Honesty is the best policy…except maybe when it comes to marriage in this brilliant novel about the high price of perfection from bestselling author Camille Pagán.

Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.

Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.

What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?


Penelope has got a lot on her plate. She’s the primary breadwinner of her family, with her husband mostly working for home as a writer with a sporadic income. She also has to take care of the little needs of her two kids, from making their lunch to taking them to camp. Her husband, although well-meaning, has started to fee like third child to her. She’s not happy with her life – not her job and not the present state of her marriage.

Her whole life is shaken when her best friend Jennie dies of an overdose of pain pills. She finds out that Jennie and Matt who she found to be the perfect couple actually had a lot of problems. It’s a shock to her because she shared all the little details of her life with Jennie, but had no idea about Jennie’s problems. That’s all it takes for Penny to take things on her hand and bring changes to her marriage before her life can head to the same end as Jennie’s. Little does she know that these changes will force her to face her own demons and come to terms with some harsh truths.

This was a poignant story about marriage. Penny and Sanjay are two realistic characters. It was quite amazing to see the love between these two and the trust they had in their own love for the other. Penny is the girl who always says “Everything’s fine” and doesn’t like to share if she’s having a hard time. Sanjay is a great guy who got complacent for a while but is loyal and committed to his family. I really liked him. They work well as a couple. This book had a great message that although honesty and honest communication can be a bit rough at the beginning, but it is effective in fixing the problems.

A really good read about happiness and honesty, and the thin line between marriage, family and friendship.



Publication Date: 1st April, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

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