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The Marriage Pact Bets On...

The Marriage Pact

August 2017

In Michelle Richmond’s THE MARRIAGE PACT, Alice is an associate in a high-powered law firm who works long hours, and Jake is a marriage and family counselor. They live in San Francisco and are getting married. Before they are married, someone who Alice casually met through work asks to be invited to their wedding and bring a unique gift --- the opportunity to read The Pact, which outlines steps to be taken in marriage. They sound lovely for kindling romance and passion: 1) Always answer the phone when your spouse calls; 2) Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly; 3) Plan a trip together once per quarter; and 4) Never mention The Pact to anyone. I was thinking it would be fun to plan 1-3 with my husband.

But as I read, I realized that I could pass on those three when I saw what else was involved! And in fact, Alice and Jake wish they could exit as well, but that is not part of the deal. With The Pact, someone is always watching, and if you stray from the rules, there are consequences.

The book is narrated in the first person by Jake, who is protective of Alice, and also is fearful of where this is headed. Alice is nose to the computer at work; Jake has more time to muse on what is going on and raise questions.

They are constantly being observed and reported on. The control is tough to handle. For those who are squeamish about people placed in harrowing situations, you may want to sit this one out. The punishments for infractions to The Pact are harsh and exacting.

While reading, you think Why did these two smart people not just quit? Well, first of all, this is fiction, and second of all, that is not what the book is about. Instead it’s a look at two people who truly love each other and the odds they face to be together when an outside force is against them. And it’s a look at the rigors and demands of a cult when someone has no desire to be part of it --- and the struggle to exit intact.

I still like the monthly gift and the trip once a quarter; I wonder how many others are inspired by that!

The Marriage Pact
by Michelle Richmond