Review// The Marriage Lie by Kimberley Belle

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Author: Kimberley Belle
Series: Standalone 
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: December 27, 2016 
Book Length: 334 pages 
Publisher: Mira  
Review: 1.5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

My Review:

I gave this a low rating, but I am really torn about it. The writing style (flowing of sentences, ability to make you want to read more, etc.) wasn’t bad and it was actually the thing that got me hooked on this in the first place. I always get sucked in to those “perfect seeming couple” tropes where it turns out one of them is a psycho, and this was no exception. Will and Iris are the embodiment of that trope: they have a great marriage where Will treats Iris like a Queen, they’re trying for their first child, and both have good jobs and live in a nice neighborhood. So far, this is checking all my boxes for that good old fashioned setup.

However, I really did not enjoy how Iris was portrayed in this story. Iris is a school psychologist and I would not trust her with my life. Right near the beginning, she made this really derogatory and slut shaming comment about one of her students—and I quote:

Ava is a gorgeous girl… she could have any boy in this school, and she has. Ava is not picky, and if I am to believe Twitter, she’s an easy conquest.

I felt really taken aback by how she referred to her student, a child, as a conquest. I kind of just recoiled by it at the time and went on with the story, hoping it was just a hiccup. Then Iris, it is revealed, has a gay twin brother. Great: 11/10 loving the representation. Not so great: Iris stereotypes him too. Not to mention she is stupidly blindsided by her husband, someone it is revealed to her who lied about basically every aspect of his life.

Whenever she would find out new, indisputable information about Will, she would be all, “No, not my Will. Not the person who told me I am his favourite person in the world!” Someone who thinks you are their favourite person in the world wouldn’t do everything Will did to her. She was so weak that it hurt. I want to read about strong female characters, not ones like this. Yes, she was going through a traumatic time but there is no way I would keep defending this person after everything I learned. At the beginning, Iris referenced the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not once did I feel she strayed from the denial stage. I was so rooting for her to make a huge move, but she was so meek and it made me kind of bored.

Not only did Iris slut shame a student and create a stereotype of her own brother, but I felt a bit uncomfortable with the way she referred to the one POC in the book and the role he played. I honestly don’t think it was fair and very much stereotyped. I love love love representation in books, but not when that representation is used to further label those individuals.

It was closer to a 2 than a 1 for me, but I couldn’t justify giving it a 2 (which on Goodreads means ‘it was okay’) because I don’t think these things were okay and it kind of hindered me experiencing the 4 star read like everyone else did. If I could get passed all of this then maybe I would have liked it more, but I just unfortunately couldn’t.


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4 thoughts on “Review// The Marriage Lie by Kimberley Belle

  1. This is an excellent review!

    I have to admit, I enjoyed this novel when I read it because it was fast-paced, but your comments have made me see it in an entirely new light. I don’t know if I was just blinded by it being a thriller and more lenient for that reason, but that’s not a good excuse to ignore these sorts of stereotypical characterizations.

    Thank you for writing such a detailed and thoughtful review that really made me think about this book again and be critical of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! 🙂 I know, I liked it a lot too at first but then I noticed these elements that kept popping up and added together they made me feel a bit uneasy. Honestly if you take all of those little things away, this is an excellent book but it was just so hard for me to look past it once I was aware!!

      Liked by 1 person

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