“It was the perfect marriage-until everything went wrong. On their first date back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke bonded over drinks, dinner and whether they could get away with murder. Now married, they’ll put the latter to the test when an unchecked danger in their community places their son in jeopardy. Working as a criminal defense attorney, Nat refuses to rely on the broken legal system to keep her family safe. She knows that if you want justice…you have to get it yourself. Shocked to discover Nat’s taken matters into her own hands, Will has no choice but to dirty his, also. His family is in way too deep to back down now. He’s just not sure he recognizes the woman he married. Nat’s always been fiercely protective, but never this ruthless or calculating. With the police poking holes in their airtight plan, what will be the first to fall apart: their scandalous secret-or their marriage?”(Synopsis from inside the front cover in the book.)
I read that synopsis and HAD to check this book out! For some reason, I was in the mood to read a family involved murder mystery style thriller! For Better And Worse by Margot Hunt definitely did the trick to feed that mood! I will warn you that if you get sensitive to gore or certain adult content that this book does have a minor amount. Age-wise I would recommend this novel for older teens and older, a more mature age group in other words. (Unless you are sensitive to gore, murder, and adult-themed material and then I’d suggest skipping this novel regardless of how great of a read it is.) There is a Prologue in the beginning and at the end, there’s an Epilogue as well totaling 329 pages in length. Part One is Natalie, Part Two is Will and Part Three is back to Natalie.
I loved this novel without any doubt in my mind! When I enjoy what l’ve read, usually it still takes me a few chapters to actually get hooked onto the book. Sometimes I feel like the first few chapters have TOO many useless small details and makes it hard for me to get into, such as the lamp was blue in the blue themed room. Of course the lamp would be blue in a blue themed room. Obviously that’s not always the case and sometimes I have to force myself through to the end because I don’t like giving up on a book. For Better And Worse though, I was hooked immediately! I really enjoyed the amount of details, not too many but yet still well-thought-out for my liking. Part One(Natalie) was from the life and mindset of Natalie, I liked how the author did that between the three parts. The Epilogue in the end and the Prologue in the beginning was as a narrator I assume, neutral voice of both characters. I will admit that I enjoyed Natalie’s mindset better than Will’s mindset.
As you may have read in the synopsis, Natalie and Will met in law school during college, later became married and had a son together named Charlie. Through Natalie’s mindset, she begins to give minor details that her marriage may not be perfect and happy, but she hadn’t yet found any real reason other than normal marital fighting.
“My eyes drifted toward my husband, who was joking and laughing with Charlie about something. Will had started going to the gym regularly recently, and it was started to pay off. His stomach was flat again, and I could see new definition in his arm and chest muscles. I was glad he was taking better care of himself.” (Page 23)
She focuses more on work, home life, and all things Charlie related being super mom. An emergency meeting by the school calls all the parents to the school for a meeting regarding the school principal. The school administration wanted to warn the parents before the media broke the news IF the news did end up covering it. This emergency meeting uncovers a detail about the principal that no one expected and the school reassured the audience of parents that there was a full investigation in the works and while the police did their work the principal would be on leave from the school. It was then announced who the acting principal would be in the meantime until the investigation was resolved, if the principal was guilty they would find a replacement at once, if the principal was innocent then he would return once the investigation proved his innocence.
“Something was definitely up. I wondered if it had anything to do with the police cars parked in front of the school. I called Mandy, who picked up immediately.” (Page 37)
Here we learn that Natalie and Will know the principal more than the average parent did at the school. When they were a young couple before having Charlie they lived in the same apartment complex as the principal and his wife. Both being young couples in an apartment complex with older people, the two couples would often eat meals and hang out on the weekends until they all moved out into future homes, and they drifted apart. The voice of the novel stayed with Natalie until about half-way through the novel. In the synopsis we learned that Natalie and Will test their theory if they can get away with murder or not, thus you should have pieced together that they murder someone.
There’s a justifiable reason for anyone who wants to get upset over a fictional story. A bad thing happens, Natalie and Will end up murdering someone due to previously mentioned bad thing that happened. I will give this detail though, it was not a mutual agreement. The bad thing happened, Natalie recommended murdering the person involved, Will actually said no because of obvious reasons. Natalie is a criminal defense attorney, she defends the bad guys. Will is not a criminal defense attorney but also practices law. (At this moment in time I cannot remember what specific type of law Will practices, I apologize.) Will uses this fact as for why they should not commit murder because they are mature adults who practice law and “know better.”
Natalie attempts to commit murder through what she considers a well-thought-out plan. The plan does not go according to plan, and she must reach out to Will for extra help. He shows up intoxicated and ends up finishing off the murder. Will’s attendance was not part of the plan and his actions during his participation were not part of the plan either. Due to those added details, Natalie must work her magic to protect the family. The rest of the book goes through the investigation, small-town gossip, and learning that Will was having an affair. I wasn’t sure whether to give that detail out in this review because you really suspect an affair is happening during Natalie’s mindset but with the lifestyle of lawyers and attorney’s you also justify all the signs. Long work hours, constantly on his phone, and normal details of a busy working lawyer.
“Mandy looked over at Will, too, and then she caught my eye. She knew his phone obsession drove me crazy. I had joked about it one day over lunch, comparing his phone habit to that of our teenage babysitter.” (Page 56)
Overall I greatly enjoyed this novel, it was a great read! I felt like it was very realistic up until the end. The conclusion of the “big scene” wasn’t as realistic though. Not as realistic as you’d expect for the situation but it went along perfectly with the style of the story, although not realistic it was also not completely “out of this world” I guess is what I’m trying to say. It’s not far-fetched, just highly unlikely for the real world. That’s the point in Fictional stories though in case anyone forgets, where things happen that wouldn’t or didn’t happen in the real world. Because Natalie and Will’s world doesn’t exist even if a lot of the details happen in our everyday world. All in all, I loved this book from start to finish! I am eager to check out more work from Margot Hunt and what she creates in the future. In case you want to check this novel out and her other work I will provide a link below! Let me know what you thought or if you plan on reading the novel as well!