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One Perfect Couple
(Review, Synopsis & Summary)

By Ruth Ware



Book review and synopsis for One Perfect Couple by Ruth Ware, a quick and addictive survival thriller slash psychological thriller about a couples reality TV show filming at a luxury resort on a desert island that goes terribly wrong.

Synopsis

In One Perfect Couple by Ruth Ware, Lydia is a post-doc virologist whose aspiring actor boyfriend Nico wants them to sign up for the cast of a reality TV show set at a luxury resort on a deserted Island.

Lydia reluctantly agrees, and they're soon joined by the four other couples competing in the same Love Island meets Survivor-type show. But things start to go awry very quickly and it's only a short time before bodies start turning up dead.

In this exciting and suspenseful survival thriller slash psychological thriller, the only prize anyone is really playing for is trying to get off the Island alive...

(The Full Plot Summary is also available, below)

Full Plot Summary

Ending & Explanations
See the Questions, Ending and Explanations
Quick Plot Summary
This book is slated for publication on May 21, 2024. The full plot summary will be available closer to the publication date. For now, see the teaser available below.

The teaser summary covers Part I of the book. The rest will be available closer to publication!

In Part I, Layla, a post-doc virologist, and Nico, an aspiring actor, are offered a spot in a couples reality television show that Nico thinks it'll be good for his career. Layla reluctantly agrees, and they're soon flown to Jakarta, and from there they take a yacht to Ever After Island, just off the coast of Indonesia. Layla overhears that a storm is coming and hopes it'll clear. They'll be staying at a newly-built luxury resort along with the four other couples in the show's cast.

The premise of the show, One Perfect Couple, is that the couples will participate in challenges, and contestants will get eliminated. This means their partners to have to "recouple" with members of other couples until only one couple is left. Baz is the producer of the show while his assistant Camille does most of hands-on work. When Layla and Nico arrive, they meet the other couples - Romi and Joel, Bayer and Angel, Connor and Zana, and Dan and Santana. Each couple in the cast is assigned a villa to stay in, but the crew of the show returns to stay on the boat at night.

The first challenge of the show is to see how well the couples know each other by guessing your partner's responses to a questionnaire. Layla gets the highest score while Nico gets the lowest score. Nico is immediately eliminated, leaving Layla there by herself.

After the first day of filming, Layla and others discuss how something seems off. The resort facilities aren't done being constructed and the crew of the show is oddly small. There's also a lack of the support team that most other similar shows have like an on staff psychologist or welfare crew or even on-site medical staff.

Meanwhile, the first part of the book is interspersed with snippets of an emergency radio transmission. Through those snippets, we know that there will be a storm and by the second day of filming they'll be marooned on the island, with some having sustained severe injuries. Mayday calls go unanswered. Soon, two are dead and there are injuries among the other seven. Then, the radio runs out of batteries...

The teaser summary covers Part I of the book. The rest will be available closer to publication!

Book Review

One Perfect Couple by Ruth Ware is a quick, addictive little read.

The first thing to know about this book is that unlike most of Ware’s books, this is part survival thriller and part psychological thriller. It’s got a couple twists in store, but fans of hers who are expecting a straight up psychological thriller should probably tweak their expectations just a little.

I don’t read a ton of “survival thriller” type stuff but I think the blend of that with the psychological thriller elements really worked for me. One Perfect Couple goes by really fast. The survival aspects of the story keeps thing moving at a rapid clip, while the psychological thriller elements give it that something extra where you know there’s more going on than meets the eye.

I would describe the plot of this as a locked island survival-slash-psychological-thriller. Five couples are on a deserted island filming a “Love Island meets Survivor” reality TV show called One Perfect Couple. Things go awry very quickly and there’s dead bodies washing up on shore before long.

Plot-wise, a lot of the book is focused on the survival elements. So, this book is much more straight-forward than your typical psychological thriller. If you’re hoping for something really tangled and twisty, this is probably not going to do it for you. However, I do think this book keeps things interesting. Straightforward definitely does not mean boring, and there’s plenty of excitement and wondering what might happen in this book.

A lot of that is a testament to Ware doing a great job of foreshadowing just enough and planting little hints of something “off” so you know there’s more in store. You can really feel her experience as a writer and her keen understanding of how to create tension and suspense, even outside of a standard mystery context.

Let’s be clear, this is not really a mystery novel.

I feel like I should really reiterate that this is decidedly not a who-dun-it. There’s a constant question of what will happen next, but this isn’t a psychological thriller where there’s dead bodies everywhere and no clear indication of who did it and a ton of suspects. It’s not that type of story. I mean, there’s a brief wisp of that in there, but that’s really the crux of the story.

I think both because of what Ruth Ware typically writes and the marketing of the book, I imagine a lot of people will go into this expecting a who-dun-it. I sort of question the wisdom of marketing this as “harkening to Agatha Christie’s classic And There Were None” since I worry that it’s doing the book a disservice by setting people up to be expecting a slightly different type of book.

I assume the book marketing gods know better than I do? I know stuff like that certainly catches my eye. But personally, I think it’s not entirely accurate and perhaps not a helpful indicator of the content of the book.

One Perfect Couple is, however, a entertaining and quick survival thriller with some psychological thriller and suspense elements that I think was a lot of fun to read. I think if you can let go of the “murder mystery” idea and embrace that it’s a thriller with suspense, and there is some mystery in how the situation might be resolved, I think a lot of her fans will also like this book.

Read it or Skip it?

I think as long as you know it’s a survival thriller slash psychological thriller and that sounds good to you, this is easy to recommend. It’s fun and fast and exciting ride. I suppose there is a twist or two in One Perfect Couple. They add a little spice, but it’s not the reason to read this book.

Ultimately, I think you really have to be down for some survival thriller action if you’re going to like it. I was into it, and I liked the book.

If you’re on the fence, as long as you’re okay with this not being a standard murder mystery novel, I’d say give it a shot, especially if you like Ware’s writing style. This book goes by quickly, and I think most thriller fans would enjoy it.

See One Perfect Couple on Amazon.

One Perfect Couple Audiobook

Narrator: TBA
Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins

Hear a sample of the One Perfect Couple audiobook on Libro.fm.

Ending & Explanations

See the Questions, Ending & Explanations for One Perfect Couple

Book Excerpt

Read the first pages of One Perfect Couple



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