“My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.”
Is every lie a bad lie? It’s Christmas 2016 and 35-year-old Amber Reynolds is in hospital in a coma. She works on a radio programme called “Coffee Morning” alongside matriarchal presenter Madeline who has been on the show for 20 years. Reminds me of a tiresome show on BBC Radio Scotland, but moving swiftly on…. Amber is aware of everything going on around her but she cannot remember the immediate events prior to her accident, and exactly how she ended up in hospital. Chapter by chapter Amber tries to piece together the sequence of events that led to her coma.
The story is told in first person, alternating chapters from Amber lying in hospital, to the week before her accident, to chapters of extracts from childhood diaries dated 1991. Amber is definitely an unreliable narrator, she is a liar by her own admission, so from the word go you are questioning everything she says. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone is suspicious. Nothing is as it first seems, her husband Paul who is having an affair, her perfect sister Claire, or her monstrous diva of a colleague Madeline. The story becomes more complex and multi layered with every revelation till it completely turns on its head.
That is all I’m going to say about the plot because like all these types of books, the less you know before opening the first page, the more enjoyment you’ll get from the resulting ride. One moment you’re travelling along a fairly well-known road, with a bullish husband, a meek wife and a dodgy affair, the next everything is in question and you roll down the slope not knowing which way is up… or down.
I kept changing my mind over which characters I liked and which I disliked. Alice Feeney has written some very complex characters in this book and I found myself switching back and forth between who I believed in, who I trusted, and what my understanding was of what was happening. The plotting is sublime, the use of the information to flesh out the story while at the same time keeping that tension maintained through what is a fairly long book is no less than an art form.
Sometimes I Lie is a twisted and dark tale of family disharmony. Overall rating four fantastic stars. Thanks to Alice Feeney, Harlequin and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy.