Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Fragile Lies - Laura Elliot

About the book...
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. 

Fragile Lies is a gripping tale of love and betrayal, which will entice fans of Liane Moriarty, Lucie Whitehouse and Jane Shemilt’s Daughter. 

Note: previously published as ‘Deceptions.’ 

About the author...
Laura Elliot is the author of three novels, Stolen Child and The Prodigal Sister,published by Avon HarperCollins. Her 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.

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Laura Elliot's publisher Bookouture in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.

The story begins with a couple, who have checked into a hotel, who are clearly having an affair.  They have to leave the hotel suddenly after catching sight of another couple know to them.  This starts a spiral of events that eventually un-ravel a tale, the depth of which nobody could even begin to guess at.  Taking the reader on a journey that covers some hard hitting subjects - Including drugs, alcoholism, homelessness, single parenthood, violence, accidents, ill health, love, hate, depression and obsessions, culminating with hope and happiness.   At this stage we have no idea who the couple are.  

This is a dark, psychological thriller told both in the present and back to the late teenage years of the main characters.  The author drip feeding us the history which gradually allows the reader to understand who the characters really are and why they behave and react as they do as the story unfolds.

Without question each of the characters evoked a reaction - love them or hate them - I guarantee you'll feel something.  The story revolves around Lorraine, her estranged husband Adrian, cousin and best friend Virginia and Michael whose son is in a coma after an accident.  I particularly felt for Lorraine, her marriage has ended, she's fled London with her teenage daughter Emily back to a remote village in Cornwall that has happy childhood memories, yet it doesn't seem to have brought the peace she expected to allow her to move forward.  

I didn't really warm to either Adrian or Virginia.  Adrian was a player - he knew how to pull Lorraine's strings saying the right thing at the right time to gain favour for himself - his ego and self importance made me want to shake Lorraine and shout 'wake-up' repeatedly.  As for Virginia she really was an out and out cow.  Selfish and self centred from childhood right through to adulthood.  Abusing Lorraine's friendship and lack of confidence time and time again - Lorraine, repeatedly going back for more.

Michael was mainly likeable, vulnerable yet strong despite existing in a living nightmare.  His son was in a coma having been left for dead in a hit and run accident.  There are many more peripheral characters that balance the story and add depth.

I personally don't think it's a problem to dislike characters in a novel, sometimes that's the authors intention - for me I have to feel something, they have to evoke emotions either good or bad.

If I'm honest I did find the first third of this book quite slow going, I didn't dislike the story but wasn't gripped as quickly as I normally am when reading books of a similar genre.  For a time two stories run side by side, that of Lorraine and her estranged family and that of Michael and his. The turning point for me was when Michael becomes more involved in the story and is given a wake-up call about his teenage son by his ex, Jean. Until this point the triangle that was Michael, Jean and Killian their son was quite stereotypical of many estranged families - the child playing one parent off the other.

The whole novel is crafted on tiny lies, each bound together like a spiders web.  As each lie is revealed, the characters have nowhere to hide and a domino like, chain of events unfolds that is both shocking and traumatic, yet at the same time, uplifting and hopeful.  I'm glad I persevered with the story and would encourage everyone to do the same - it's a story that starts on simmer, gradually coming to an energetic boil.  It will grow on you, the more you read. For me it ended up a good novel, that I ended up enjoying far more than I initially thought I would.  I'll be looking to read my next Laura Elliot novel very soon.

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