Monday 5 July 2021

Review | The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry

Published by Penguin on June 24, 2021

The Lies We Tell is a truly thought-provoking novel about a mother’s love and the lengths a parent would go to to protect their child. Jane Corry has delivered an interesting novel which had me questioning morals and wondering what I would do if I was one of the characters in this book. I enjoy books with a story that really gets under my skin and this one sure did.

Sarah and Tom tried for a long time to have a baby. After several miscarriages, they finally had a beautiful baby boy, Freddie. Many years later and he is in the teenage phase of keeping secrets, stopping out late and causing his parents plenty of stress and headaches. Whilst Tom struggles to maintain a good relationship with his son, Sarah dotes on Freddie, but when he returns home in the middle of the night with a shocking confession, everything changes for this dysfunctional family.

Story wise, this book was not entirely what I expected. The aftermath of Freddie’s confession comes, mostly, a lot later in the book than I thought it would. Before this, we get a thorough and fascinating insight into Sarah and Tom, how they met and how their relationship has developed up until the day Freddie turns their lives upside down.

Though The Lies We Tell was more of a slowburner as far as the drama was concerned, I found myself hooked from the first few chapters. Sarah and Tom were such an unlikely couple and even though I was dying to learn more about what Freddie had done, I was still invested in the character building. As Jane Corry asks the question of whether a parent should shoulder the blame if their child commits a terrible crime, the insight into the parents here helped develop the tension. As we learn about the upbringings of Sarah and Tom, and the mistakes they have made in their lives, it would be easy to blame them, but would it be fair?

This would definitely make a compelling book club read as it brings up many questions and I’m sure a lot of readers would have different answers as far as what they would do if they were Sarah or Tom. Even Sarah and Tom had completely different ideas about this, and potentially they had regrets about their own stance come the end of the novel.

Whilst I found the first half of this book intriguing, and it did keep me reading, mostly I just wanted to get to the second part. A lot of time is spent on the past – how Sarah and Tom met and the troubles they faced in their relationship. What I really wanted to read about was what Freddie had done, and what his parents would do in the aftermath. I can say it was worth the wait to get there. I loved the second half of the book. It was tense and gripping with lots of twisty reveals that had me engrossed and never quite sure what would happen next.

The Lies We Tell had plenty of depth to it with convincing characterisation and a feeling of unease throughout. Jane Corry looks at the nuances of maintaining a healthy and happy marriage and family, and how trust and loyalty play their part. I would definitely recommend the read and I’m looking forward to reading the other books this author has written.

Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review.    

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