His name is Michael Carmody. He is a writer and a father. His son is lying in a coma, fighting for his life.
Her name is Lorraine Cheevers. She is an artist and mother. An illicit affair has destroyed her marriage.
Michael is desperate to find the couple who left his son for dead, a victim of a hit and run. Lorraine is desperate to start a new life for her and her daughter.
Michael and Lorraine are about to cross paths – damaged souls, drawn to one another. They don’t know that their lives are already connected. They don’t know the web of lies surrounding them.
They are each searching for the truth. But when they find it, it could destroy them both.
Laura Elliot – do you know, I thought that name was familiar! I’ve just checked my kindle and her two earlier novels, Stolen Child and The Prodigal Sister, caught my eye a while ago, and are both sitting there, awaiting my attention. But now, new book, new publisher – Laura Elliot is now with Bookouture, Fragile Lies is published in trade paperback and for kindle on 13th February, and what an exciting partnership this is going to be. I’ve been totally engrossed in this book for the last couple of days – anyone who likes the same books and writing as I do is just going to love it.
The book starts intriguingly and explosively. An un-named couple are having the latest in a line of illicit overnight stays in an out-of-the-way hotel when the possibility of discovery forces them to flee. The night goes from bad to worse when, following a break-in at their car, they run down the apparent vagrant who stole their goods and leave him where he falls.
The book then changes direction a little, and picks up the story of Lorraine. A successful artist, her life has been blown apart by the breakdown of her marriage, and her grief is palpable as we follow her to her new home in Trebawn, where she spent her childhood summers. Initially unable to do much more than stare out of the window or walk on the beach, boxes still cluttering the house, we watch as she starts to rebuild a life for herself and her daughter, supported by the wonderful community around her. We hear about her childhood – when arguments could be forgotten with a knock on the caravan window the following morning – and about her growing up, with close and fierce friendships and the passion of youth.
Lorraine’s story is interspersed with the thoughts of the distraught father, Michael, sitting at the bedside of his son, waiting – perhaps in vain – for him to come out of the coma in which he was left on the night of the hit-and-run accident. Again, we hear some background to his life – a son used as a pawn by his mother, lives falling apart every bit as painfully. And we feel his desperation to find out who did this dreadful thing to his son.
This is a wonderful character driven story, with the most vividly drawn characters both major and minor. Lorraine hooked me in from the very first encounter, through her efforts to build the relationship with her daughter, equally damaged by the break-up and a typically complex teenager. The author allows us into her head, and we share in her thoughts and emotions. I loved her early story too – her childhood and adult friendships, with Virginia, Razor/Ralph and Adrian at their centre. The author has a real gift for characterisation – Virginia transforms quite perfectly from the “vampire bitch” of her youth into the serene and highly competent business woman, Ralph from singer with a punk band with his edge of dangerousness into the driving force of the advertising agency he runs with Adrian.
But above all, this is a wonderful story incredibly well told, full of secrets, love and illusion, lies and revenge, which will keep you gripped well into the early hours – well, that’s what it did to me anyway! The writing is wonderful – superb descriptions of the settings, dialogue that flows beautifully and realistically, with emotions you feel with all your being, exceptionally well drawn characters, twists and turns and revelations, and an ending that is absolutely perfect.
I’m always wary of “if you liked” comparisons, but I found real parallels with the writing of Liane Moriarty, Lucie Whitehouse and Zoe Heller. The story – although developed in a totally different style and direction – also recalled Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities. But comparisons really aren’t appropriate or necessary, other than in encouraging you to read it – Laura Elliot is a wonderfully talented writer. I’ll most certainly be going back to read her two earlier novels, and am looking forward keenly to seeing what she comes up with next.
My thanks to netgalley and publishers Bookouture for my advance reading e-copy.
Laura Elliot is the author of three novels: Stolen Child and The Prodigal Sister were published by Avon HarperCollins: her new novel, Fragile Lies, will be published in February 2015 by Bookouture. Her books have been widely translated and she has collaborated on a number of high-profile non-fiction books.
Aka June Considine, she is an author of twelve books for children and young adults. Her children’s short stories have been broadcast and have appeared in a number of teenage anthologies.She gives regular workshops on creative writing.She has also worked as a freelance journalist and magazine editor but is now engaged full time in creative writing. She lives in Malahide, Co Dublin, Ireland.
Laura has an excellent website to find out more about the books and their author, is active on Twitter and has a Facebook author page (and, while you’re there, why not follow Bookouture too?).