The Lies She Told

A fun exploration of extreme behaviour from the perspective of those who think it’s perfectly justified.

Book title

The Lies She Told

Author

Paula Johnston

Standalone or series

Standalone

First time reading this author?

Yes

Why I picked this

It sounded like an interesting idea for a story.

Review copy or purchase

Thank you to the author and Insta Book Tours for the gifted e-book as part of a blog tour. This is an honest and voluntary review.

What it’s about

Karly has been in a relationship with the man of her dreams for 10 years, but they’ve never met. She knows if they could just be together in person he’d realise that he doesn’t need anyone else – the only problem is he’s married, but that’s not an obstacle Karly is going to let get in her way for long.

Review

There’s a real joy in an antihero story, getting to see inside the mind and motivations of someone who is doing objectively the wrong thing, but learning sympathy for them. That’s the opportunity the author offers us in The Lies She Told – the chance to look at not just one person’s perspective, but that of other people involved in what is a very toxic set of circumstances.

We start with Karly. She’s developed an online, text and phone relationship with Jacob. They live at opposite sides of the country and have never met, but over the course of 10 years in and out of other relationships Jacob has had, they’ve stayed in touch. Karly believes what she has with Jacob is real, and that one day he’ll realise that. But, his latest girlfriend, Lauren, became his wife and while Karly admits that she behaves like an addict when it comes to him, she does believe that all that’s needed is for Jacob to come to his senses and realise that the reason he continues to contact Karly is because their’s is the real relationship and his marriage to Lauren is just a passing fad.

For Jacob, unsurprisingly, his chats with Karly are just a massive ego boost, and his only small sign of sense is his self-preservation kicking in to make sure that he never tells Karly exactly where he lives. Karly does know who his wife is, and when information is posted on Lauren’s Facebook page showing that she’s going on holiday for a girls only trip and leaving Jacob at home, Karly leaps at the chance to show Jacob what he really needs.

I found this a really interesting story. It reminded me of Charlotte Levin’s If I Can’t Have You, which I absolutely loved. That opportunity to explore the mindset of someone who appears able to achieve quite high levels of self-delusion, justifying more and more extreme acts of stalking and invasion of privacy for what they believe are the right reasons, is really fascinating.

As the book cover says – there are three sides to every story his, hers, the truth. That means we get to see first person perspectives from Karly and Jacob, and later from Jacob’s wife Lauren. Unfortunately that’s the section that didn’t work as well for me. In trying to show Lauren’s perspective on incidents we’d already seen from Karly and Jacob’s point of view the book began to feel repetitive. It didn’t take many examples to get the point that the author was trying to get across, and I felt the later part of the story really dragged because of it. It also reduced the impact of the climax of the story, and when the ‘truth’ is finally revealed it wasn’t as shocking as it would have been if I’d been as invested in what was happening as I was during the Karly and Jacob sections.

A decent story, and perfect for people who enjoy seeing all perspectives. If you enjoy companion books which change the perspective of a story you already know (ie Midnight Sun by Stephenie Myer or Grey By EL James) then this is definitely worth checking out as you’ll get that experience all in one book.

Rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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