For Better and Worse: marriage and murder

For better and Worse book review

What is this about?: Natalie and Will discover their son Charlie was abused by his school principal, Robert and Natalie begins to plot his murder. However, this go awry and so begins an intense character examination of these parents and just how broken they really are.

What else is this about?: Fabulous characterisation, around an equally compelling plot.


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?

For Better and Worse is utterly, completely and totally mesmerising.

 Natalie and Will are lawyers — she’s a criminal defense lawyer and he’s in real estate. Or trust. Point is, by the time the first chapter is done, I couldn’t be bothered what law he practised because he’s so incredibly … terrible.

Not terrible in a violent way, but terrible in the way that he complains about their meal calendar and Natalie never being spontaneous, but here’s the thing: Natalie works all day, just like he does. Charlie is the one that needs a dinner and not once in that entire scene does Will do anything but complain about her not being spontaneous. In fact, she was making dinner, he was getting a beer and complaining and did nothing.

Natalie isn’t perfect. She is in fact ruthless and cold, and when Charlie admits what happened to him that part of her comes out and she plans Robert’s murder. However, she couldn’t protect her son and she won’t forgive herself for that. I can also understand why Will feels the way he does, for that structure in Natalie is fierce.

Will doesn’t want anything to do with her planning and Robert’s murder, which fair enough, but he gets dragged into it, and despite his part in it, he blames Natalie for the actions he does. She got into his head, apparently, and controlled him and he has no responsibility for anything he does. It’s all Natalie.

Did I mention the affair he was having too? Yeah.

And yet, his wimpishness is somewhat compelling for just how useless he is. It is in his interplay with Natalie that he actually comes to life, so to speak. For me at least, this was Natalie’s book and he was the supporting player in it. I am not entirely sure he was as concerned about Charlie as he was about his affair coming out. He left it up to Natalie to take care of him, and didn’t actually do much else.

Now Natalie, isn’t perfect like I said. But still, I admired her ruthlessness in planning everything, in holding it together when things began to fall apart and when Will begins to lose his shit. I admired her too when she actually kept it together in the face of his affair, and focused on Charlie…

Natalie is so much more than Will thinks, or for that matter, readers think, which makes for a HELL of an ending.


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