Sunday, September 3, 2017

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

Lies She Told is a novel that blurs reality and fiction and adds in two unreliable narrators.  What you get is a thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting for the curtain to whoosh open, revealing the truth.  

Liza Cole is an author who's had a respectable run publishing novels, but now she's stuck, and under a deadline to produce another novel in quick time, or she will probably lose her contract.  She's struggling with infertility; taking hormones and trying desperately to engage her husband in this latest round of treatments.  He's grown distant, and it's no wonder:  his best friend and law partner Nick is missing, and no one has a clue what's happened to him.  

Liza's novel begins to take shape in the form of Beth, a new mother who is also riding the hormone train, and feeling a bit insecure regarding her husband's affections.  As a reader, it took me awhile to get it in my head that Beth was the creation of Liza, and not another character living in Liza's New York reality.  I guess that means Liza has a possible hit novel on her hands, if only she can stick with it! 

 Blurred lines play a big part in the storyline:  headaches, hormones, shady memories--or no memories at all.  Liza's experimental hormone therapy has some seriously bad side effects but she's unwilling to give up what may be her last chance to conceive. She also likes to drink, and that just adds to the uncertainty of Liza's view of the world.  

Beth and Liza's worlds are similar, and as you read you realize they're not only similar, but may be more horribly connected than you thought.  You get bits and pieces of Liza's past colliding with the present, and you can feel her desperation to gain her husband's attention not only through her thoughts, but as reflected in Beth's story.  It's the best writing Liza's done in years, but how far is it from reality?  

I don't want to give anything away, but holy cow even if you figure it out, you just haven't really figured it out.  There's a big twist at the end, and it will keep you thinking about this book long after you're finished.  You'll want to discuss it with others, so make sure you either read it in a book group, or have a friend or two read it.   I haven't read Cate Holahan's first novel, The Widower's Wife, but I'm certainly adding it to my list.  

A big thank you to Crooked Lane for a review copy of this novel.  I would have passed it by in the library or bookstore, but now I've got a great book to recommend.  

Rating:  5/6 for a twisty plot that blurs reality and fiction.  Marital relationships, that "perfect couple", those secrets that sometimes lie down deep, just waiting to pounce.  A thriller folks will gulp down. 

Available in hardcover September 12 in the U.S. Also will be available as an e-book and audio book.  


  1. I LOVE big twists at the end! Gonna add this to my TBR, thanks for the review :)

    1. I think you'll like this one. Wasn't sure what to expect, so what I got was a surprise!