Hello and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. This post is going to be slightly different to anything I’ve ever written before…it’s a book review! Hope you enjoy it, and happy reading 🙂
‘THE LIE’ by C.L. Taylor
C.L. Taylor’s ‘THE LIE’ has been labelled as “Dark and creepy…a must-read” by The Sun. I stumbled upon this book via Pinterest, and it was described as a book similar to Paula Hawkins’ ‘The Girl On The Train’ (one of my favourites). ‘The Girl On The Train’ captivated me so much and pretty much introduced me to the whole Thriller/Suspense genre, which I wanted to explore in greater detail.
‘THE LIE’ was published in 2015 and is C.L. Taylor’s (Cally Taylor’s) second novel. Her first novel, ‘THE ACCIDENT’, did extremely well and received good reviews. ‘THE LIE’ received similar success upon publishing, reaching Number 5 on the Sunday Times paperback bestseller list. Some big names in writing also reviewed the book: Elizabeth Haynes referred to it as “Claustrophobic and tense, a thrill-ride of a novel that keeps you guessing”, Louise Douglas wrote “Compelling, addictive and wonderfully written” and Rowan Coleman stated “My heart was racing after I finished The Lie. Dark, creepy and full of twists. I loved it.”
‘THE LIE’ immediately hooked me. That’s no exaggeration. After just the first chapter, I was immediately addicted and knew that I’d love this book. The book opens in the present day, in which the protagonist Jane Hughes is working at an animal sanctuary and living in rural Wales. Jane receives a letter at work, stating “I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes.” From that point onwards, I knew there was much more to Jane than first meets the eye, and she obviously has a dark past which has come back to haunt her. To an outsider, Jane does seem to have the perfect life. But it was clear to me, from that first opening chapter, that Jane has some buried secrets which are about to become unearthed.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the plot here – I’d only spoil the book for you! But throughout the novel, suspense builds – sometimes creating such a sense of claustrophobia that I physically couldn’t put the book down. The narrative switches backwards and forwards in time throughout, from the present day, in which Jane is being stalked, to the past, i.e. Emma’s (Jane’s) relationships with her friends Al, Leanne and Daisy, and what happened on their disastrous trip to Nepal. The plot does become quite intricate in places and many new characters become involved, but I didn’t find myself getting lost or confused at all, which is definitely one of C.L. Taylor’s strengths. The constant time switches are extremely clever and well written, and as the past narrative motors on, so does the present narrative, until the two collide and the tension reaches an almighty climax in the final few chapters.
Slowly but surely, the details about the eventful trip to Nepal are revealed. Quite early on (in fact, it’s even in the blurb), it is revealed that only two of the girls return from the trip, but the reader is constantly left wondering what happened. The four girls – Al, Leanne, Daisy and Emma – embark on the trip hoping that it will be the trip of a lifetime. They are all friends from university, who have been close for many years. But the cracks in their friendships are slowly revealed, and the cracks become larger and larger until friendships ultimately shatter. I particularly enjoyed reading about Emma and Daisy’s relationship. The girls appear to be in competition with each other and this is further heightened when they reach Nepal – fighting over men, alcohol and the other girls. Each of the four girls has their own backstories which are revealed, from abusive parents to abortions. Each character is explored in great detail, leaving me with the feeling that I personally knew all of the girls and all their ins and outs.
The trip to Nepal seemed amazing at first, but C.L. Taylor constantly drops subtle hints that there is something or someone there who isn’t quite right. These hints are subtle at first but they build and build, until the reader is able to see what a corrupt place the girls have stumbled upon. Characters like Isaac and Frank, in particular, intrigued me from the very beginning. Every single character in this novel reveals their true colours, and the reader is given an important moral: sometimes the people you trust the most are those who end up betraying you. The events that happen in Nepal change every single one of the girls, either for better or for worse. It is a true exploration of how tragedies affect people.
Betrayal and guilt are particularly prevalent themes in ‘THE LIE’. The fragility of the close friendships are illustrated, leaving me wondering whether some of my personal friendships would survive such atrocities. There were many issues explored throughout that I found myself relating to: alcohol, mental illness, abuse and relationships. I found myself unable to put it down; reading on the train, in bed, on the sofa…just everywhere, all of the time. As both the past and present narratives motored forwards, I found myself more and more engrossed in the story, often retreating to my bedroom in the middle of the day so I could read some more.
The ending was just absolutely immense. Talk about a twist! I was totally shocked and blown away by what happened, and it really was the person I least expected who is found to be stalking Jane in the present day. Both the past and present narratives join in the final few chapters and reach an almighty crescendo, and I truly was surprised by the turn of events. I remember sitting down for a few moments after finishing the final page, and just thinking “wow”. The entire story reaches a troubling closure and the pieces of the puzzle finally come together.
Overall, I absolutely loved every minute of ‘THE LIE’. The story was extremely well written and kept me hooked until the very end, and the twist at the end was just unbelievable. I urge every one of you to check it out, and I’ll definitely be reading C.L. Taylor’s other books in the near future! I loved it so much that this is even going on my “favourites” shelf of my bookshelf.
Happy reading 🙂