The Marriage Act by John Marrs, Published by Pan Macmillan, @johnmarrs1 @panmacmillan #dystopian #contemporary #blog #review

From the bestselling author of The One, now an eight-part Netflix series. Set in the same world as The OneThe Marriage Act is a dark, high-concept thriller.

‘One of the most exciting original thriller writers’ Simon Kernick

What if marriage was the law? Dare you disobey?

Britain. The near-future. A right-wing government believes it has the answer to society’s ills – the Sanctity of Marriage Act, which actively encourages marriage as the norm, punishing those who choose to remain single.

But four couples are about to discover just how impossible relationships can be when the government is monitoring every aspect of our personal lives, monitoring every word, every minor disagreement . . . and will use every tool in its arsenal to ensure everyone will love, honour and obey.

Black Mirror meets thriller with a dash of Naomi Alderman’s The Power.

‘Clever, compelling and terrifyingly plausible. A near future nightmare that grips from the first page and never let’s go. The Marriage Act is a brilliant examination of relationships and the power we let others have over us. And talk about a page-turner. This one will leave you with paper cuts! C. J. Tudor, bestselling author of The Chalk Man

“A smart, gripping and scarily believable story from the master of the speculative thriller.”―TM Logan, author of The Curfew and The Holiday

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Macmillan; Main Market edition (19 Jan. 2023)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 496 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 103500125X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1035001255

The Marriage Act by John Marrs is set in a similar time to two of his’ previous books, but what makes this one so unique and so terrifying is a right-wing Government that promotes “happy” marriages with large incentives. Better NHS, better housing, etc., all of which sound beneficial (sound familiar?), but if these marriages are monitored by hearing devices placed strategically all over the house, whatever couples do or say may incite different levels of Government concern, amounting to the possibility of an in-house therapist.

In a desperate attempt to right devastated marriages, this plausible tale involves control in a dystopian landscape. For me this is the perfect medium for abuse. Singletons are forced into a lower and less sustainable existence. Their struggles are frighteningly real, forcing many to consider the love, honour and obey scheme carved out by the The Sanctity of Marriage Act. But for those already choosing to live within this oppressive structure, life isn’t quite so rosy. Think The Handmaid’s Tale meets The One.

The book follows several characters, which may be a little confusing to start with.. Each have secrets and motivations which will ultimately put their place in society at peril. Each have a backstory that allows the reader a hint of how they arrived at their current status and the extreme measures they endured. After filling out a questionnaire, matches are made for individuals. But how will they evade the ears that hear? I can’t imagine such an intrusive society, listening into every aspect of your private life, and where one couple were forced to write conversations on scraps of paper to dodge the Audite.

With a map at the start of the book to orient the reader to regions etc., this is a very well-constructed novel, the type readers have come to expect from John Marrs. The book promises challenges that far outweigh the norm, together with aspects of horror to keep you glued to each page. This is a speed-rap of a story, brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan and John Marrs for allowing me the privilege of reading an advance copy of this fabulous book. A full five stars from me!

About the Author:

John Marrs is an author and former journalist based in London and Northamptonshire. After spending his career interviewing celebrities from the worlds of television, film and music for numerous national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time author. His books include No1 bestseller and Netflix series The One, The Passengers, award winning What Lies Between Us and The Good Samaritan. Follow him at, on Twitter @johnmarrs1, on Instagram and on Facebook at

Other Books by John Marrs

Keep Calm & Write A Book


Writers see the world differently. Every voice we hear, every face we see, every hand we touch could become story fabric. – Buffy Andrews

Ever wondered what makes authors so unique? I have.   

If you know an author, you probably know they see the world through a different lens. Authors have stamina and an ability to adapt to several habitats. They tend to be introverts and at times, socially inept. Their brains tend to fire on several cylinders simultaneously, working on two projects at once, or at the very least, writing two books in tandem. They have markings which help them blend into any given environment and can follow someone without being arrested for stalking. Here’s a brief outline of what makes them so special.

Authors are closely related to psychologists. They study human behavior, dissect mental processes and select reactions to suit any given scenario. They are storytellers who can spin a yarn without drawing breath. Worldwide, there are many subspecies that have flooded the market, causing the most skilled of authors to become endangered. But there are several things that separate excellent authors from their subspecies.



  1. Study: Authors don’t simply watch people. They study them. This is an art form that requires sitting in public places for several hours, observing a target and tuning into his/her conversation. In extreme cases, an author might appear as a disinterested third party with the ultimate aim of picking up dialogue with or without the use of a tape recorder.
  2. Strengths: Authors narrow down behavior patterns and tap into moods. It’s an ability to see and connect the dots, an ability to get into someone else’s head, an ability to fine tune a profile to suit a certain character.
  3. Emotion. Authors empathize, fantasize and scrutinize in a world where most people stagger through each day in a blank haze. They are intuitive, able to soar to euphoric heights one minute and plunge into despair the next. All for the purpose of making their characters convincing.
  4. The Thrill of the Quill. Authors love to take chances and start new projects. It’s the rush of the challenge because their imagination is fueled by raw curiosity. Given the right environment ― a study sealed off from the rest of the house, a coffee shop, a restaurant, a library ― they will excel.
  5. Determination: Authors will edit their work until it’s perfect. They will design, format and learn new tricks without tiring. They will continue writing until they croak. There is no ‘off’ switch for an author. They never shut down.

If any of the above applies, then there’s definitely a story in you. So keep calm and write a book.

All Books

For any of the above books, please find the author links below:

Claire Stibbe

Jean Gill

B.A. Morton

Karen Charlton

Elizabeth Horton-Newton

A Warm Welcome to Margaret K. Johnson

margaretMargaret K Johnson began writing after finishing at Art College to support her career as an artist. Writing quickly replaced painting as her major passion, and these days her canvasses lay neglected in her studio. She is the author of women’s fiction, stage plays and many original fiction readers in various genres for people learning to speak English. Margaret also teaches fiction writing and has an MA in Creative Writing (Scriptwriting) from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Norwich, UK with her partner and their bouncy son and dog.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Claire.

My novel Taming Tom Jones is a contemporary romance, about a woman, Jen, on a mission to save her relationship.

The story starts with Jen discovering she’s pregnant. She’s thrilled about it, but a tad anxious too, because she’s well aware that her partner Michael doesn’t want any more children other than his teenage son, Kyle. She’s also well aware that so far Michael has never stayed in a relationship for longer than four years. As Jen waits at home to break the news, she tries not to dwell on the fact that their own four year anniversary is rapidly approaching, but then Michael comes home on a new motorbike, having traded in his sensible car, and the moment to tell him about the baby is lost.

When Jen decides to embark on a reckless investigation of Michael’s exes which takes her as far afield as North Norfolk and Cuba, she has no idea whether she’s finding out the truth, or even if what she discovers will help to keep her and Michael together as she hopes it will.

Photo by Paul Smith

Photo by Paul Smith

I live in Norfolk in the United Kingdom where much of the book is set, and it’s a beautiful county with a stunning coastline. One critical scene takes place at Winterton-On-Sea on the Norfolk coast. Michael takes Jen there early one morning, and she has no idea why. She only knows – from the reaction of others around her – that something very unusual is about to take place.

Here’s an extract of the scene:

Michael’s watching the conflicting emotions pass over my face. “Come on, Jen,” he says persuasively. “There are already quite a lot of people here. It’ll be too late soon. Come and see. Please. Hannah will be fine.”

Once again, my curiosity’s piqued. What can he want me to see? A wrecked ship? A beached whale? But how could he have arranged either of those things so specifically for nine-thirty on a Friday morning?

He has Hannah in his arms by this time, and her eyes are already closing as he rocks her.

“All right,” I say ungraciously, “but I hope you don’t expect me to walk very far.”

“Just to the dunes; not far.”

Very grudgingly, I begin to walk slowly beside him. “Why’s it so busy here today?” I ask, because normally on a Friday morning during term time I’d only expect a few dog-walkers’ cars to be parked in the car park. It’s different in the summer holidays, but we’re still only in June.

TTJ Cover (2)“Careful!” Michael warns as I half stumble down the step from the beach café terrace. Then he looks away, something distracting him. “Oh, God,” he says. “The TV’s here. They must have had a tip off.”

I turn to look, and sure enough, two men are unloading equipment from a van emblazoned with the logo of our local news programme. “Michael?” I ask. “What’s going on?”

If you want to find out what Jen discovers down on beautiful Winterton-on-sea, or whether Jen is successful in saving her relationship with Michael, you’ll have to read the book!

For more information on Margaret K. Johnson and her books go to

Why not visit Smashwords:

A Warm Welcome to Rumer Haven

Rumer Haven (2)Rumer Haven is probably the most social recluse you could ever meet. When she’s not babbling her fool head off among friends and family, she’s pacified with a good story that she’s reading, writing, or revising—or binge-watching something on Netflix. A former teacher hailing from Chicago, she presently lives in London with her husband and probably a ghost or two. Rumer has always had a penchant for the past and paranormal, which inspires her writing to explore dimensions of time, love, and the soul. She debuted in 2014 with Seven for a Secret (a contemporary/historical romance set in Y2K and 1920s Chicago). Her next novel, What the Clocks Know (a paranormal women’s fiction set in modern and Victorian London), is due for release by Crooked Cat Publishing in early 2016.


7forASecret_FRONT_REV (2)It’s the year 2000, and twenty-four-year-old Kate moves into a new apartment to find a new state of independence in a new millennium. A former 1920s hotel, Camden Court has housed many lonely lives over the decades—and is where a number of them have come to die. They’re not all resting in peace, however, including ninety-year-old Olive, who dropped dead in Kate’s apartment and continues to make her presence known. For Olive has a secret she’s dying to tell, one linking her to the sex, scandal, and sacrifice of a young dreamer named Lon. As the past haunts the present, Kate’s modern-day love life becomes entwined with Lon’s Jazz Age tragedy. 

In the 1920s storyline of Seven for a Secret, two Chicago socialites (Lon Ashby and Eva Hughes) struggle to find love and identity in their opulent, oppressive world. This scene follows Eva as she continues to go through the motions of her milieu after marrying Finlay Redcliffe.

Silver spoons clanked against delicate white china as Eva’s luncheon party cooled their tea in the secluded Palm Court lobby of the Drake Hotel.

The harpist’s flourishing notes helped drown out some of the dull murmuring surrounding her on this All Saint’s Day, but it couldn’t quite cancel out her own little group: her mother, sister, and mother- and sister-in-law.

Drake1 (2)Virgie, Finlay’s older sister, had a high nasally voice and the terrible tendency to end every laugh with a loud hum, serving as some sort of bridge to return her pitch from high to low. Mrs. Redcliffe—the other Mrs. Redcliffe, Finlay’s mother—was similarly affected with the need to place emphasis on the fourth word of every sentence she spoke. Eva sat with impeccable posture, stirring her tea and observing the effect her mother-in-law had on Eva’s own mother, who’d taken to crafting her responses with emphasis on the second word of nearly every sentence.

Ollie, on the other hand, just sat mutely munching through all the cucumber finger sandwiches, back hunched and feet swinging under the table even though she had to lift her knees to keep from skimming the floor. She’d already kicked Virgie once, which Eva hoped was accidental. Nonetheless, Eva touched a white-gloved hand to Ollie’s lap now and then as a signal to rein in her spastic limbs.

“I had the most divine tea last week at the Walnut Room,” Mrs. Redcliffe tittered on. “The cake was exquisite. I am positively certain the recipe still includes brandy.”

“That does sound decadent,” Mrs. Hughes replied. “We must make a point to go down to Marshall Field’s this week, Evie, before the masses descend at Christmastime. It’s most hospitable with its tea rooms.”

Yes, Mother,” Eva said, playing a private game of stressing the first word of her sentences, confident they’d never notice. “I agree. It is the last word in accommodating gentlewomen in this city. Positively charming.”

“Indeed, you are quite right there,” said Mrs. Redcliffe.

“I couldn’t agree more,” said Mrs. Hughes.

Quite unequivocally true,” said Eva.

Drake2 (2)“Ha, ha-ha, ha-ha! Hmmm,” giggle-hummed Virgie. “Charles told me the funniest story that happened in the Men’s Grill Room there recently…”

Ollie chomped on watercress, mentally checked out of the lofty lounge and, Eva knew, roaming the landscape of her even richer imaginary life.

As Virgie told her story, Eva tapped her spoon at the edge of her teacup, watching it flick creamy drops off its egg-shaped bowl. It reflected the glittering lights of the crystal chandeliers overhead, gleaming just like the silver spoons everyone in that room had held in their mouths since birth. Eva wanted to choke on hers.

To learn more about Rumer Haven and her books

Why not visit Rumer at her website:

Book trailer:





The Most Excellent Worldwide Book Tour ~ Rachael L. McIntosh

Author Name:  Rachael L. McIntosh

Book Titles:

Security Through Absurdity

Book One: Little Yellow Stickies

Book Two: Bubbles Will Pop

 Book Three: The Big Show

Genre and Sub-Genre: Contemporary Literature  /  Fiction Political / YA>Fiction>US History>21st century

AUDIENCE : GenX, Young Adult, Conspiracy Curious


Based on a true story

Details of pre- 9/11 defense contracting, the US Housing Collapse, and the 2012 Republican National Convention (fictionalized), Dark Money, Black Budgets

Included school libraries in Rhode Island and Connecticut via RILINK system

Title is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and select bookstores in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Florida. 

Author Bio

untitledRachael L. McIntosh is an accomplished visual artist who also worked for a major US defense contractor during the lead up to the Iraq war. She acted as a national media coordinator during the politically significant December 16, 2007 “Money Bomb”; an online fundraising frenzy that became the largest single-day fundraiser for any political candidate in US history. She has also appeared in the feature length documentary FOR LIBERTY. Currently, she is writing novels and homeschooling her two children in Rhode Island. Visit her website at

Book Blurbs

Security Through Absurdity

Originally written as one book, then divided into three books, SECURITY THROUGH ABSURDITY is the story of corporate shenanigans, an uneasy home life, and a quixotic presidential campaign. These situations propel Jocelyn through a believably bizarre journey and into dangerous psychological territory. In a matrix of life-threatening situations, she is forced to question the very fabric of her Gen-X American upbringing.

untitledBook One: Little Yellow Stickies – Jocelyn McLaren is a beautiful, hard working, yet naive visual artist who, through a twist of fate, ends up working for a major US defense contractor during the lead up to the Iraq war. She unknowingly witnesses and unwittingly participates in crimes that haunt her and are ultimately interlinked with the most nefarious psychopaths on the planet.


untitled2Book Two: Bubbles Will Pop –  Jocelyn McLaren, a former defense contractor, is now a new mother to twins! As she struggles to maintain what she imagines to be a normal family during the economic turmoil of the US housing collapse, she becomes involved in a political campaign and encounters troubling remnants of her life working for the military-industrial complex. These interactions haunt her, as well as the father of her children, and are ultimately interlinked with the most wicked forces on Earth.

untitled3Book Three: The Big Show – “The Big Show,” chronicles Jocelyn McLaren’s involvement with a presidential election. As her history of working for a US defense conglomerate collides with global finance and murder her future becomes increasingly unstable. Will she survive?



By Carolyn Boyce on September 3, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Rachel L McIntosh is now my favorite author. This series of modern historical fiction is very entertaining, funny and timely. I look forward to her next book.


Billie James’s review   Sep 01, 15

5 of 5 stars

This series has three books. The first book “Little Yellow Stickies” is an absorbing look at the defense contractors of America prior to 9/11. The second book “Bubbles Will Pop” is the transition book and “The Big Show” is the culmination.

Jocelyn McLaren is central character and throughout the first book we learn about her role in the defense industry. In the second book she breaks away and in “The Big Show” she breaks into the political scene and becomes involved in a Presidential Election. Throw in thriller seeds like a murder and you’ve got yourself a thriller worth reading.

What I noticed most is that the author has become extremely close to the character of Jocelyn and makes her come alive. I would say that in terms of writing “The Big Show” is probably the best of the three. Read the first two and then make your way to this one for an exciting reading adventure. If you believe in the American dream you may want to stay away from this series though.

Book Links


Twitter: @EntropyPress



Linked In: Rachael McIntosh  Author / Artist / Communications Specialist