The Lie - CL Taylor - tense and toxic
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She's happier than she's ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.
Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won't stop until they've destroyed Jane and everything she loves...
This exciting and fast paced chiller, focussing on toxic friendships, kept me glued to the storyline and turning the pages well into the night.
It's a dual time story, I DO love this kind of book, although the 2 storylines are set over a relatively short period, now, and 5 years ago. I must admit I liked the now part best of the 2 and wish there had been a little more of the storyline set in the present, but the main focus is on the past as there was so much going on, it gets quite frantic in some parts.
Take 4 girls, friends since university, all really different, all in their own ways flawed by their pasts and their own personality failings. Send them off on holiday together, to somewhere remote and frankly weird, and you're just asking for clashes and fallings out. But this goes far beyond a few arguments over the sun tan lotion, this leads to a terrible cataclysm, which none of them could have foreseen.
First we meet Jane who has a job she loves, working in an animal sanctuary, she has a great relationship with her fella and things are going well – but she hasn’t always been Jane, 5 years ago she was Emma and when she was Emma something happened which she just wants to forget about and move on – hence the name change, but someone won’t let sleeping dogs lie and she begins to be haunted by cruel texts and messages taunting her and threatening to blow her cozy world apart.
Back when she is Emma, her friends are Daisy, rich privileged, pretty Daisy who has always been there when Emma needs some moral support.
Al, recently broken up from a long term gay relationship, hurt and bitter.
And Leanne, part of this group of 4 girls, who Emma feels the least kinship with, bubbly and exciteable she can be rather pushy.
Ostensibly to help Al recover from her broken heart, the group plan a holiday and instead of their usual beach, booze and party shindig end up going to a mountain retreat in Nepal, only to discover that what should be the holiday of a lifetime begins to turn sour very rapidly.
It was extremely hard to warm to any of these women, I just kept thinking "Thank goodness they're not in my social group" there wasn't one of them I had much sympathy for, not even the main protagonist really I just wanted to give her a good shake to and ask her WHY for heavens sake, are you friends with these complete wasters? I think they all treated her and each other despicably, which formed the main point of the story but didn't sit easily with me. There’s a lot of bullying and sheer nastiness goes on and I'd have ditched each and every one of them before it got this far!
The storyline, however difficult to relate to, just kept me entertained and interested all the way through and I enjoyed this tense, dark, mysterious novel almost as much as the authors outstanding debut novel “The Accident”