A new wave of chick lit has been on a consistent rise in recent times: the new genre trend, launched in 2012 by publishing phenomenon Gone Girl, subverts the “happily ever after” trademark formula and exposes the dark and conflicting sides of the most intimate of relationships – the holy matrimony. With a focus on the dysfunctional aspects of husband-wife dynamics, Gillian Flynn‘s wildly popular novel and a number of other successful forays into the complex territory of the psychological thriller genre (The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison, Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson, How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman, Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse, etc.) target a predominantly female readership with tales of secretive husbands, deception and lies, intimate betrayals and conflicts that shake the foundations of the domestic walls and the sanctity of seemingly perfect marriages.
Bringing to the surface of a fictional mirror a fear that reflects a profound shift of values and habits in our modern society, the current enthusiasm for “chick noir” and “marriage thrillers” explores, with a range of nuances that vary from dry cynicism to dark comedy and family drama, the idea that our nearest life-partner may not be what he seems. Along these lines, The Idea Of Him (William Morrow, April 2014) by New York Times bestselling author, Holly Peterson, represents an interesting variation on the ‘marriage thriller’ theme.
Allie Crawford has the life she always dreamed of—she’s number two at a high-profile P.R. firm; she has two kids she adores; and her husband is a blend of handsome and heroic. Wade is everything she thought a man was supposed to be—he’s running a successful news-magazine and, best of all, he provides the stable yet exciting New York City life Allie believes she needs in order to feel secure and happy. But when Allie finds Wade locked in their laundry room with a stunning blonde in snakeskin sandals, a scandal ensues that flips her life on its head. And when the woman wants to befriend Allie, an old flame calls, and a new guy gets a little too close for comfort, she starts to think her marriage is more of a facade than something real. Maybe she’s fallen in love not with Wade—but with the idea of him. Captivating and seductive, told in the whip-smart voice of a woman who is working hard to keep her parenting and career on track, The Idea of Himand discovering your greatest strength through your deepest fears.
Peterson’s novel lacks the gloomy quality of a Flynn’s murky drama, as it is brightened by the female leads’ redemptive qualities, luminous path to self-awareness, romantic elements and glamorous setting. The disillusionment of the ‘marriage fairy tale’ is the thematic core of the former ABC News producer’s novel: the disturbing idea that our spouse could be hiding nasty secrets is pivotal in the unfolding of this suspenseful plot, but around that grassroots concept Peterson spins a riveting tale featuring high-finance schemes and stock market manipulations.
Holly Peterson is the author of the New York Times and international best seller, The Manny. She was a Contributing Editor for Newsweek and editor-at-large for Tina Brown’s Talk magazine. She was also an Emmy Award–winning producer for ABC News for more than a decade, where she covered global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Talk, the Daily Beast, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other publications.
One of the charities Holly most actively supports is The Bob Woodruff Foundation, the organization founded by ABC news anchor, Bob Woodruff. When the anchorman was hit by a roadside bomb during the Iraq war, his traumatic brain injuries almost killed him. His miraculous recovery inspired him and his family to give our war veterans and injured heroes access to support and resources that can help them heal and thrive after they return home. Please visit the foundation’s website to learn more about its mission.