My enormous thanks to Rosie Margesson at Headline for sending me a copy of The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce in return for an honest review. I was thrilled to receive it as I loved Harriet’s debut Blood Orange and you can see my review of that book here. I was delighted to meet Harriet Tyce at a bookish event that you can read about here, because Blood Orange was one of my Books of the Year in 2019.
Published on 23rd July 2020, The Lies You Told is available for purchase through the links here.
The Lies You Told
Can you tell the truth from the lies?
Sadie loves her daughter and will do anything to keep her safe.
She can’t tell her why they had to leave home so quickly – or why Robin’s father won’t be coming with them to London.
She can’t tell her why she hates being back in her dead mother’s house, with its ivy-covered walls and its poisonous memories.
And she can’t tell her the truth about the school Robin’s set to start at – a school that doesn’t welcome newcomers.
Sadie just wants to get their lives back on track.
But even lies with the best intentions can have deadly consequences…
My Review of The Lies You Told
Coming back to London from America isn’t the panacea Sadie hopes!
What a thoroughly gripping, unpleasant and compelling book The Lies You Told is. I had a horrible feeling of dread throughout so that by the time I’d finished reading it I felt quite wrung out.
I have no idea how Harriet Tyce’s mind works to write like this, but as the plot advances, threads tie up and reveals happen, there’s a sensation of having been taken into a story that begins innocuously enough, before slamming the reader into a twisted and ugly world.
To begin with I wasn’t entirely sure of the pace, but my goodness, having read the book, I understand how that initial slow burn was absolutely essential to the success of the narrative. Indeed, I think The Lies You Told would reward multiple readings fully to appreciate how cleverly it is plotted and written. The structure of the book mirrors the experiences Sadie has, so that the reader is irresistibly involved in the action too.
Characterisation is cracking. Harriet Tyce shines a laser focus on the bitchy, selfish aspirations of the privileged middle classes and the Establishment so that I found myself seething with indignation and anger as I read. Her depiction of motherhood is both entertaining and totally alarming as she illustrates how lives can change as a result of one comment or action and as she blows apart the conventional concept of motherly love. Reading The Lies You Told made me extremely glad that I have never had children of my own. Add in the legal elements, and The Lies You Told becomes a narrative that can be enjoyed on many levels.
The title is so fitting for the book as lies underpin so much of the action. Harriet Tyce manages to get her reader to trust no-one in all aspects of the narrative, making for a dynamic and dramatic story. I can’t say more for fear of spoiling the story, but there’s an awful lot here that resonates with some high profile people and events happening in the world today!
I loved the themes explored in The Lies You Told too. Of course there are relationships considered at many levels, but the professional ones and those between mother and child shine through. With swirling ambition, power, bullying, manipulation, jealousy and deception, The Lies You Told is a book that uncovers the dangers and corruption lurking at the very heart of society.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first began reading The Lies You Told. What I got was a super thriller of a read that kept me gripped. Great stuff.
About Harriet Tyce
Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University before practising as a criminal barrister for the next decade. After having children she left the Bar and completed with distinction an MA in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia. Blood Orange was her first novel.