Cover image for The perfect marriage
The perfect marriage
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Grand Central Pub., 2013.
Physical Description:
viii, 179 p. ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Includes reading group guide.
Watching her parents struggle with their drug addictions, their loss of control, and diminishing family unity, Mackenzie Shaw takes matters into her own hands.


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The New York Times bestselling novel from the author of the Reverend Curtis Black series...


Denise and Derrek Shaw are the perfect American couple. Happily married for fifteen years, they have a wonderful daughter, Mackenzie, successful careers, and a beautiful home in a posh Chicago suburb. They are attractive, respected . . . and hiding a shocking secret: a dangerous addiction to drugs.

It started innocently enough. Denise occasionally used prescription drugs to help her deal with the long hours and demanding nature of her job. Derrek, also under pressure at work, began using cocaine socially with some of his colleagues.

They can quit whenever they want to. At least, that's what Denise would like to believe . . .

As her job becomes more stressful, Denise can no longer get through the day without a fix. Derrek realizes his harmless habit has become anything but, and desperately wants to get clean. However, his attempts are derailed when there is a sudden family tragedy. Once soul mates, now this husband and wife are quickly losing the immense love that had been the cornerstone of their marriage. With her parents spiraling out of control, Mackenzie makes an unexpected move to take matters into her own hands. Is her sacrifice too late-or is there still hope? Is there a final chance to save the Shaw family?

Author Notes

Kimberla Lawson Roby has published about 15 novels. Her debut title, Behind Closed Doors, was originally self-published through her company, Lenox Press. Her other works include The Best of Everything, One in a Million, Sin No More, Love and Lies, Changing Faces, The Best-Kept Secret, A Taste of Reality, It's a Thin Line, and A Deep, Dark Secret. She received the Blackboard Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2001 for Casting the First Stone and the 2004 Patron Choice Award from the Central Mississippi Regional Library System for Too Much of a Good Thing. She is also the 2006 and 2007 recipient of the Author of the Year, Female award presented by the African-American Literary Award Show in New York. In 2013 she made The New York Times Best Seller List with her title A House Divided. The Prodigal Son made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014. She also made the list in 2015 with her title, The Ultimate Betrayal.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Kirkus Review

Denise and Derrek appear to be the perfect couple, but can their love for each other and their family overcome their deepening drug addictions? As this sketchy novella opens, Denise and Derrek are at a 12-step meeting. Derrek, whose parents were drug addicts, has decided that they need help quitting what his wife of 15 years considers merely recreational drug use. Denise, unlike her husband, came from a "good" family, and as a nurse, she believes she understands and can control both their joint cocaine use and her increasing reliance on Vicodin. What Derrek doesn't know is that Denise isn't serious about giving up a habit that she doesn't consider dangerous. What neither realizes is that both are vulnerable and that a family crisis will push them over the edge. Before long, they're both using again and moving into harder drugs that not only endanger their livelihoods and their comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle, but eventually the health and happiness of their daughters. Roby (The Reverend's Wife, 2012, etc.) keeps to her fast, sexy, moralistic style; there is little doubt that love and faith will win out, especially for such an attractive couple. What keeps the adult fairy-tale formula from completely satisfying, however, is its sketchiness. The effects of the drugs, for example, are vague. The secondary characters, such as kindly old Lula from whom Denise steals drugs, are flat stereotypes. And details, like the health scare that starts Derrek using again, are mentioned after the fact, as if the author decided on a motive too late and didn't want to bother going back. This might hold fans until the next installation of the author's Reverend Curtis Black novels, but it won't win over new readers. An outline, rather than a fully drawn study, of a beautiful couple's trials with addiction, their predictable redemption too easily won.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Though Derrek and Denise Shaw appear to have the perfect marriage, they are using -Vicodin and cocaine, neglecting their religion and ideals, and refusing to deal with their childhood demons. When Derrek develops a gambling habit, it looks like the Shaws will lose everything. Then their beloved teenage daughter's overdose finally shocks them into action and forces them to get their lives back on track. The story is predictable, and the characters neither interesting nor likable. Shay Moore is a talented reader who adapts her voice to convey the genders, personalities, and moods of these individuals, but even her appealing voice and consistent pacing cannot save this story. -VERDICT Buy only where fans of Roby demand this. ["Roby, a skilled storyteller, once again weaves together a compelling plot by placing ordinary, sympathetic characters in difficult situations. Roby's many fans and readers who enjoy African American pop fiction will want this one," read the review of the Grand Central hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 12/7/12.-Ed.]--Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Lib., Williamsburg, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.