Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Alice Feeney’s fantastic debut novel, ‘Sometimes I Lie’. I really didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did! So, keep reading to discover my thoughts…
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 any more
3. Sometimes I lie
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Contains references to mental illness. Contains descriptions of physical and sexual abuse, including a scene of rape. Also includes references to substance abuse, trauma and pregnancy issues.
‘Sometimes I Lie’ is Alice Feeney’s debut novel, and was published on 23rd March 2017. Feeney is a writer and journalist, and has spent many years working with BBC News. She is a Faber Academy graduate from the class of 2016. She has lived in London and Australia, but now lives in Surrey, UK.
The novel has received rave reviews, from the likes of BuzzFeed: “Sometimes I Lie is a rare book, combining helter skelter twists with razor sharp sentences” and Publishers Weekly: “A serpentine tale of betrayal madness and murder”. Many fellow authors have also praised the book, including Clare Mackintosh: “A bold and original voice”, B.A. Paris: “A gripping debut”, Ali Land: “A brilliant thriller” and Kate Hamer: “For fans of twisty, dark thrillers, this is the one”.
‘Sometimes I Lie’ is a claustrophobic, shocking Psychological Thriller all about the ways in which deep-buried secrets can come back to haunt us. The narrative follows the life of Amber Reynolds, who begins the novel in a coma. As the narrative unravels, we travel back in time to that fateful night where everything changed…
The narrative is told in Amber Reynold’s first person, in the form of diary entries. This allows the reader to gain a detailed insight to the protagonist’s thoughts and feelings. We begin in the present (“now” – Boxing Day, December 2016) and then jump back to one week earlier (“then” – 19th December 2016). Both narratives progress consecutively, leading to the night of the accident – Christmas Day, 2016. The novel also includes childhood diary entries from 1991 onwards (“before”), detailing childhood trauma.
Of course, Amber was my favourite character in the novel. She’s a brilliantly-constructed and extremely realistic character. She always tries her best to be a good person, and often puts those around her before herself (her husband, sister etc). She’s hard-working and motivated, attempting to make a career for herself within radio. However, she makes many mistakes, and there is definitely a dark side to her character. She doesn’t ever pretend to be perfect and acknowledges her own flaws, making her an extremely believable and likeable character.
Amber’s husband Paul wasn’t a very likeable character in my opinion. He’s extremely selfish and often isn’t there for Amber, leaving her to fend for herself. He’s secretive and moody, often locking himself away in his shed for hours to write. However, when Amber’s accident occurs, something clicks in him and he becomes a lot more selfless. He’s there for Amber throughout her time in hospital, and it was really heart-warming to read all about the ways in which their broken marriage slowly begins to improve.
Amber’s sister Claire also deserves a special mention. I really disliked her at the beginning of the novel – she’s needy, snobbish and thinks the world revolves around her. Amber does so much for Claire, but Claire never treats her in the same loving way. But it turns out there is so much more to Claire than first meets the eye – she’s a deeply troubled and complex character. Other characters in the novel include: Matthew (Amber’s boss), Madeline (Amber’s rival co-worker), Jo (Amber’s friend), Edward (Amber’s ex-boyfriend) and David (Claire’s husband).
** TRIGGER WARNING ** (I apologise for any spoilers here.) This novel contains references to mental illness, particularly the complex illness OCD. The novel also contains references to childhood trauma – including issues of substance abuse and pregnancy issues. Finally, the novel also depicts scenes of physical and sexual abuse, including a scene of rape. All these issues are dealt with appropriately and sensitively, but if any of the above may trigger a negative response for you, I suggest you skip this book.
All three consecutive narratives motor onwards, all increasing in suspense and tension. The “now” narrative details Amber trying to figure out why she is in a coma and why she doesn’t remember things, the “then” narrative motors onwards to the day of the accident, and the “before” narrative details the grisly events that occurred in the protagonist’s childhood. Amber’s running out of time – she needs to wake up from her coma, and fast.
So, let’s talk about the ending. There’s a really shocking twist near the end of the book which changes everything – I definitely didn’t see that coming! All three consecutive narratives come together in the most astounding way, and all the pieces of the puzzle finally fit. Everything is resolved brilliantly, and I’m so glad that events turned out the way they did. There’s even an “after” section, where we learn about what happens to Amber a few months later (which I really appreciated!)
Overall, I highly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy twisty, complex Psychological Thrillers. This isn’t an easy read and there is a lot of concentration involved on the readers’ part – but I promise that you won’t be disappointed! This book is very hard to fault – but I would say that I would have liked to have had a deeper emotional connection to the book and the characters. An excellent read that I highly recommend to you all!
Happy reading 🙂