3 Sentence Summary
The Golden Couple is the story of therapist Avery and her clients Marissa and Matthew Bishop – who on the surface appear to have the perfect relationship. However, behind their polished veneer, cracks have begun to form in their marriage – resulting in an infidelity that threatens to tear them apart. As Avery becomes embroiled in Marissa and Matthew’s lives, secrets threaten to put them all in danger.
Summary Read Time: Less than 4 minutes
Actual Book Length: 138
First Published in: 2009
Below is the detailed yet quick summary of the book:
The Matt & Marissa Plot
Avery Chambers is a therapist who promises to change her clients’ lives in ten sessions. She lost her license for spying on her clients to gain more insight into their lives.
Avery’s new client Matthew has just been blindsided by his wife Marissa’s confession of infidelity. After their session, Avery spends the night with her boyfriend Derrick. She gets an urgent message from Cameron, a client, whose ex-wife just attempted suicide. Avery warns him not to be drawn in by her again.
Marissa goes into work at Coco, her boutique, and her mind instantly races to the guy she cheated with.
Avery meets Lana, the daughter of Avery’s late husband Paul. Avery confronts some difficult emotions before heading to Matthew and Marissa’s next session. They talk about their families (their son Bennett and Matt’s sister Kiki) and Marissa’s parents. Marissa tries to shrug off the anonymous flower delivery she received at work, but she can’t help feel a little uneasy.
The Big Pharma & Tina’s murder Subplot
After the session, Avery thinks about her client Finley, who had overheard her bosses at a pharma company talking about the deadly side effects of a new drug. Avery offered to call the FDA and anonymously report that the company was hiding this data. Now the company is threatening her.
Marissa tries to investigate the flower delivery but gets nowhere. Then she buys a pregnancy test.
Avery adopts a dog and runs into Skip, a guy she used to date. Skip says he is worried about the guy his “sister” is dating. When she leaves the room Avery finds him snooping in her office.
Marissa and Matt are assigned a date night by Avery. But then Matthew refuses to go, so Marissa has to go alone. She thinks about her best friend Tina, who was killed by their high school teacher.
Unconventional methods of Avery on Bishops
Avery spies on Natalie and then goes to check out the gym where Marissa met her lover. Marissa also goes to the gym and cancels her membership as a sign of good faith to Matt.
When Marissa goes into work, her assistant Polly asks if she can sleep at the store for a few nights. Polly mentions that she saw Marissa’s pregnancy test in the trash. The test was negative.
Avery’s stepdaughter Lana and her new boyfriend Greg come over. But Skyler, Cameron’s ex wife, comes over too and threatens Avery.
Matthew and Marissa have been making good progress in their marriage counseling sessions, much to Avery’s surprise. After their latest session, Matthew goes to work and Marissa deliberately spills wine on the couch, where she cheated on him. Her mystery lover is not a guy from the gym, but someone she’s known for years.
Avery continues to spy on Marissa. She stops by Coco and sees Matthew there talking to Polly. Someone has left Marissa an anonymous note saying “I’m not letting you go.”
Marissa leaves for work and confesses to Avery that her fling was with someone she and Matthew have known for years. She says she can’t tell Matthew, but Avery insists she talk to the guy.
Marissa, annoyed at Polly’s meddling, tells her to take the week off. She then feels bad and goes to Polly’s apartment to speak to her but realizes Polly has lied to her.
What is Skip really up to?
Avery is accosted again by a creepy guy from the pharma company. She wonders how he knew where she’d be and realizes that Skip looked at the appointment book when he was snooping in her office.
Avery is further distressed when someone lets the air out of Lana’s tires. Was it Acelia, the pharma company? Or was it Skyler? Derrick helps her prove it was actually Skyler.
Marissa makes up with Polly, who suggests that she look at the security footage and try to find out who left the note and sent her the flowers.
Marissa looks at the footage and recognizes Ray, a local homeless guy, who said a man asked him to leave the note and gave him gloves, which Marissa recognizes as belonging to her mystery lover.
Avery sends Marissa to surprise Matt at work. Avery goes to Coco. When Polly is distracted, Avery searches her bag and finds the “I’m not letting you go” note that was left for Marissa.
At Matt’s office, Marissa is surprised that he has a new secretary, Renee. Avery follows Polly to a restaurant and at that moment, Matt’s secretary comes to pick up a takeout order for him, as this is his usual place for lunch.
Renee calls looking for Matt late at night, and Marissa is frantic when the hospital calls to say Matt is being treated for assault. Marissa texts Polly, asking her to watch Bennett, and then she heads to the hospital.
Did Avery kill her husband Paul?
Avery gets a letter from the insurance company that they are investigating her husband’s death. An anonymous whistleblower reported that she euthanized him. Avery immediately meets with Marissa and Matt to discuss the situation. Matt says that Polly called and asked to meet with him and then called him when he was in the hospital. Avery resolves to find out the identity of the man Marissa slept with, and also talks to Polly, who watched the security footage and tells Avery about it.
Avery has a new client, Rose, who is actually another plant by Acelia sent to threaten her. Though, Avery is not intimidated and stands her ground against both Rose and Acelia.
The many faces of Skip
Avery goes to see Matt and Marissa, and she meets one of their oldest friends…Skip!?
She is shaken up. She met Skip right after she made the whistleblower call, and now he’s both (a) an old friend of Matt and Marissa, and (b) probably connected to Acelia. Avery is certain that Skip is also (c) Marissa’s mystery lover. Skip has been very busy!
Marissa recalls how she knew Skip and Tina growing up. Skip is (d) connected to Tina! After a night of drinking games, Tina was dead.
Skip meets with Avery and admits to sleeping with Marissa and then sending her to Avery, hoping Avery would get her to leave Matt. Also, Skip is convinced Marissa is pregnant with his baby. Avery confronts Marissa who denies being pregnant.
Matt meets with Avery and tells her about a surprise he’s planning for Marissa. Avery says that he and Marissa need to keep their distance from Skip and Natalie. Matt tells Avery that Tina was in love with Skip.
Marissa goes to Coco to confront Polly and Natalie about the job opening at the company. Polly admits that Natalie told her to apply for the position. Matt calls and tells Marissa he thinks someone broke into his office, so Avery begins to investigate.
She looks into Matt’s father, Chris, and finds out that he has been hanging around with Skip. Chris asked Skip to spy on Avery, which is why Matt gave him a fake alibi for Tina’s murder. Marissa admits to cheating on Matt with Skip, and Matt becomes furious with Avery.
Avery is out running with her dog when she runs into Skip.
What is the ending of the Golden Couple?
The real villain is…MATT!
Marissa is home alone with Matt, desperately trying to win him back. Suddenly, she’s terrified of him. She realizes that Matt knew about Skip all along.
Matt was the one who told Skip that Marissa was pregnant. He injured himself for sympathy. Skip shows up at the house and Matt pulls out a gun.
Meanwhile, Avery also realizes that Matthew had been lying all along and made a plan with Skip. They snuck into the Bishop house together. Skip distracted Matt, then when Matt got ready to shoot Marissa and Skip, Avery shot him first.
Avery asks Skip to befriend Chris, Matt’s father, who works for Acelia. Avery tells Chris that he needs to make the investigation into Paul’s murder go away. It’s not clear why Matt killed Marissa’s friend Tina, but we discuss it in the comments below.