23 January 2013

Book Review: The Lies You Told Me by Jessica Ruston

"'I do not know what you have been told about your mother. But I know it cannot be the truth...'  Klara Mortimer never really knew her mother, Sadie, a former model, who left when she was just six years old. All she has is a handful of stories, passed down from the father who raised her. Klara tells herself she has long ago come to terms with her mother's disappearance from her life, but then she receives a note and key from someone who calls themselves 'N.R.'. These lead her to a garage, full of the remnants of her mother's past, and to the diary she kept all those years ago. Within its pages, Klara discovers a woman who doesn't quite match the portrait her father has painstakingly painted for her, and a story that leads her to question everything she thought she knew..."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Lies You Told Me as an eBook now, or pre-order the paperback for its June release.

I have read several of Jessica Ruston's books to date and have really enjoyed them - I find them to be more in the women's fiction genre rather than chick lit, as I find Ruston tackles topics that you don't see much of in chick lit, and her novels are quite gritty as well. The cover for her new book The Lies You Told Me is quite striking - the grey and red combination works really well and I think it looks more like a crime type novel rather than anything else, and it certainly stands out on my bookshelf, simply because it's so different to all of the other book covers on there. The story sounded really interesting, so when I could, I dove straight in and found myself gripped by Klara's story.

Klara Mortimer grew up with just her father, and she was happy with her life. She thought that her mother had died when she was young, and now enjoys her job as university lecturer, is happily married and also has a close relationship with her father. However, when she receives a mysterious letter containing a small key, and a note signed from 'N.R.', Klara begins to wonder if what she knows about her mother is actually true, and sets out to find more. She certainly does that in the form of her mother's diary, but it seems to paint a picture of a woman who doesn't sound like the woman she's grown up hearing about. Which of the versions of her mother is true, and what secrets will Klara unearth about her family's past?

The idea for this story was a great one right from the off, and Ruston wastes no time in getting straight into the plot and getting into the mind of Klara. The book uses 2 types of narrating... we hear Klara's parts of the book from her first person perspective, which really allows you to understand her feelings and the story from her point of view, and also sympathise with her too. Klara is a woman who I think just wanted to be loved, and despite her happy appearance, the loss of her mother does affect everything she does in her adult life, as I do believe it would do in real life. I really liked her a lot, I was intrigued to read her story, and really cared about her happiness, and wanted her to find out something that would make her happy.

The other part of the book was really interesting, and was the diary entries of Klara's mother, Mary. The diaries go back to her youth, when she leaves home to move to London for her modelling career, and the rest of her life in London too. It is fun to read because it's set in a totally different time period, and I feel like Ruston captures this perfectly in her writing, from the actions of the characters, to the descriptions of clothes, and general attitude of the characters within. There's a lot going on in these pages, and a few other characters being introduced too but it was easy to keep up, and I found myself eagerly awaiting the next installment of the diaries to find out what was going to happen next, and how Klara would say it differed from her dad's account of her mother's life!

I didn't think that the ending of the book was obvious at all, and I enjoyed the path that the book took as it unwove it's intricately written story, and revealed to us what happened with Klara, her parents and their pasts. I liked how Ruston writes about Klara's life and her mother's with ease, slipping in and out of the time periods simply, and it really kept my attention as you want to find out what Klara or her mum are going to do next! Ruston's writing is simply brilliant as ever, and I whizzed through the book, it was a really gripping read and I enjoyed every page. It isn't the happiest of stories, you can feel Klara's grief and longing for her mum at times as you read, and you can't help but put yourself in her shoes at times. It's a brilliant read, and I highly recommend it, one of Ruston's best!

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