The Liar (Jennifer Wells)

31695382.jpgWhat would you do if you saw a girl in a crowd whose face had the same, identical birthmark as your only child? A child who, nearly ten years ago, you were told died? It’s 1935 and housewife Emma glimpses a face in a crowd – a little girl with a very unique birthmark. Transfixed by the sight of a stranger; Emma becomes convinced that the girl is her long-lost daughter taken from her at birth. There is only one problem: Emma’s daughter is dead. So who is the stranger? THE LIAR follows Emma’s journey as she tries to find out what really happened to her daughter – a journey that unearths secrets from the past and ends in obsession…

The theme of the book might not be entirely original, but I’ve always loved this type of stories. Emma is a thirty-something woman, married to a man she doesn’t really love. She lives tortured by the past: nine years ago, her newborn baby Violet died. But in 1935 she spots a girl with the same birthmark as her daughter. How can it be? Did her daughter really die or could she be alive?

In terms of the structure, the novel is narrated by Emma and the girl, Ruby. Emma tells us about her present struggles trying to reconnect with the girl she thinks is her daughter and, at the same time, she remembers how her life was before the pregnancy (and that is a fascinating story). What I found most curious about Jennifer’s writing is that Ruby starts every chapter saying: “My name is Ruby Brown but… ” You’ll see how that goes 😉

As for the characters, the truth is that the book featured really bad people. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff they did. Particularly, there was a certain detail that was revealed in one of the final chapters… Well, I began to suspect it a couple of chapters before they actually said it and I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to digest. It was both depressing and brilliant (for the sake of the story).

Also, it’s weird and I know they don’t even share the same location (UK vs US) or era (30s vs 60s) but the type of characters and the focus on children made me think of The Education of Dixie Dupree…. Both are amazing reads, although this one doesn’t cover such “heavy” topics.

You might look at the cover and read the blurb and you might not think that this is your typical modern thriller… but I can assure you: fans of psychological thrillers will absolutely love this one. Tell me when you’ve reached the ending.

What I liked the most
This book had one of the greatest third acts ever. The ending left me completely speechless and I wasn’t even expecting to be surprised. I thought this would be a very different kind of story, but it was so much more.

What I didn’t like that much
The book was set in 1935 and 1925, I guess because of the DNA factor. However, as much as I love historical fiction and the beginning of the XX century, I didn’t feel I was reading a story set around those times. I don’t know why, I just felt like it all could have happened now. There was also a section in the middle where my interest decreased a bit, but fortunately, the fabulous ending made up for it.

The Liar is a surprisingly dark and mysterious psychological thriller that just keeps getting better and better.

Other reviews:
Tracy Shephard
Great Historicals

Similar recommendations:
The Education of Dixie Dupree (Donna Everhart)
The Light Between Oceans (ML Stedman)
In Her Wake (Amanda Jennings)

Aria, 2016 – Netgalley

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Published by

Annie

In a past life, I was probably a tortured police detective with a dark and traumatic past. Right now, however, I'm just a twenty-something bookworm who loves listening to old songs and watching 90s movies. I enjoy mystery and crime, southern coming of age stories and historical fiction set in the last century.

20 thoughts on “The Liar (Jennifer Wells)

  1. Lately,you’ve been reading some really awesome books set in that era(historical fiction with some mystery).This does sound great though sad to hear that the era/timeline is not very clear in the story.I’m curious about the big reveal you mentioned.I’ll definitely look out for this one.

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    1. Haha Yes, I’ve also been watching historical shows and movies… but my last read has been Behind Her Eyes… that one was definitely not historical 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve left me very curious about this book. Seems to have a lot of pros, but then a few cons. Love a surprise ending though!

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  3. So was it the narrative or the author’s world building that didn’t quite match up with the era? Just curious? This is a fantastic review and despite and preconceived notions based on the blurb, you have managed to sell me. Now I am dying to know how this one ends!

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  4. You’re good at teasing :p Once again, because of the cover I would never have picked this but it sounds so interesting! I’m particularly curious about the reason behind the beginning of Ruby’s chapters!

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    1. Hahaha I love to do that. It’s because I also dislike those covers, but it’s a pity we miss amazing books just because of that. I think you’d like this one!!!!

      Like

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