Her Perfect Life
By Hank Phillippi Ryan
Pub date: 14-Sep-2021
AMBER LOVE 12-AUG-2021 This review is a courtesy provided by NetGalley. To support this site and my other work, please consider being a monthly donor at Patreon.com/amberunmasked; you can also buy my books through Amazon (or ask your local retailer to order you copies). I’ve also curated lists of books and other things I like on Amazon so you can shop through my lists of recommended products.
The next thrilling standalone novel by USA Today bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Everyone knows Lily Atwood—and that may be her biggest problem. The beloved television reporter has it all—fame, fortune, Emmys, an adorable seven-year-old daughter, and the hashtag her loving fans created: #PerfectLily. To keep it, all she has to do is protect one life-changing secret.
Lily has an anonymous source who feeds her story tips—but suddenly, the source begins telling Lily inside information about her own life. How does he—or she—know the truth?
Lily understands that no one reveals a secret unless they have a reason. Now she’s terrified someone is determined to destroy her world—and with it, everyone and everything she holds dear.
How much will she risk to keep her perfect life?
Hank P. Ryan does it again with Her Perfect Life. She’s created a domestic mystery that’s two-fold and intertwines a timeline of the past with the present. Forgiveness, redemption, and revenge are soaked in the bones of the characters Lily, Cassie, Greer, Sam, and the mysterious Banning.
Readers get to see the fine details of Lily Atwood’s privileged life as a TV reporter and single mother. She has a full-time au pair to care for her daughter Rowen. She can live without financial worries in her house and pay for the nanny and private school. But the only reason Lily’s life seems so perfect on the glossy exterior is because of her producer Greer and because she keeps everything about her past and personal life secret.
As her producer, Greer has more than one job. She has to wrangle the stories, interviews, and research while at the same time being Lily’s servant for just about any chore. Yet, they are not friends. That becomes clear and it’s a hard truth Greer has to swallow. If Lily were to decide that Greer was getting too nosy, too personal — she could be out on her ass looking for a new job. Greer is just as much of an investigative reporter though and her boss is hiding things that could ruin their livelihoods. It’s a relationship that’s difficult to define. Playing a personal assistant but credited as a TV producer, Greer deserves better. Along comes this man first calling himself Smith then changes to Banning, who blackmails her into helping his alleged client, Sam Prescott.
In today’s world would it really blow up the reputations of Greer and Lily if the paternity of Lily’s child were suddenly known? What about if Lily’s sister who disappeared 20 years ago, Cassie, ended up being responsible for someone’s death? Where would the public place Lily? Someone to look up to as a person that rose to the top given her history or as a bitch related to a possible drug-dealing murderer?
The consequences of everyone’s decisions over twenty years is what makes Her Perfect Life such a prime example of human behavior for today’s audiences. It reminds me of the line in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie when the Green Goblin says, “The one thing they love more than a hero is to see a hero fail, fall, die trying.” That’s how we treat our celebrities and author Ryan would know since she is one just like Lily Atwood.
After every character is manipulated to doubt people they trust and their own decisions at every single turn, makes the payoff of the foreshadowing that it will be all right so satisfying. Lily finally puts pieces together in a way that fits and she gets to reveal what’s really been going on and why. It’s a climax where the key characters are all confused except for Lily. Even the villain can’t believe what’s happening.
The hashtag within the book #HerPerfectLife is among a few that Lily has seen in reference to her. None of those people who believe it’s perfect know that every single day, she struggles with insecurity, bitterness, and tension that worms through her core. Use the hashtag when talking about the book too.
The detective tapped his pen against his notebook. It made a pocking sound, like a clock ticking out his thoughts.
Fluid prose that comingles the poetically descriptive with straight-forward action like expert dance partners is one of Ryan’s many talents.
Her Perfect Life continues to build Ryan’s catalog with a compound of characters and intertwining plots.
Rating: 5 stars