Lies She Told came to my attention when it was offered as a September selection for Book of the Month Club, which to my grave disappointment is only available in the US, so I was delighted when I won a copy of it in an Instagram giveaway hosted by Lindsey (@readingbetweenthe___wines).
From the inside cover:
The truth can be darker than fiction.
Liza Cole, a once-successful novelist whose career has seen better days, has one month to write the thriller that could land her back on the bestseller list. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to start a family, but her husband is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. As stresses weigh her down in her professional and personal lives, Liza escapes into writing the chilling exploits of her latest heroine, Beth.
Beth, a new mother, suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she aims to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes what she’s doing, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.
Then, the lines between Liza’s fiction and her reality eerily blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the East River, and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including her own. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.
Lies She Told is narrated in alternating chapters from Liza and then we read a chapter from the romantic suspense book Liza is writing; Holahan showcased just how blurred the lines can become between reality and fiction.
At first, I really enjoyed this alternating narration, but as time went on, I found it really hard to separate the two. During the later stages of the book, I began to get confused between the events in Liza’s life and Beth’s life as certain events were eerily similar, and I’d often pause in reading to think over which events belong to which lady. I imagine this was somewhat intended on the author’s part, in the sense that it showcased brilliantly just how blurred the lines between fiction and reality became, however, I felt I had to concentrate just a little too hard to ensure I was following both these women’s lives accurately as I didn’t want to miss or confuse any key elements that would later dampen the reveal/twist.
However, I was incredibly interested in both these women’s lives and wanted to know how they would both act in the situations they found themselves in. I didn’t find Liza, nor Beth, particularly likable and so despite their unfortunate circumstances, I wasn’t sympathetic to either plight, I wasn’t rooting for them but I was interested to know the outcome. I did find certain elements of the plot predictable, there were a few twists but overall, I feel like I missed out on so much because I was so focused on keeping the lives of these two women separate.
I love the concept of this novel, due to the parallel storylines, this novel succeeded in keeping the reader off-balance throughout; while I loved the concept, this feeling of ‘off-balanced-ness’ prevented me from fully being able to immerse myself in the plot and I feel the dark psychological thrills were then weakened for me as a result of this. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy this novel but to put it simply, this novel was too clever for me, and rather than get caught up in the blurring of lines creating a darker atmosphere and just losing myself in the read, my OCD brain kept trying to separate things. However, I’m confident this book will be a success for the very reasons I struggled with it.