Even though, in the grand scheme of things, The Lying Game hasn’t been out that long (six months?), it is one of those books that I felt like I had waited way too long to read when I picked it up. I really enjoyed Ware’s other books and I really wanted to read this one, which, from the blurb and the opening pages, promised to be another winner.
It’s early morning when Isabel gets a text from a childhood friend saying “I need you”. She knows straight away she will go, taking her young daughter with her, as will the other friends who have received the text, because they and the sender share a secret that might just be coming back to haunt them all.
Such a great opening, with the promise of secrets to be revealed. I couldn’t have asked for more. Unfortunately, I feel like I could have asked for a little more from the rest of the book, which just didn’t work for me the way Ware’s other books have. It wasn’t that it was bad, it was just that it was a bit too slow and a bit too “samey”.
The pace I wanted (needed?) wasn’t there for me and, as a result, I ended up flagging as the book went on. I struggled with only hearing Isabel’s voice because, as unreliable as she was (something I love in my characters) she just wasn’t that interesting. I would much rather have heard from the other characters too. I think this would have broken up the book a bit for me and added a tension that was just missing. I really wanted to care and keep guessing what the deep, dark, secret was but I just couldn’t.
Terrible as it sounds, I found myself turning pages not to find out what happened next but to get to the end. I was disappointed. But maybe I had just had too many high hopes and expectations of the book? It doesn’t happen and I was expecting great things. It’s left me feeling a bit flat, though I know the book wasn’t all bad. Ware writes really well, she just couldn’t engage me this time around and there were still things that made me go “ahhhh, interesting”, just not enough.
I know others have loved this book but I just couldn’t. Sorry!
About the book…
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Publication date: 15th June, 2017
Number of pages: 384