‘A roller-coaster ride ... For fans of Celeste Ng, Gillian Flynn and Liane Moriarty.’ Booklist (starred review)
The bestselling author of The Party explores what happens when a seemingly perfect family is pushed to the edge by cruel, vindictive and increasingly dangerous attacks.
Thomas and Viv Adler have a picture-perfect family. Affluent and attractive, with two well-mannered kids almost out of the nest, they live in a beautiful house in a well-to-do neighbourhood. Their jobs are fulfilling; their children are thriving; the world is their oyster.
Until one morning, when they wake up to find that their house and car have been pelted with eggs. Thomas dismisses it as the work of a few out-of-control kids, but when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and the tires on their BMW are punctured, he begins to worry. Unable to identify the perpetrators, they are helpless as the assaults escalate. The police assure them that this is just the work of bored teenagers, but no one in the Adler family believes it. After all, each of them has a secret – kept not only from the outside world but from each other.
As the Adlers grapple with their guilt, fear and shame, the assaults grow deadly. Their ‘perfect’ façade is crumbling, and it may be too late for any of them to do anything about it.
‘Robyn Harding is at her twisty, devious best ... A propulsive, constantly surprising read that both entertains and chills.’ Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When their home becomes the target of repeated attacks of vandalism, each member of the Adler family thinks his or her own secret is to blame. Puncturing the Adlers’ idyllic exterior, author Robyn Harding captures the individual voices of both Thomas and Viv Adler—married for 22 years, though not without suspicions festering away—and their teenaged son and daughter, who react to intense parental pressure in surprising ways. This relatable thriller is all about the constant struggle to keep up appearances, whether in the local community or on social media. Balancing a darkly comic streak with bracing twists, Harding has crafted an intricate modern fable that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty.
Viv and Thomas Adler, the outwardly successful Portland, Ore., couple at the center of this highly entertaining domestic thriller from Harding (The Swap), appear to have the perfect life. So why is someone targeting them with such late-night harassments as pelting their home with eggs and rotten vegetables? Burdened with financial woes, Viv and Thomas and their two children are falling apart. Viv, who views her interior decorating business as more like a hobby, steals little things from friends and clients. Moreover, she's convinced that Thomas, a real estate broker, is cheating on her, though he worries about betraying her in a worse way. College sophomore Eli, who's home for the summer, won't say why he's dropping out, while 17-year-old Tarryn sequesters herself in her basement bedroom, dressed in sexy lingerie and a wig, talking with well-paying customers in a private online chat room. Each of their secrets is potentially devastating, yet none seems powerful enough to provoke the escalating attacks. The brisk plot takes several clever twists before building to a shocking act of violence. Harding is sure to win new fans with this one.
A solid psychological thriller
Viv would love to believe Thomas when he tells her there’s nothing to worry about and everything is fine. But when things start to escalate, even hearing the same message from the police gives her little comfort. None of them seem to know what is going on. Are they under attack from some unknown external enemy or is the real enemy the secrets between them that none of them can see coming.
The Perfect Family is a tense psychological thriller that follows the Adler’s whose picture perfect family persona that is displayed to all, is exposed as being anything but. We learn that each of the family has a pretty significant secret that they are hiding from each other and as the attacks increase, it becomes a guessing game as to whose is bad enough to warrant these attacks.
I did find that the story was drawn out especially when we learn very early on what each character is hiding. I also found there were just one too many attacks, but this just could have been my impatience in wanting the answers. The tension is ramped up 1000%, but when all is finally revealed, it didn’t have the thrilling impact I was hoping for, although I will say its last sentence did!
In saying all that, I did like this story. It has been well written and its characters are believable in their plights. This is my first book from Robyn Harding and even though this one just missed the mark for me, I am keen to read more of her work.