I ventured outside of Romance this week and took a ride with a psychopath…
The Lies We Told by Camilla Way
Released: October 9, 2018
In The Lies We Told, we alternate between the past and present. In the past, we meet Beth and Doug who are realizing that their young daughter is showing some very obvious signs of being a psychopath. She’s bullied kids at school, killed her mother’s precious pet bird (leaving the bird’s head on the pillow next to Beth while she slept), started a fire in a room while at daycare, and pushed her younger brother Toby down the stairs. All with no sense of remorse. Beth knows that something is terribly wrong, but visits with child psychologists do not provide any answers. Then, almost overnight, Hannah’s demeanor changes and for a time Beth and Doug think that perhaps Hannah has turned a corner and they breathe easy for a while. They’ll soon learn how very wrong they were.
In the present, we meet Clara and Luke, a young couple in love who have recently moved in together. Other than a weird upstairs neighbor who often blasts her music, Clara and Luke are in a really good place. Until one morning when Clara wakes to find that Luke never came home. She immediately tries to call him only to find his cell phone in the apartment. He’d had a very important meeting at work that day and it was completely unlike him to do anything that would jeopardize his job. When she begins to call friends and realizes no one has heard from him, she’s sure that something has happened to him. She goes to the police who are less than helpful until she shares information with them about soem threatening emails she finds on Luke’s laptop. Leaning that puts a whole new light on Luke’s disappearance, and they begin to investigate in earnest.
The story then unfolds, bouncing back and forth between the past and present so that the reader can begin to form their own conclusions and theories about what may have happened, who the bad guy is and how all these characters are connected. This is what I love about this genre. Trying to connect the dots, find the connections between the characters and attempt to figure out the mystery as the author tells her story.
I was totally drawn in. The character of Hannah had my skin crawling even as I was fascinated with her. As secrets and lies are revealed, it was easy to conclude that there was so much more to what was going on and that there was going to be some point where past and the present would intersect and collide. I was all in as I read through and just when I thought all had been revealed and maybe finally these poor people could get on with their lives, the author reveals one…more….thing…and then the story ends.
This was not okay with me. Perhaps this is the way of this genre, leaving a story open ended, causing the reader to question the whole freaking book, but whatever, I don’t like it. Not quite a cliffhanger, because there are some definite conclusions-but we are left hanging nonetheless. Still, I have to give props to this author for the way she weaved the story and brought it all together. I had to sit back and remove my being pissed at how the book ends from the equation, because the story is well thought out and keeps the reader engaged throughout. Additionally, there were two things that happened that didn’t quite make sense to me, but to reveal them would be a bit spoilery. I believe they may have been plot devices. One to cause the reader to question Luke’s personal character and the other to perhaps prove a point where Beth is concerned. I wish this particular item had been explored as we lose sight of Beth in the second half. I only mention because they do affect my overall feelings toward the story.
Come back next week when I’ll review Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor. This story spans three generations of a family with an interesting secret that affects one young woman’s life forever. I had to create a family tree as I read to keep the characters straight. Goodreads places this book in the romance genre, but there is a hint of mystery throughout which I liked.