Review: The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding

Don't let the title deceive you. The latest novel from Canadian author Robyn Harding may be titled The Perfect Family, but I can assure you that the Adler's are anything but perfect. Sure, they may look perfect from the outside, living in a spacious and tastefully decorated home. Thomas Adler has a very successful career in real estate, while his wife Viv's new career as an interior decorator is gaining momentum. Their son Eli has just spent a year away at an elite college where he is the star of the soccer team, and their daughter Tarryn, a junior in high school, is also set to have a promising college career ahead of her. But each of the members of this family is hiding a sordid secret from the others. And now, it seems, someone knows and wants to get their revenge on this not-quite-so-perfect family.

Robyn Harding has become something of a master at scandal fiction, telling stories about the sordid secrets that can be hiding by seemingly the most ordinary of people. With the Adler's she creates a troubled family caught in a frightening situation that seems only to escalate and get worse every step of the way. While this book was a long way from perfect, I found myself glued to it over the course of a rainy Sunday afternoon as I tried to guess who might be responsible, and why. Some of my guesses about some of the characters were spot on, while other revelations took me completely by surprise--and that was even after I clued in to just how much of a dysfunctional family the Adler's were. A few of the revelations stretched the boundaries of credibility a bit, and some of the twists felt more like the worst part of an urban myth, rather than something that could realistically happen to another person, but the whole thing was just so entertaining I kept reading. (And, I admit, having a bit of a giggle at the expense of some of the characters. I find it difficult to believe that Viv didn't work out what Tarryn was up to after finding her ahem, 'stash' down in the basement.) The ending isn't as neat as it could have been, with some loose ends still hanging and the feeling that the Adler family's troubles may not be over just let.

Books like this exist to entertain, to occasionally shock and to keep readers turning pages. On that front, Robyn Harding does a brilliant job.

A scandalous read about a not so perfect family. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my copy of The Perfect Family.

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