The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding
Thomas and Viv Adler are the envy of their neighbors: attractive, successful, with well-mannered children and a beautifully restored home.
Until one morning, when they wake up to find their porch has been pelted with eggs. It’s a prank, Thomas insists; the work of a few out-of-control kids. But when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and their car’s tires are punctured, the family begins to worry. Surveillance cameras show nothing but grainy images of shadowy figures in hoodies. And the police dismiss the attacks, insisting they’re just the work of bored teenagers. Unable to identify the perpetrators, the Adlers are helpless as the assaults escalate into violence, and worse. And each new violation brings with it a growing fear. Because everyone in the Adler family is keeping a secret—not just from the outside world, but from each other. And secrets can be very dangerous….
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Adler’s seemingly had a perfect life – a beautiful house, a well-maintained yard, and status-symbol cars. Viv and Thomas Adler are an incredibly hard-working couple that makes sure their appearances are impeccable. But behind closed doors, everything slips away and is not as perfect as it seems. Each family member is dealing with ugly secrets of their own and is hiding them from each other. Right from the first page, it is evident that someone is out to get the Adler family. The attacks start off innocently enough – throwing eggs, then an apple at their front window – but then it begins to escalate.
This was the first book that I’ve read by Robyn Harding, and I know it won’t be the last. It’s a bonus that she’s Canadian, and I’m trying to read more books by Canadian authors. The Perfect Family was a quick read for me, and it had me hooked from the very first page. I wanted to know who was targeting the Adler family, and why Viv, Thomas, Tarryn, and Eli are hiding secrets from each other. This family, especially Viv and Thomas, wants to portray that they are the ‘perfect’ family to the outside world, but they are crumbling and far from perfect.
The characters were complex and dynamic; each chapter was from the perspective of a different family member, which worked really well and added so much to the story. I’m normally wary of multiple POVs, but I think having each family member added to the story, so that the reader can get a better understanding of how the family dynamic works. I don’t know how this novel would work without all four POVs included.
Having four POVs can be challenging as an author, but Harding did such a great job at giving each family member their own personality and different way of speaking. It was evident to me when the chapters switch perspectives on who was talking, and what their thoughts were. It was very clear from the beginning that Viv and Thomas cared very much about their appearances to others than anything else – they had to be the ‘perfect family’ to the outside world. I kept trying to figure out who hates this family that they would directly target them. Is it one of Eli’s classmates, someone Tarryn knows from school, one of Viv’s or Thomas’ clients?
There wasn’t an abundance of tense moments in this novel, it didn’t leave me breathless after every chapter like some thrillers, but this was an incredibly enjoyable novel. It really is a domestic thriller centered on the Adler family, and it had me invested in the family.
This is THE perfect book club, summer beach, train-ride read… Anytime read. I’m sure this will end up on a list at the end of this year.
Let me know if you’ve read this book in the comments below!
Cups of Tea:
Tea Pairing: Lemon Ginger
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: August 10, 2021
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