EXCERPT: I follow my mother up the staircase as she takes one step at a time. I notice the muscles tighten in her sinewy arms as she uses the bannisters to pull herself up. The last two years have really taken it out of her. And she’s not as confident on her feet as she used to be. It’s as if she’s afraid that by going faster, she’ll lose her balance and fall backwards. I’m here to catch her if she does.
Most of us at some point in our lives come to terms with the fact that we’ll gradually watch our parents erode before our eyes and there will be nothing we can do to slow it down. I’m no exception. Despite everything that’s happened between Maggie and me, it makes my heart heavy to know there will come a time when I’ll no longer have her here with me. Sometimes I find myself standing at the bottom of her staircase with my eyes closed, listening to her feet pacing the bedroom floorboards and reading aloud from a book. I wonder if she makes her own noise to fill the empty space in her room.
I told her once that she’s like a ghost haunting the house long before she’s dead. She laughed and said she’ll always be watching me, even from beyond the grave. I sensed a hint of malice in her delivery, but strangely, it offered me comfort. Sharing a house with a twisted spirit is better than being alone. Being alone scares me more than anything else in the world.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.
They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.
Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.
But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.
Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies
MY THOUGHTS: What Lies Between Us by John Marrs is, dark, twisted, and breathtaking. Creepy and chilling. Think Flowers in the Attic on steroids.
I have heard mothers say that they would do anything for their children. Meet Maggie. Maggie has sacrificed everything for her daughter Nina. Nina could never understand how much her mother has done for her, because Maggie can never explain why she has done what she has done.
And now Nina keeps her mother chained up in the attic. Maggie has created and nurtured a monster, and now can’t extricate herself from her grip.
Or is everything not quite what it seems? Does Nina indeed have a valid reason for keeping her mother restrained and hidden? Marrs does a masterful job of toying with the reader. I felt for both the women, first one, then the other, sometimes both, sometimes neither. And that ending…it’s a double whammy. When I said that this book is breathtaking, I meant it literally. I am quite sure that I did not breathe right through that ending. John Marrs gives the expression ‘family ties’ a whole new meaning!
If you read only one book this year, make it What Lies Between Us by John Marrs.
‘I think about a quote I read once in a letter written by one of my favourite authors, Charlotte Bronte. ‘I can be on guard against my enemies, but God deliver me from my friends.’ I wonder if that includes family members too?’ – (Nina)
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR: John Marrs is the author of #1 Best Sellers The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, Welcome to Wherever You Are, Her Last Move, The Passengers, The Minders and What Lies Between Us.
The One has been translated into 30 different languages and is to be turned into an eight-part Netflix series starting in autumn 2020.
After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer. (Goodreads.com)
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of What Lies Between Us by John Marrs for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and Goodreads.com