Sarah’s relationship as she is constantly working.
Out in the secluded woods, at Adam and Sarah’s second home, Adam engages in a passionate affair with Kelly Summers.
Then, one morning everything changes. Adam is arrested for Kelly’s murder. She had been found stabbed to death in Adam and Sarah’s second home.
Sarah soon finds herself playing the defender for her own husband, a man accused of murdering his mistress.
But is Adam guilty or is he innocent?
10 The Perfect Marriage Book Club Questions
- “Kelly gives me the love that Sarah can no longer. They both complete me. It’s sick I know, but it’s true. I need them both.”
Do you think it’s possible Adam really loved both Sarah and Kelly? Can you love more than one person at the same time?
- When Sarah decided to act as Adam’s criminal defense attorney, did you think she’d be able to adequately defend her husband given the amount of pain and mistrust infidelity can cause? Was it wise for Adam to have trusted Sara with his case?
- Jeneva Rose sure knows how to write unlikeable characters! Which character in the book did you find the most unlikeable and why? Despite that, did you understand their actions?
- Do you think it’s ever really possible to know someone fully, even your partner?
- It’s clear that Adam and Sara both resented certain aspects of their relationship. Is this common in marriages? Can it be prevented?
- “I’ll never know what really happened between Kelly and Greg, or Kelly and Scott. Was she a victim of the men in her life? Was she abused? Or was she a girl who cried wolf? I’ll never know and neither will anyone else.”
What was your impression of Kelly and how did that change as more of her past was revealed? Did you find yourself feeling more or less sympathetic towards her? Why do you think that is?
- How did you feel in the moments leading up to the jury’s decision? What outcome were you expecting?
- Who did you suspect killed Kelly and how did that change throughout the novel? In hindsight, were there any clues the author left that would have pointed you towards the killer?
- How does this story portray the justice system? Do you think the author was making a statement about the justice system and death penalty?
- Did you feel that there were any plot holes or loose ends that weren’t addressed? What questions would you like answered?
Selected Reviews for The Perfect Marriage
(Use these selected Goodreads reviews to compare with your own experience of the book. Do you agree or disagree with the reviews?)
“This book may be my fave psychological thriller of this year. It kept me on the edge of my seat with all the twists and turns. It is well-paced and the writing hooked me in from the first chapter. The development of the characters was incredible, especially Adam (the slow transition of a sweet, well-mannered guy to a maniac man). The ending made me look like a fool, I was not expecting that at all, in fact it was the only person I didn’t doubt, that’s how good it was.”
“I found the character relationships all very interesting to observe. Sarah is clearly a powerful woman and this is reflected in her successful career. Yet, the breakdown of her marriage shows the lack of control she has of this relationship and, to be honest, I was really surprised that she and Adam had married in the first place; they are displayed as such opposites that I could never picture them as a compatible couple.”
“As a lawyer who specializes in criminal work, I couldn’t stomach this book. The relationship between the sheriff and the female lead is ridiculous and unrealistic. For instance, a sheriff would never allow a defense attorney to sit in while questioning a potential witness. Then there is the representation of her husband… It would also be a major conflict for her to take her husband’s case since she is a potential witness. As for non-lawyer reasons for a two star review: I hated the characters… I didn’t like or root for a single one. I didn’t care what happened to any of them, good or bad…”
3 Books like The Perfect Marriage
If your book club likes the whole dysfunctional murdery marriage thing, we’ve also got the following for you: The Guest List discussion guide (Lucy Foley), Verity discussion guide (Colleen Hoover) and a list of books similar to Verity.
Rock Paper Scissors, Alice Feeney
If you were gripped by the highly dysfunctional and secretive husband/wife relationship in The Perfect Marriage, check out Rock Paper Scissors. This is another domestic thriller that follows a couple as they spend the weekend at a remote, isolated home in Scotland. But this is far from a picture perfect vacation, and it’s clear that there’s more than one secret between these two.
This book will have readers questioning who they can trust, and culminates in an unpredictable twist. Plus, you’ll get some wintery, moody vibes with this one!
And if you like moody Scotttish mysteries, we have a whole lot of them on our list of books set in Scotland.
In My Dreams I Hold A Knife, Ashley Winstead
If your favorite part of The Perfect Marriage was the cast of potential suspects for murder, each one with their own motives and opportunities to carry out the crime, then your book club will definitely enjoy In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashely Winstead.
This book follows six college classmates as they meet back on campus for their ten year reunion, which also marks ten years since one of their friends was murdered in her dorm room. As they relive the events of the night of her murder, each is forced to confront their own pasts, and defend their innocence!
The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides
This is another look at a husband/wife relationship, except in this one, the husband is already dead! Six years ago, Alicia was found covered in blood, standing over her husband’s body as he sat strapped to a chair, shot to death. She was sent to a psych facility, where she’s remained ever since, never speaking a single word.
Theo is a therapist, who decides to work with Alicia, as he’s determined to get her to tell her side of the story. Will Theo get Alicia to talk? Why did Alicia do it? Or, is Alicia innocent? The Silent Patient will keep readers guessing until the end!
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Authored by Lindsay Gross
Lindsay is a total bookworm. Though she enjoys nearly every genre, her favorites are mystery/thriller and horror, because she’s addicted to the twists and turns. Her happy place is the bookstore (or the library!) and nothing beats a lazy afternoon curled up with a great book.
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