Fearing eternal singledom, childhood friends Kate and Paul make the age-old vow that if they don’t find love by thirty, they will marry each other.
Years later, with the deadline of their 30th birthdays approaching, the unlikely couple decide to keep their teenage promise. After all, they are such good friends. Surely that’s enough to make a marriage?
Now, on the eve of their 10th wedding anniversary, they will discover that love between men and women is more complex, and more precarious, than they could ever have imagined. As Kate struggles with a secret that reaches far into their past, will the couple’s vow become the very thing that threatens their future?
The premise of this story is somewhat genre cliche – long time platonic friends make a pact as teenagers to marry each other if they’re both single by the time they are 30. This always leads you to believe they might secretly be in love with each other or perhaps one of them is in love with the other but it’s not reciprocated. This book followed the same idea, it made you feel that Paul had feelings for Kate while she was oblivious although this didn’t become clear for a while.
The story starts out as the couple, who did indeed follow through with their pact, are away for the week at a cottage in Cornwall to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. They have two kids and they made it to ten years so far, so it seems their pact paid off… Except, immediately it is made apparent that there is a secret dwelling between the couple and it seems to be an unhappy and loveless marriage on the outside.
As the story progresses, the couple are trying to enjoy their week away and it is all leading up to their anniversary meal at the end of the week. Kate, who is the narrator, is continuously reflecting on their decades of friendship so the story flits between the present and the various stages of the past.
The couple first became friends at the age of 8 and we gradually learn about many ups and downs of their friendship as well as their family lives respectively. I noticed a stark contrast between the couples’ relationship when they were just friends, which was an easy, deep and meaningful friendship, to the present when they are married in which they are cold and distant.
I really enjoyed reading about the dynamics of their friendship and how it changed over the years and how different life events that they both experienced made the relationship mould into something new each time. This book was an examination of their relationship, primarily as friends and then as husband and wife.
This story was more about friendship than it was about love and that’s what I really enjoyed about it. I thought it was a realistic reflection of life’s ups and downs and the way events can have long lasting impacts on relationships we hold, whether that be positively or negatively.
It was a slow burning story as it was mostly character driven but this is the type of story that appeals to me. There was a bit of a pace lift towards the very end of the book which I didn’t expect and it didn’t really fit with the rest of the book but it worked well in the end. Overall an interesting and captivating read even with the unrealistic premise of the couple making a pact to marry and following through. Do people actually make pacts like that let alone actually go through with them..?