Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson


First Line: She first spotted him at Bobbie's Coffee Shop on Twenty-Second Street.
Never in a million years had Abigail Baskin ever dreamed of marrying a millionaire. Then she met Bruce Lamb, a good guy who's stable, level-headed, and kind. In other words, a man very different from those in her previous relationships. The wedding is going to plan until Abigail's bachelorette weekend. She has a drunken one-night stand with a complete stranger. She puts the sexy stranger out of her mind and gets set to spend the rest of her life with Bruce.
Their honeymoon on a luxurious secluded island is the stuff dreams are made of, but when One-Night Stand Man shows up, Abigail's future starts to unravel. He insists that their fling was something much more meaningful, and he's tracked her down to prove it. Should Abigail tell Bruce what happened? Or should she deal with her stalker on her own? 
I decided to read Peter Swanson's Every Vow You Break on the strength of how much I enjoyed his previous book, Eight Perfect Murders. I have to admit that I did have a couple of reservations. First, the title. I found the Police's mega-hit Every Breath You Take to be downright creepy and could never understand why anyone in their right mind would want to play it at their wedding. It's stalker music, folks, and Swanson's book title directly refers to it. My second reservation was my spotty track record with domestic thrillers. Especially in this subgenre, if there's not at least one character I can like, chances are slim that I'm going to like the book.

Well, my reaction to Every Vow You Break was decidedly lukewarm. To begin with, I had to wade through all of Abigail Baskin's previous relationships in order to understand how different Bruce Lamb was. All that did was make me care less and less about Abigail. Sooner or later, Abigail's going to find fault with anything no matter how perfect it originally was. Her drunken one-night stand made me roll my eyes because it was so obvious something was going to go wrong, and even Bruce seemed too bland and too good to be true, no matter how much money he had. 

Okay. I didn't like Abigail. I didn't like Bruce. Having been the victim of a stalker, I wasn't about to find One-Night Stand Man appealing. So what kept me reading Every Vow You Break? I kept reading because I knew something was going to go wrong and I had to know what it was and how Abigail would manage to get herself out of it. That's why I kept reading.

How did that work out for me? I can see something like that actually happening, but more than anything else, it made me angry. Angry that something like that could actually happen. If you couldn't finish watching The Handmaid's Tale because it made you so angry (like me), you might want to avoid Every Vow You Break. And that's all I'm going to say about what Abigail had to deal with at the end. 

I said that my reaction to Swanson's book was lukewarm, but that's not exactly true, is it? My Dislike button was firmly pushed several times. My curiosity was totally engaged, and a match was struck to my temper. Swanson kept me reacting and kept me turning the pages all right. I just wish I'd paid more attention to my track record with domestic thrillers. Of course, your mileage can certainly vary, and I hope it does.

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson
ISBN: 9780062980038
William Morrow © 2021
Hardcover, 320 pages
Psychological Suspense, Standalone
Rating: C+
Source: Purchased from The Poisoned Pen.


  1. This is another overlap of our reading DNA, because I don't like most domestic thrillers either. I'm going to check out Eight Perfect Murders (sometime ...) but this one will not make my list.

  2. Well, that's one book I don't have to add to the list.

  3. I've read Swanson's Before She Knew Him and liked it enough to read more by him. Haven't gotten to this one of his last one before this one. Your lukewarm feelings seem very justified in this case. Stalkerish stories would be hard to read if you've experience that type of behavior before. Hard when you don't really like the main characters either.

    1. I think the biggest difficulty I have in liking domestic thrillers is the fact that you can't trust anyone.

  4. Yes. When I've read really thrilling domestic crime fiction, I've left lights on all night and not taken the garbage to the compactor (right next door) for three days. So I try not to read too many, and to do so during the daylight.


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