The Lies We Hide by S.E. Lynes ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for this poignant story. Thank you too Bookouture for the invitation to take part, and to Bookouture and NetGalley for my copy of this book. 

SYNOPSIS:

The truth can set you free, or make you a prisoner…

Thirty years ago, Nicola Watson lived with her parents and older brother in a respectable suburb. At ten years old, she didn’t yet understand why her stomach tightened when she heard her father’s heavy tread as he returned home late at night, or why it made her brother Graham’s stammer get worse, or why one night her mother Carol woke them both, wide-eyed and whispering, and took them out of their home and into the unknown.

Now a successful lawyer in the city, with a life poles apart from her dark beginnings, Nicola has returned home for her mother’s funeral. But as she stands in her mother’s house, remembering the woman who sacrificed everything for her children, Nicola has to confront the guilt she feels for leaving her family behind. And the belief that she played a part in events that led to her brother going to prison for murder.

All Carol wanted to do was protect her children, but escaping her husband was only the beginning of the story. And when Nicola learns the truth of what her mother did, it will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

A gripping, emotional story of family secrets, and the strength of a mother’s love in the darkest times.

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MY REVIEW:

The Lies We Hide is a story about a family trying to make it through the trials and trauma life throws their way. A story about secrets, lies, guilt and forgiveness. Of a mother’s strength and sacrifice to keep her children safe.

The story is told in three timelines: In 1984 Carol flees with her children in the middle of the night after her abusive husband, Ted, tries to kill her. In 1992 Richard is a prison chaplain trying to reach an inmate, Graham, and help lift the heavy burden of guilt he feels. And in 2019 Nicola is grieving their mother, looking back on her life and trying to assuage her own feelings of  guilt. The author effortlessly weaves between these timelines to tell the story of the Watson family and slowly unveil the secrets they’ve kept hidden for decades. 

I loved this book. I’ve heard lots of praise for S.E. Lynes but this is the first time I’ve read one of her books (though shamefully I have four of them sitting on my kindle). I am now one of those singing her praises. Her writing is honest, raw, emotional and captivating. The Lies We Hide deals with a log of difficult subjects such as abuse, addiction and murder, but she handles them all with sensitivity.  

The characters were all well written and it felt like a book made up of troubled and fragmented souls. I liked how nuanced the author wrote them as it made them feel real. Although I expected Nicola to be the main character of this book, she ended up being the member of the Watson family we know least of all. She is telling a story where she’s on the fringes, that she  only learned the details of as she got older, some that she is even finding out as we do. Carol was far from perfect but I liked her most of all. She was a strong, brave woman who would do anything for her children. Leaving an abuser is incredibly hard and for her to flee with nothing but a few things in a bag was courageous. Her struggle to not go back to Ted and to build a new life for her and the kids was true to life and heart-rending. I longed for her to find the happiness she deserved and finally feel free of Ted both inside and out. Ted was a vile, disgusting man who I hated. I could understand why Carol had loved him once and why she found it hard to leave, but he was a perfectly written example of an abusive alcoholic and I was hoping he’d get his just desserts from early on. 

Graham is a mess but my mother’s heart broke for him with all he went through in his young life. I liked that I was able to both be disgusted at how he was acting and want to wrap my arms around him and tell him he’d be okay at the same time. For me, Graham was the character where the author’s writing shone most of all as he had such a richly developed character with so many different parts and was both awful and lovely at the same time. I particularly loved the relationship between him and his chaplain, Richard. There were so many great scenes between them and they got me feeling ALL the emotions at one stage or another. I could vividly picture the two of them in that room during the sessions and I think it was a great choice to have Richard, rather than Graham, tell that part of the story so we got a broader perspective and a chance to see things from the outside.

Secrets and guilt play a huge role in this novel. All our main characters are hiding things, sometimes because they believe it’s best for those we love, and are living with guilt over those secrets and things they’ve done. Experly plotted, the secrets remained hidden even from the reader for most of the book, and showed that this author knows how to surprise you with a great twist.

Spectacularly written, The Lies We Hide is an emotional, captivating, unflinching novel that I would highly recommend. That ending alone was worth reading the book for! I am glad I’ve finally had the pleasure of reading this author’s work and can’t wait to finally read her back catalogue. 

Out now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amazon best selling author of ‘intelligent and haunting’ psychological thrillers VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT, THE PROPOSAL and THE WOMEN. 

S E Lynes is a writer, tutor and mentor. Formerly a BBC producer, she has lived in France, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and now lives in Greater London with her husband, three kids and her dog, Lola. 

Her critically acclaimed debut, VALENTINA, was published by Blackbird Digital Books in July 2016. Her second novel, MOTHER was published by Bookouture in 2017, followed in 2018 by THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL. In August 2018, VALENTINA was published in a new edition by Bookouture and THE WOMEN was released in 2019. Her new novel, the dark and gripping family drama, THE LIES WE HIDE, is published Dec 4th 2019.

Susie Lynes has also published two children’s books in Italy: Il Leopardo Lampo and La Coccodrilla Ingamba, both available at Amazon.it

Find her on:

Facebook S E Lynes Author

Twitter @SELynesAuthor  

The Lies We Hide - Blog tour

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