Missing Boyfriend and Family Secrets- Review of The Lies We Told
Publication Date: October 9th, 2018
Page Count: 336
Why I Picked It Up: This was my Book of the Month pick for October 2018- Liberty Hardy chose it and I basically always give anything she recommends a chance.
Synopsis: From Amazon: A daughter- Beth has always known there was something strange about her daughter, Hannah. The lack of emotion, the disturbing behavior, the apparent delight in hurting others...Sometimes Beth is scared of her and what she could be capable of. A son- Luke comes from the perfect family, with the perfect parents. But one day, he disappears without a trace, and his girlfriend, Clara, is desperate to discover what has happened to him. A life built on lies- As Clara digs into the past, she realizes that no family is truly perfect, and uncovers a link between Luke's long-lost sister and a strange girl named Hannah. Now Luke's life is in danger because of the lies once told and the secrets once kept. Can Clara find him before it's too late?
Opening Sentence: “At first I mistook the severed head for something else.”
My Thoughts: The Lies We Told is a psychological thriller that’s been all around social media. Luke and Clara are a good couple, a happy couple, until one day Luke goes missing. Clara thought she knew her man, but the more research she does into his disappearance, the more surprises she finds. In an alternative timeline, Beth is struggling to connect with her daughter, Hannah. Not only are they not connecting, she’s genuinely afraid of her. Her husband thinks shes overreacting, but she knows the things she’s seeing in her daughter are not normal.
This was a slow-burn. Initially, I had trouble connecting with either of the story lines. I didn’t particularly love Clara as a main character- there were points where I found myself actively getting irritated with her- but I was propelled to keep reading because I wanted to see how the two groups of characters would intersect. (And happily- they did in a very satisfying way). I was also initially skeptical of the “evil Hannah” story line, because I typically don't vibe with inherently evil children. However, this worked. We got to hear about Hannah’s history that helped me get some more insight into her motivation. (No We Need to Talk About Kevin situation here.) I thought it was interesting that Luke was such a central character but that we only learn about him from the people around him. Pay attention to the clues- the author does give the reader some hints, but there are some well disguised red herrings thrown in as well. If you’re the type of reader that likes to uncover the mystery for yourself, you have a chance of getting there. (I nearly never accurately predict the endings and I usually don’t try.) There were a lot of characters and it took a bit for me to get them all straight in my head. This wasn’t necessarily a fast paced read, but it does make my “good” thriller list because it was clever. The effort to follow along was worth it. About 60% of the way through we get a big bombshell- it literally made me clap out loud because I was delighted at the connection. Be for-warned- these characters are not likable. It seemed like everyone had something to atone for, but it was fun to see everyone come clean. I also really liked the ending. The last few chapters solidified the book for me and I would definitely give this author another chance.
Read Alike: No specific title came to mind, but this would work well for fans of Fiona Barton, Clare Macintosh, and BA Paris
TL:DR: If you like character driven British thrillers set in London with alternating time points, then you will probably like this.
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