Monday, 2 May 2016
After the Lie - Kerry Fisher - wonderful writing
What an absolutely BRILLIANT read! Oh Gosh I wish I hadn’t finished it so quickly, then I’d still have more of it to look forward to.
This book bridges the gap between romantic fiction family drama, and twisty psychological roller coaster perfectly. It’s beautiful, almost lyrical prose, of profound emotion laced with gentle humour reminded me of two books I completely adore – The Husband’s secret by Liane Moriarty and One plus One by Jojo Moyes.
Which bushel has this author been hiding her light under until now? Her writing style is sheer perfection, this book gripped me like Velcro from the very start and completely enthralled and entertained me right the way through, with multitudes of wonderful thought processes and little asides which allowed me to climb right inside the head of the narrator and live this book along with her.
It is a family based romantic drama with lots of secrets and lies and getting found outs and “OMG don’t do that” moments followed by “Sighhhh - How are you going to put that one right then?”
The main protagonist is Lydia who tells the story. She has a successful event planning business and occasionally helps her husband promote his Upmarket kitchen fitting business. Lydia lives a nice steady life with her hard working and loyal husband Mark, their two teenage kids Izzy, thirteen and Jamie 16, not forgetting Mabel the family dog who wags and bounds her way through the book with a smile on her face and a dead rabbit hanging from her mouth! The kids are her life and alos the bane of it, typical teenagers Lydia is determined she will always do her very best for them but life keeps sneaking in the way and suddenly, they don’t want to be mothered any more and begin communicating in shrugs and sullen grimaces.
It’s not a jet set lifestyle but it’s a good one and Lydia’s pretty content with the life she’s spent 30 years carefully building, carefully keeping some things hidden which she can never, ever, tell without changing the way everyone thinks of her, she’s adept at deception and keeping thigs under wraps from her husband and children and only occasionally wishes she could break out of her placid mould and be someone a little wilder and more exciting.
Her parents have helped construct the lie she’s living. Her father has a certain fragility she always has to be careful of not shattering. Lydias mother is a dreadful snob, a merciless social climber. In parts of the book I hated her with a passion, at other times I was merely exasperated at her intractibilty. (Of all the things this woman does the one I find it utterly impossible to forgive her for is Tripod, read it, I’m sure you’ll understand)
Even at 43 years old, Lydias birthday brings a gift her mother thinks is socially fitting but never reflects her daughters actual tastes or needs. The only thing they have in common is a
liking for a nice slice of cake and a desire to keep everything on an even keel and never even between just the 2 of them, mention “that awful carry on” from Lydias teenage years, which lies festering beneath everything.
Lydias skills at event organising, despite having mostly been used for planning unique weddings, are seized upon by the school Rugby club fundraising committee and she suddenly finds herself railroaded into helping promote money making for a new clubhouse, when a face from the past turns up and brings memories and secrets she thought were buried right back to the surface and leaves her shaken and shattered.
It would only take one sentence to blow apart the carefully constructed Surrey life she has built and when everything seems about to split open she begins a whole new level of deceit, as if things aren’t already complicated enough, with untruths, deceit and secrets galore. She makes some really ill-advised decisions, but isn’t that exactly what makes us human?
Her whole sense of self is threatened and suddenly she begins to become a different kind of Lydia, one she likes even less than the controlled calm Lydia she has cultivated over the years. She suddenly acts out of character or is she just reverting to type?.
The characters within these pages are just fabulous and so very realistic, there have been some awful things happened in her past but Lydias voice comes through strong and loud and just as though you are really party to her inner thoughts, there are some laugh out loud moments, especially around the kids and especially Mabel the lovable and irrepressible dog who comes a close second to my favourite literary canine companion ever, Norman the flatulent hound from the previously mentioned book One plus One.
Her descriptions and thoughts are just brilliant, when the kids are behaving suspiciously innocently she thinks to herself “the last time Jamie behaved like this, was when he received a detention for imitating the geography teacher when a wasp flew up her skirt” !!
We discover the main part of her secret about 30% in to the book but there are further revelations, more secrets to hide and life continues to throw dung at Lydia until you’re not quite sure if she can take any more.
Wonderful, wonderful book – just perfect. If you like either of the books I compared this to above, or if you enjoy books by Amanda Prowse who has a similar heartfelt style of narration you'll love this one.
My thanks to Netgalley and the wonderful folk at Bookouture for my advance copy for reviewing.
An addictive and gripping read about love, life and living a lie.
One little lie can make one big difference …
Lydia has the ‘right’ kind of friends, her children are at the ‘right’ kind of school and she’s married to the ‘right’ sort of man – kind, steady, reliable Mark. Her wedding business is flourishing and even though she is at loggerheads with her mother, she couldn’t ask for anything more from life.
But the truth is that Lydia has been lucky. She has been living a lie for years and Mark has no idea who he is really married to. But nothing lasts forever and the past has a funny way of catching up with the present. When the person who knows all of Lydia’s dark little secrets turns up at the school gates, his presence threatens to blow Lydia’s life apart.
What is Lydia’s terrible truth? Once the secret is out, you can’t put it back …