Title: The Lie
Author: Hilary Boyd
Published by: Penguin
Publication date: Nov 2nd 2017
Genre: Romance, Womens Fiction
Romy Claire has just walked out on her thirty year marriage to successful barrister Micheal. Their relationship became strained after Romy receives an anonymous letter pointing accusations at her husband and he flat-out refuses to discuss it’s contents.
I requested The Lie via NetGalley and am very grateful to have been approved to read it in return for an honest review.
For me, books like The Lie are the hardest to review as I had no strong feelings for it either way. I didn’t hate it exactly, but I didn’t like it either. It was just one of those ‘This book is okay and I’ll keep reading it to find out what happens and because I made a contract with NetGalley’ At the end of the book I didn’t feel like my time and efforts were wasted, but I don’t feel the pressing need to find more books by Hilary Boyd, either. The Lie sits firmly in the; this was an okay read, category.
Romy Claire, the main protagonist is torn between her old life and her new one. After leaving her dead-end marriage for a new life in Sussex – where she meets ‘Finch’ her enigmatic love interest – she is unwillingly pulled back to Micheals side where their pasts come to the fore and her new life is torn apart.
What I struggled with throughout The Lie is the incredibility of it all. Romy has only recently left her husband after years of unhappiness and being placed 3rd – behind her husbands work and himself – only to be dragged back to care for him after he suffers from a major health condition. She is just feeling the flutterings of love in her life and she casts it aside because there’s no one else to look after Micheal. This is a man that, at times, she cannot even stand to look at, so great is the rift in their marriage. On top of this The Lie has one of the biggest coincidences in plot that I hurt my head rolling my eyes at it – it just made the whole experience ring hollow it was at this reveal that I felt the urge to stop reading, but because the book was so easy to read I ploughed through and kept giving it second chances.
The blossoming romance between Romy and Finch is well written and enjoyable, but feels a little flat compared to other books of this genre; it’s one of those that feels like an unexplored potential and I found it rather disappointing as a whole. The struggles with Micheal and Finchs step-daughter, Grace keep the romance rocky and the regret and tensions are what carry The Lie. But, it didn’t make me feel much as a reader. There is very little passion to the book and for a romance novel I was expecting it to be a bit more emotion evoking than it was.
The most thought-provoking aspect of The Lie, is the main hook of the story and how someone believes a version of events so easily compared to anothers point of view because they have been with that person for 30+ years. Romy stands firm in her beliefs of Micheal’s character due to having been with him so long, absorbed in his lie. (Not exactly lies like the synopsis had me believe) The slither of doubt in Romy’s mind kept the pages turning and it was interesting to see the change in Romy’s perspective when the truth finally comes out and I found this part the most interesting, but again, I don’t think it was really enough of a story on it’s own to keep me invested throughout the book. I found the answers frightfully vague, too. How far did the accusations actually go? The resolution didn’t feel quite enough for me – with some of Micheals answers and explanations leaving me questioning, rather than leaving me fulfilled.
As I said, I didn’t hate The Lie and there are some positives too – I enjoyed Romy as a lead, she was sensitive and caring and I could relate to her choices as incredulous as they may seem. Just because you’re separated from someone doesn’t mean you stop caring about them. The love she has for her sons felt wonderfully realistic and I enjoyed the time she spent with her family as it was very heart-warming to read about; compared to the coldness surrounding Micheal – I found the scenes where Micheal tried to win Romy back awkward and uncomfortable, but that I suppose is a good thing as it’s unwanted affection – and Finch as a character felt honest and realistic. He is a grieving widower who doesn’t want to rush into a new relationship for fear of guilt over moving on. The Lie itself is nicely written and I enjoyed the slow pace of it.
Overall The Lie was a decent book, but not one that I could recommend whole-heartedly or with any enthusiasm.