The Marriage Pact (The Marriage Pact #1) by M.J. Pullen
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 16, 2011
Marci Thompson always knew what life would be like by her 30th birthday. A large but cozy suburban home shared with a charming husband and two brilliant children.
A celebrated career as an established writer, complete with wall-to-wall mahogany shelves and a summer book tour.
A life full of adventure with her friends and family by her side. Instead, Marci lives alone in 480 square feet of converted motel space next to a punk rock band, hundreds of miles from her friends and family. She works in a temporary accounting assignment that has somehow stretched from two weeks into nine months.
And the only bright spot in her life, not to mention the only sex she's had in two years, is an illicit affair with her married boss, Doug. Thirty is not at all what it is cracked up to be.
Then the reappearance of a cocktail napkin she hasn't seen in a decade opens a long-forgotten door, and Marci's life gets complicated, fast. The lines between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, heartache and happiness are all about to get very blurry, as Marci faces the most difficult choices of her life.
I am a big fan of stories with original ideas and The Marriage Pact by M.J. Pullen centers around two friends, Marci Thompson and Jake Stillwell, who make a pact to get married to each other when they turn thirty if they aren’t already married or involved in a serious relationship. I have to say The Marriage Pact isn’t anything like what I thought it would be like.
I rarely if ever say this about a main character, but I did not like Marci. Sure, at some point in time we’re all sort of lost and floundering not really knowing what to do with our lives and that part of Marci’s character is very relatable. But her affair with Doug was just ridiculous.
I know affairs happen, it’s part of life sometimes, but in my opinion Marci was being naïve in her relationship with Doug, who was a partner at the business she temped for. But I get it, they were in love, shit ended bad. That is realistic and I’m glad that Marci finally got herself out of the situation she was in with Doug even if he was the one who ended it.
My problem with The Marriage Pact is that it’s called The Marriage Pact and half the book is about Marci and Doug. Pullen is a good writer, but she spent way too much time on the relationship between Marci and Doug. It was dull and it was clear that it was going to end at some point. Aside from the email from Jake in the beginning and the trip back to her home town Marci spent her time either upset about not spending time with Doug or obsessing about his wife.
Anyway, once the story finally gets momentum and Doug breaks Marci’s heart she calls good old reliable Jake and he drives out to help her move back home and leave her problems behind. Now Jake I adore. I felt ridiculously bad for him throughout this story because Marci just can’t see what’s right in front of her.
She can’t see how much he loves her and I don’t think she really takes his feelings seriously at first. It takes some pretty serious stuff happening for her to realize how much she cares about him. It was annoying and there were times where I wanted to knock her upside the head and be like “really?”
I think Pullen would have fared better if she cut out all of the stuff with Doug in the beginning and focused more on the actual pact between friends. Instead of flashbacks I would have loved to see more between Jake and Marci. The “engagement” happened so fast that it just didn’t seem right and while I really enjoyed how the story ended, the parts leading up to it were just not great.
I’m not sure if I’d recommend this to a friend or not, but if someone enjoys love triangles and a bit of angst then they would probably enjoy The Marriage Pact.
When she’s not chasing two little boys or trying to wipe something sticky off the floor, M.J. (Manda) Pullen is the bestselling author of two contemporary women’s fiction novels: The Marriage Pact (2011) and Regrets Only (2012). She is working on several new projects as well, including more women’s fiction and a YA paranormal adventure series.
M.J. grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Writing has always been a big part of her life, both professionally and personally. She studied English Literature and Business at the University of Georgia in Athens, and later Professional Counseling at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She practiced psychotherapy for five years before taking a sabbatical to spend more time writing and raising her brood. Since high school, she has also been an executive assistant, cashier, telemarketer, professional fundraiser, marketing guru, magazine writer, grant-writer, waitress, box-packer, HR person, and casual drifter.
M.J. loves creating true-to-life characters who are flawed, relatable, and most importantly redeemable. She tries to explore all aspects of relationships, from romantic entanglements to battles between mortal enemies, and everything in between. She reads and writes across many genres, and learns something from everything she does. No matter what she’s writing, M.J. believes that love is the greatest adventure there is, and that hopeless romantics are never really hopeless.
After years traveling and living in places like Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, M.J. has now returned to her home city of Atlanta (actually Roswell, for hard-core Roosevelt fans and connoisseurs of suburban culture), where she lives with her husband and two young sons.