Jane hasn’t lived anywhere longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic seaside town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane finally feels like she belongs. She has friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste – two women with seemingly perfect lives . . . and their own secrets behind closed doors.
But then a small incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground causing a rift between them and the other parents of the school. Minor at first but escalating fast, until whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful. It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .
I was quite honest when I reviewed Liane Moriarty’s last book, The Husband’s Secret – I found the first 50 pages a real struggle, and although the rest of the book proved a gripping and fascinating read, it really prevented me loving it. I’m delighted to report that I most definitely had no such problem with her latest Little Lies – it was a page-turner from the very beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.
I enjoyed everything about this book. The structure is so clever – the pivotal event doesn’t occur until near the end of the book, and I was fascinated to follow the development of the characters and their relationships with each other. I quite adored Madeline – certainly feisty and outspoken, but I really felt her pain in her relationship with her daughter, and her anger and whole range of complex feelings towards her ex-husband and his new wife Bonnie. I loved her passion for shoes, and her unshakeable belief that no conversational topic can be more interesting than wrap-around dresses. I also loved her husband, unable to get his head round the wide circle of friends and confusedly talking to other husbands about the wrong subjects. Celeste was beautifully drawn too, along with the complexities of her marriage – and Jane, her wonderful son and her relationship with her parents, together with her background story, quite fascinated me. The children as characters are as well drawn as their parents – and the capacity for cruelty of the protective mothers quite took my breath away. The writing is quite excellent – the dialogue particularly sparkles and crackles.
There are a lot of shocking twists and turns along the way to the book’s climax at the Elvis and Audrey trivia night, and this was one of those rare books that I found it quite impossible to put down, or to get out of my mind when I wasn’t reading. Highly recommended to all.
My thanks to the publishers Penguin Books UK and netgalley for my advance reading e-copy. Little Lies (published as Big Little Lies in the US and Australia) was published in the UK on 31 July.
Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of five previous internationally best selling novels – Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, What Alice Forgot, The Hypnotist’s Love Story and The Husband’s Secret. The Husband’s Secret sold over one million copies in the US alone, and is set to be translated into 35 other languages. CBS Films has acquired the film rights. For more information on the author and her books, visit her excellent website.