Character study

Who are Jake and Alice Callahan?

Michelle Richmond, author of The Marriage Pact, introduces Jake and Alice, the intriguing couple at the heart of the book

Who is Jake Callahan?

Jake Callahan is a modern husband. He adores his attorney wife, Alice, and he believes that marriages should be an equal partnership. When she works late (which she often does), he cooks dinner for her. If she’s stuck at the office, he might even drive there to bring her a sandwich and a beer. As a therapist, he believes in talking things out. Sometimes, he wishes Alice was less guarded, but he also likes the fact that she is, in many ways, a mystery to him.

Jake believes marriage is a balancing act. He might, on occasion, be persuaded to go along with something he feels wary about if it’s important to Alice. Take The Pact, for example. When she decides to go all in, he does, too. Because there’s one thing he wants more than anything else: to keep Alice. To not let her get away.

He’s always imagined she might do just that—get away. It’s not easy to get to know Alice. She puts up barriers. But Jake crashed past those, and did something her previous lovers couldn’t: he got her to make a commitment. To him. This woman who thought she wasn’t quite marriage material married him. He is very much in love.

Okay, maybe there are a few things he holds back from his wife. Doesn’t everyone? Sometimes omissions are necessary to keep the peace. Little white lies, nothing more. He’s certain she does the same thing.

Jake’s desire to truly understand what motivates others is what makes him so good at his job. With his teenaged clients, he knows he’s doing the right thing. He knows how to get them talking, how to help them through their traumas—especially their parents’ divorces. The adults are a bit more difficult. As a marriage therapist, he usually knows the right questions to ask, but he’d be the first to admit he doesn’t have all the answers. Especially when it comes to his own marriage. How is he supposed to save other people’s marriages, when he can’t save his own?

And what about Alice?

After several years living the life of a musician, Alice wanted to turn her life around. She was ready to get serious, get a real job, act like an adult. So she enrolled in law school.

It was during this transitional phase in her life, when Alice was slowly becoming someone else, that she met Jake. Jake was smart and kind, masculine without being macho. She felt safe with him. She never thought she would get married, but when he asked her, it just made sense. She could make a life with this man, she realized.

Alice loves the law. She enjoys working complex cases, fitting the puzzle pieces together. If, at times, work takes over her life, she rationalises that she isn’t alone in sometimes prioritising it over her marriage; Jake’s work is just as important to him. Although hers is more demanding, she expects him to understand. And he does, for the most part. As it turns out, The Pact is less forgiving.

Sometimes Alice thinks about that day—the day she invited Finnegan to their wedding. And she thinks about the gift that showed up at their door a few days later - the invitation to join The Pact. It seemed so surreal, to be offered entrance to such an exclusive organization, to be wooed by a legend in the music industry, who she has admired since she was a teenager.

Who knew a simple invitation could have such devastating consequences?

More about the author

The Marriage Pact

Michelle Richmond



First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes your first big mistake.

How far are you willing to go for the perfect relationship?

Newlyweds Jake and Alice are offered a mysterious wedding gift - membership of a club which promises its couples will never divorce.

Signing The Pact seems the start to a perfect marriage.

Until one of them breaks the rules.

The marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Because The Pact is for life.

And its members will do anything to make sure no one leaves . . .

'A pacey page-turner of a novel' Richard & Judy Book Club

'A brilliant premise . . . tautly plotted and deftly written' J P Delaney

'Ranks with Gone Girl' Joseph Finder

'Beware. This will keep you up all night' Lisa Gardner

'You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough' Paula Daly

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