EXCERPT: It has finally happened.
The letter arrived on Friday the thirteenth. Not usually a significant date for me – I’m not one of those people who pander to superstitious nonsense – but afterwards, when I had calmed down, it made me pause a moment and wonder.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: The news of her mother’s death hits Nell as if she’s been shot. The letter has to be some kind of prank, but who could be so cruel? After all, Nell’s mother died nearly thirty years ago.
Nell’s parents died when she was a baby, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother, Lilian. So when the lawyer’s letter arrives, informing her of her mother Sarah’s death just the previous month, it destroys everything she thought she knew. Her grandmother loved her, so why did she lie? And why did her mother abandon her?
Returning to the town where she grew up in search of answers, what Nell finds instead only raises more questions. Lilian, now frail and living in sheltered accommodation, refuses to see her, and a hostile cousin she has never heard of is occupying the family home.
Then Nell starts receiving anonymous threats.
Leave here, or you won’t leave alive.
Going back to the family home was meant to help her find the truth. But it’s clear someone has a secret they’ll do anything to keep hidden. Is Nell prepared for what is hiding behind closed doors – or the cost of finding out?
MY THOUGHTS: Lesley Sanderson writes an excellent domestic noir. The only book that I haven’t read by this author is The Orchid Girls, but I recently bought a copy to read.
Her characters are perfectly ordinary people, or are they? On the outside, they are respected members of the community, people who raise money for charity, belong to WI, chair committees. But underneath their public veneer, they love passionately, obsessively, conceal secrets, and tell lies. But is that as far as they would go to keep what they have?
My heart bled for Nell, and for her mother Sarah. Lilian chilled me to the core. Cold hearted and manipulative, Lilian gets what she wants, and keeps what is hers. Sanderson even had me doubting the motives of the supporting characters: Adam, a builder and Lilian’s great-nephew who is carrying out the renovations to Lilian’s home; Jenny who works at the library and befriends Nell (but I am sure that only nice people work in libraries); and Joyce who has, for decades, been Lilian’s housekeeper.
The characters lives intertwine in captivating and unsettling ways, unsuspected connections being revealed as the plot progresses. The story is taut and tightly written in Sanderson’s trademark style. I read this in one sitting, overnight, unable to sleep until this mystery was solved.
‘Lilian always pronounces her name as if it’s something distasteful she’s extracting from a plughole.’
I received this book titled as ‘What We Hide’ – it has since been retitled ‘I Know You Lied.’
THE AUTHOR: Lesley attended the Curtis Brown Creative 6 month novel writing course in 2015/6, and in 2017 The Orchid Girls (then On The Edge) was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish fiction prize.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of I Know You Lied by Lesley Sanderson for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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