LYING TO YOU
On her prom night, Jess Tidy accuses her teacher Mark Winters of rape and as she leaves to start a new life in London, he is given a prison sentence. Ten years later, when her mother dies, Jess is forced to come back to her childhood home where Mark has already been released and is also trying to start a new life. But what is the actual truth about that night – who is lying?
Lying to You is a book told from 2 perspectives; Jess Tidy, a troubled girl from a disadvantaged family and Karen Winters, the wife of teacher Mark who has always stood by him and gets through most of her life on a pill-induced haze. Although the narrative switches between them at just the right moments to keep the plot flowing, I didn’t really empathise or care for the characters very much. Although they were both victims of horrible circumstances, the choices they made either in flash-backs or present day made it tricky to sympathise with them. As the main part of the plot was to find out who was lying, there were a lot of scenes that could have played out either way so that you didn’t guess too easily and it could be argued that the ending wasn’t really one definitive answer or the other – both parties were in some way to blame for their decisions.
I did enjoy the premise of Lying to You - I thought the subject matter was interesting and the portrayal of the disadvantaged families living in the village was well described. I think the books main failing was that there was only ever going to be 2 outcomes - Mark has been lying to his wife or Jess has been lying to everyone. As the book makes you flip so often between believing one or the other you are sort of prepared for either version by the end which makes the conclusion a lot less hard-hitting than it should have been. There are a few extra twists hidden in the ending, but these felt a little tacked-on and actually brought up more questions than they answered. The mix of flash-backs, written memoirs and present day action was nicely balanced but it did feel a bit too stretched out in places.
Overall Lying to You has a good premise and well balanced narrative but is let down by unrelatable characters and a conclusion with no real stakes. Thank you to NetGalley and Headline for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.