Faith Harrison is the first to admit that she’s found everything she was looking for in life but the beauty and privilege of Palm Beach society comes with a cost. Faith may walk the walk and wear the designer labels but there’s more to Faith than meets the eye. What will happen when everyone learns that Faith is not the woman she says she is? Who will stand by her side when the truth about her past comes to light? For years, Faith has kept a desperate grip on everything she holds dear. Yet even she, the only one who knows how carefully her image was constructed, could never have suspected how far she would fall—and from whom betrayal would come.
Things begin to implode on the eve of the winter season, when Faith learns of her husband’s impending scandal. As this threatens to unravel her world, her own lifelong deception comes to light. Scrambling desperately to save her family, Faith must confront the haunting truth about what she left behind, her buried regret, and the demons that haunt her still. Amid the lush exterior and surreptitious interior, Marren creates intriguing characters, each invested in living the Palm Beach life, where the price of escape and the price of belonging are equally steep.
A compelling tale of love and ambition, secrets and lies, A Palm Beach Wife is an unforgettable novel about the dark side of the American Dream that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
“Marren shows the importance of status for a woman in Palm Beach, Fla., and how easily a few dangerous secrets can take it all away…the mystery and intrigue will keep readers holding on until the shocking ending they won’t see coming.” — Publishers Weekly
“Razor-sharp, juicy…unputdownable! Few places are as elite and rife with social drama as Palm Beach, and with A Palm Beach Wife, Susannah Marren gives us entrée to the gated mansions and private clubs. A must-read for fans of Lauren Weisberger.” —Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of The Forever Summer
“A wickedly fun and entertaining story about high society life in one of America’s toniest towns.” —Mary Simses, author of The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe and Palm Beach resident.
“A riveting tale filled with betrayal, passion, aspiration and deep emotion set in fascinating and alluring Palm Beach, which is as much a character in the book as Marren’s complex and relatable heroine, Faith Harrison. For anyone seeking an insider’s look at the highest echelons of society, A Palm Beach Wife doesn’t pull any punches. I couldn’t put it down.” —Elyssa Friedland, author of The Intermission
1. Although Edward has recently kept something hidden from Faith, she herself has a deep-seated secret that has fueled her life as a lie. How has she rationalized this for so many years?
2. What is it about Faith that causes her to believe that she can ‘fix’ Edward’s errors? Do you feel that she is naïve or clever to fight for him—and to what end are her intentions?
3. Social ambitions for Faith have been important—until her world unravels. As a reader, what did you find most discernable about her ‘awakening’? What is your reaction to the steps she takes?
4. Faith confronts an unconsummated true love (Lucas) versus a shared life partner (Edward). The world she and Edward have built together has merit and she has been a loyal wife. Now circumstances have shifted and she has been betrayed by Edward. What would you do in such a situation?
5. Vintage Tales, Faith’s shop on Worth Avenue, and Edward’s success have given her excellent social standing in Palm Beach. She has remained popular and discreet. However, once there is a crisis, she learns who are her authentic friends versus false friends. How is the reader surprised by some and not others?
6., Palm Beach, a place, presents as a character in the novel. For Katherine, it is what she knows and for Diana it is a mystery. How would you describe the effect of this ‘character/place’ that once had such meaning for Faith?
7. Female rivalry is alive and well among factions of women in the novel. Women are vying for recognition and will backstab in order to get there. What they compete for might prove second to the idea of a winner and a loser. How do the machinations of certain women in the novel remind you of real life experiences?
8. With the amount of materialism, beauty and money in Palm Beach, a reality check is in order for Faith. As her own actuality no longer fits with the lush exterior and surreptitious interior of Palm Beach, what happens to her?
9. Although a new form of family emerges as Faith works closely with those who are dearest to her, we know from the start how devoted she is to her daughter, Katherine. For Faith, personally, there is a yearning for a mother figure who prevails and protects. Do you feel she is entitled, based on her own actions of the past?
10. The price of escape is steep and comes at a great risk — as does the price of belonging. The women in Palm Beach know this. Discuss how Faith, who had it all, deals with her position once she is in peril.
11. The trajectory of several characters—Faith, Eve and Mrs. A, is about resilience and believing in oneself. As the story unfolds, Faith moves with lightning speed toward misfortune and salvation. In terms of inner strength, with whom do you most identify and why?
12. Reinvention is a part of the culture in A Palm Beach Wife, along with trading up. What about trading down and/or reclaiming yourself? Can you imagine what is ahead for Faith?