Title: The Perfect Family
Author: Robyn Harding
Published: July 28th 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
The bestselling author of The Party explores what happens when a seemingly perfect family is pushed to the edge by cruel, vindictive and increasingly dangerous attacks.
Thomas and Viv Adler have a picture-perfect family. Affluent and attractive, with two well-mannered kids almost out of the nest, they live in a beautiful house in a well-to-do neighbourhood. Their jobs are fulfilling; their children are thriving; the world is their oyster.
Until one morning, when they wake up to find that their house and car have been pelted with eggs. Thomas dismisses it as the work of a few out-of-control kids, but when a smoke bomb is tossed on their front lawn, and the tires on their BMW are punctured, he begins to worry. Unable to identify the perpetrators, they are helpless as the assaults escalate. The police assure them that this is just the work of bored teenagers, but no one in the Adler family believes it. After all, each of them has a secret – kept not only from the outside world but from each other.
As the Adlers grapple with their guilt, fear and shame, the assaults grow deadly. Their ‘perfect’ façade is crumbling, and it may be too late for any of them to do anything about it.
‘I realized that everyone in my family had secrets. And mine might be the worst of all.’
Promising a rollercoaster ride, The Perfect Family is the latest domestic noir release from bestselling author Robyn Harding. Filled with secrets, guilt, betrayal, risk, indulgence, obsession and danger, Robyn Harding’s new title is a potent page turner.
Meet the Adler family. Thomas and Viv are the figureheads of this idyllic family. With wealth and success defining this family, the Alders are respected members of their local community. With a stunning home to match their affluent lifestyles, this family has the world at their feet. But things quickly change for the Adlers when their home is subjected to a series of silly pranks. They awake one morning to find their home covered in splattered eggs. The head of the household, Thomas Adler, believes it is simply the work of a group of bored local kids. However, things soon escalate and the Adler family home is subjected to further attacks in the form of a smoke bomb, a deliberately planted wasp nest and more. When the police are alerted, they simply brush off the attacks as the work of local teenage troublemakers. But the Adlers are convinced that these attacks signal a deadly message from someone, but who could it be and why?
Robyn Harding is one of the best in the domestic noir genre, I especially loved her last release, The Swap. I raved about this one for some time after I read Harding’s 2020 release and I tried to pass The Swap into as many hands as I could. Suffice to say I was really looking forward to reading The Perfect Family and it turned out to be one juicy read!
In The Perfect Family, Harding embodies the viewpoints of four different members of one successful family, the Adlers. Via a shifting viewpoint style narrative, we move between the perspectives of Thomas, his wife Viv and their two children Eli and Tarryn. Harding ensures that she devotes the same amount of page time to each of these primary characters. I felt like Harding allowed me to be acquainted quite intimately with each character and their respective secrets. I enjoyed the process of unravelling each core cast member’s wicked secrets. And boy were they cracking secrets and lies!
The secondary cast is rather expansive and this helps add to the seeds of doubt planted by Robyn Harding about who might be the central culprit of the awful acts inflicted on this seemingly innocent family. I enjoyed the process of solving this domestic riddle. The Perfect Family contains plenty of red herrings, plot twists diversions and a whole lot of doubt. What I appreciated the most about The Perfect Family was the whole concept of truth, impressions and exterior appearances. This family first appeared absolutely perfect, but as soon as the surface was scratched, little cracks and then bigger cracks materialised. This component of the novel was exciting to uncover.
As with a few other readers who have already reviewed The Perfect Family, I did feel as though the ending didn’t give me the full sense of satisfaction, or the answers I was looking for when I finished the book. I was a little taken back by the final page, but overall, I guzzled The Perfect Family up in just two very short helpings. A big thumbs up from me.
The Perfect Family by Robyn Harding was published on 28th July 2021 by Simon & Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Perfect Family, Robyn Harding, here.
*I wish to thank Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.