I read and loved Sisman's Perfect Strangers - it was a really great read about people who did a whole life swap and ended up finding true happiness (sort of like The Holiday in book form), so I was excited to see a new book by Sisman, but found myself ultimately disappointed.
To be honest, the plot felt way too slight for a novel of this length. I'm half-convinced that Sisman originally wrote a novella and was asked to extend it to a novel wordcount. In a nutshell, Kate and Rikki have had two years of wedded bliss, focusing on their careers and not needing to spend all their time together. Then both find themselves working on the same court case - but on opposing sides. Their wedded bliss is shaken to the core.
I think I might have liked this novel better if I had liked either Kate or Rikki, but I found both to be selfish and uncommunicative. Why, if their marriage was so strong and perfect, did they not talk to one another? Why did they let a court case and their opinions of their clients get in the way? It felt so contrived and just didn't entertain in any way.
Kate and Rikki have been married for two years and understand completely how the other works, knowing they don't have to be together 24/7 and that with both of them being barristers, sometimes work comes first. When Rikki lands the case of his career, helping Cassandry Carnaby in her high-profile divorce, Kate can't help but feel a bit jealous it isn't her working the case, or a case like it. Until her mentor Angus invites her in to join a high-profile case of her own: helping Jez Benson, and, more importantly, opposing her husband Rikki. Rikki is furious with Kate for taking the case and suddenly their happy, easy-going marriage has done a complete 180 and has hit the skids. As Kate and Rikki pull in opposite directions as they each help out their clients, it suddenly seems as if marriage was a bad idea. Can Kate and Rikki put the court case aside to sort out their own lives or will they both fight so hard to win the battle that they completely forget they ever loved each other in the first place?
I don't really know where to start with what I thought about The Perfect Couple? because it just wasn't what I expected at all. The synopsis makes it sound as if the entire novel focuses on the court case and that it would be a fast and furious read, but the court case doesn't even begin until the last quarter of the book. Everything up until then is just about how the case is pulling Kate and Rikki apart, and to be honest their entire feud is a bit ridiculous. Rikki gets on the case first, helping out on Cass Carnaby's side, and then moans at Kate for not liking how much Rikki goes on and on and on about how beautiful Cass is, before Kate gets invited to work on the opposing site, for Jez Benson. Rikki goes completely bonkers, and that's pretty much it in a nutshell. That is how the book continues for the entire duration - Rikki and Kate sitting in their respective corners, not talking anything through and being ridiculously stubborn.
We're supposed to believe Rikki and Kate are madly in love, but they spend a total of 5 pages, if that, acting like an actual, proper couple. For the rest of the time they're either arguing or just not talking to each other, as I said. I also think the whole lawyer/barrister thing was a bit overplayed. About 90% of the novel was set in the chambers where Kate works, and I got a bit sick of hearing about it all because it was just really boring. There's explaining to us how the law works, but it just got too over-bearing after a while and I was aching for the action to move elsewhere. I think a lot more of the book should have been set in the actual court house, and I was disappointed that the court case barely featured as I expected it to be the focal point of the book.
I expected a lot more from The Perfect Couple, I wanted the fast paced read I was promised, I wanted a court battle (I really wouldn't call what Rikki and Kate have in court a battle) worthy of a US TV drama, but it all fell flat. I found myself not wanting to pick the book up, and not really wanting to finish it and that is never a good sign. I suppose the writing kept me going, but it all seemed to fail miserably. It's a huge shame I didn't enjoy it, because it's not often you get a book set in the law-world where a couple go head-to-head and Sisman could have done a heck of a lot more to make it interesting. I reckon if the book had been set in the US it could have been a lot more soap-opera like but the UK law system just doesn't seem all that interesting, and it didn't really come across all that well in the book. So unfortunately this book wasn't really for me, it may appeal to some but for me it just fell a bit flat.