Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Released: June 6th 2017
Received: Goodreads Giveaways
Warning: Animals injured/killed
So can we just take a moment to look at this cover and see just how beautifully designed it is? Go ahead; you can stare at it a bit. I know I did (I know, I’m a sucked for a pretty cover, it’s a weakness of mine).
The Weight of Lies is a complex story, including multiple versions of a set of events as well as including chapters from a book written by one of the characters. It’s full of web upon web of lies, resulting in so many theories about who’s telling the truth or half-truth and who’s flat out lying.
Warnings first: There’s mention of horses being shot, but this never actually happens on scene. One foal does get bit by a snake, but she’ll be ok, just remember that as you read (I got really scared for her a few different times, so I wish I had had somebody that could’ve told me that!).
Meg Ashley doesn’t have the best relationship with her mother. And by that I mean she basically doesn’t have one. Her mother, Frances Ashley is an incredibly famous author, whom even when Meg was a child never really seemed to have time for her. At best she’d drag Meg out for appearances sake, but that was really all the depth their relationship had. It takes a little bit of convincing but Meg finally agrees to write a tell-all book about how her horrible childhood. She decides to also include the story of Doro, a woman whose life has been ruined courtesy of Frances and her books.
How can a book ruin somebody’s life? It turns out it’s pretty easy to do, all you have to do is write a murder mystery based on real events and people, and have one of them be the killer in the book. So that’s exactly what Frances did, only she claimed it wasn’t based on anything in real life and that she never intended for people to go after Doro. For sake of not ruining the ending, I’m not going to say whether or not Frances was lying.
There were a lot of really interesting elements going on with this novel; most of them focusing on lies and deception. We have Meg, who has been lied to for all of her life. She is also lying and keeping things from Doro and Frances about her research into the murder that caused all of this mess. Then there’s Frances, who is lying about many things. Doro is also lying, sometimes through omission and sometimes outright. And that’s just the main cast; many side characters also have their own hidden motives and agendas. It becomes this spiraling mass of lies and confusion. As odd as it may sound, it was actually really fun trying to see through it all and try to figure out the truth alongside Meg.
Another debate Carpenter brings to the table is the discussion of racism. Is Kitten, the book written by Frances, racist, or is it calling out racism? Are Frances and Doro a representation of white savior complex? Some of these answers are made clear at the end, but not all of them.
I’ve spent most of the time talking about lies and deceit, when there’s actually a thriller element to this book. Don’t worry, you will feel concerned for many of the characters at different points. The lack of clarify about the truth just makes it that much more suspenseful. It also adds an element of confusion (who is doing what and why) during pivotal moments – but in a good way.
All in all Weight of Lies was an interesting and thought provoking read. It felt cohesive and wasn’t rushed at all, and gave a satisfactory ending (which is a relief, considering all the mystification throughout).