Today I’m delighted to be sharing my review of Little Liar the new release from Clare Boyd and Bookouture. Thanks to Bookouture for providing an advance copy of the book for review. I’ll be sharing my thoughts just as soon as we’ve taken a look at what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
The perfect family… or the perfect lie?
To the outside world, Gemma Bradley has it all – a doting husband, high-flying career and two delightful kids – but inside the four walls of her tastefully renovated home, she is a mother at her wits’ end who has given too many last warnings and counted to ten too many times.
When a child’s scream pierces the night, Gemma’s neighbour does what anyone would do: she calls the police. She wants to make sure that Rosie, the little girl next door, is safe.
Gemma knows she hasn’t done anything wrong, but the more she fights to defend the family she loves, the more her flawless life begins to crumble around her. Is the carefully guarded secret she’s been keeping suddenly in danger of breaking free?
When Rosie disappears, Gemma thinks she only has herself to blame. That is, until she discovers that Rosie has been keeping dark secrets of her own in a pink plastic diary.
Distraught and terrified, Gemma doesn’t know where to turn. The only thing she knows is that her daughter’s life is in danger…
Little Liar is a heart-in-your-mouth psychological thriller about the people we choose to trust and the secrets we keep behind closed doors. If you loved The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl or anything by B.A. Paris you’ll be totally and utterly gripped.
If ever a book were to cement my feelings on the subject of motherhood and why I just won’t do it, this book is probably it. From the very beginning this book had me on edge and had my lips curling as I watched the action unfold. The whole scenario would be every parent’s worst nightmare and author Clare Boyd has done a brilliant job of recreating a darkness and an utterly tense storyline which it seems impossible for protagonist Gemma to find a way out of.
But where to start with this review? With Gemma, the mother who has the unconditional love of her son, and yet who has an altogether different relationship with her daughter. It is hard, at first, to see why other than the fact that her daughter, Rosie, is very … high-spirited, and perhaps has a few issues that need the help of a psychologist to sort out. Then again, Gemma is a very busy career driven woman who has struggled with being a mother it seems, and the more we learn about her and see what happens, tha harder it is to know how much of her situation is of her own making. It’s hard to be fully sympathetic, however the way in which the who situation seems to turn against her did make me feel for her, my frustration levels rising as those around her failed to see the wood for the trees.
Then there is Mira, the next door neighbour. God that woman. The very definition of nosy neighbour, she thinks she is acting in Rosie’s best interests and yet, as her own story unfolds, you realise that her concerns are not all completely selfless. She is a very complex character but one which I came to dislike a lot. Clare Boyd has played a blinder in the way she has developed this character, the source of some of the biggest gah! moments for me in the book.
And then there is little Rosie. The narrative is littered with sections from her secret diary, ones which as the story progresses become ever more telling and also make the reader feel very conflicted about what is going on. Without this, it is hard to know where the truth ends and the lies begin. There are times when I wanted to scream at the book for Gemma to just break into the sodding diary and yet she never did, respecting her daughter’s boundaries. There are reasons for Rosie acting up but whether they fully justify her actions … well you need to read and judge for yourself. Needless to say Rosie pushes her mother to the limits, to a point where you could perhaps understand, if not forgive it, if Gemma truly were to snap.
The story confronts some very key issues, especially in a world in which child rights and the laws on ‘punishment’ of children are rapidly evolving. Would any behaviour make violence against a child, accidental or otherwise, forgivable? Are we moving into a world where it is guilty until proven innocent when it comes to child welfare. Does the punishment that Gemma faces fit the crime? This book has a kind of personal edge for me and yet part of me still could not believe how easily the police sided with Rosie without any true or clear evidence against Gemma. It certainly makes you think …
This is occasionally a difficult book to read in as much as it will drive you crazy. The actions of all involved suspect and there is not a single character who elicits full sympathy, even though you can feel elements of it for each of the three central characters at some stage. But more than that it is a book which made me angry. Angry because of certain characters behaviour. Angry because people were blind to the truth. Angry because so many secrets had been kept which were unnecessary and exacerbated the issues Gemma and her family were facing. And any book which can get under my skin that much and make me feel that angry … Well it’s a pretty bloody well written story in my eyes.
Little Liar is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Clare lives with her husband and their two daughters in Surrey, where her little green shed at the bottom of the garden provides a haven for her writing life. Before becoming a writer, she enjoyed a career in television, as a researcher in documentaries and then as a script editor in drama at the BBC and Channel Four, where her love of storytelling took hold.
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