Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Released: September 12th 2017
Warnings: Fertility issues, childhood sexual abuse
My attention was immediately caught by this beautiful book cover. Consisting of a darker portrait covered by bright (red and white) font – it stands out and grabs one’s attention right from the start. You can tell just by looking at the cover that it’s going to be a mystery or thriller.
Warnings first: Liza (the main character) is having some serious difficulty having a child. Towards the end of the book (spoiler warning!) it’s revealed that this is because of damage caused by sexual abuse when she was a child. Needless to say there’s a lot of heavy subjects in this book that could make certain readers very uncomfortable.
Lies She Told is a psychological thriller told using a book within a book sort of storytelling style. The premise is that the main character, Liza Cole is a mystery writer. Naturally she brings a bit of the life she knows into her works, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. The chapters alternate between Liza’s story, and the story she’s writing (an affair/murder story). It’s very easy to tell which perspective you’re reading from (Liza or Beth) as the font is different for each one. Liza’s story is using a serif font, while Beth’s is sans serif and professional looking (more like what you’d expect when reading a book about to be published).
Lies She Told is a tale that intends to make us question what is real and what is fiction. Liza and Beth’s stories (and even their names) have so many similarities from the start, you quickly find yourself wondering which is coincidence (it does happen) and what it unintentional bleed through from Liza’s subconscious.
Liza is a writer, like I mentioned above. She’s also a wife to a lawyer, and she’s desperately trying to become pregnant (to the point of trying experimental medications). Her husband’s partner in the law firm has gone missing; causing him to be a distracted husband at best. He doesn’t seem very interested in being around Liza, and he certainly shows no interest in having a child with her.
Beth is also married to a lawyer, but she has been lucky enough to have a child without any problems. The problem for her is that her husband is cheating on her; a fact that she’s having trouble dealing with. She wants to confront him, but she doesn’t have the courage to do so. Instead she resorts to drastic measures to resolve the problem and to simultaneously force his hand into telling her the truth.
There are some obvious similarities looking at even the short synopsis I just gave you. There’s many more as well, but seeing as I don’t want to give away the ending of the book that’ll have to do for now. The further along the stories get, the more facts they seem to share. It raises so many questions. How did Liza write that detail into the book, before she was even informed of it? Is it some sort of crazy coincidence? Is something acting out what she’s writing? Or framing her?
I’ll admit I didn’t love the final twist to either story. I feel like there were so many other routes to have taken, as opposed to the one chosen. I don’t want to say it feels lazy, because the author clearly put a lot of work into this book, but it does feel like there was a lacking of forethought. For me it felt like the easy way out, and ultimately that made it lack any real impact.
Despite not loving the ending, I really did enjoy this book. I ended up reading the book (about 300 pages in length) in just a couple of hours. So if you’re looking for a nice book for an afternoon reading session, you really should consider this one.