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Book Review: The Lie by C.L.Taylor


I came across The Lie by C.L Taylor when I was browsing Amazon looking for my holiday reads. The blurb read: I know your name's not really Jane Hughes . . . Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She's happier than she's ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist. With one click, it was on my kindle and all ready for the sunny climes of Tenerife. It was exactly what I like in a holiday read: a fast paced page turner. I devoured it in a day with a few strawberry daiquiris whilst lounging around the pool. The protagonist in the present leads quite a mundane life under the false identity of Jane Hughes. Her ‘new’ idyllic life is a carefully woven tapestry she has created in a desperate attempt to bury the secrets of her past. But her past refuses to stay dead. Jane receives an ominous letter from someone claiming to know the truth about her identity and so begins the unravelling of a nail biting tale of friendship and the darkness of the human condition. The narrative is nicely planned to allow for seamless links to the past and the story of what happened when the four friends went on the 'holiday of a lifetime' to Nepal. The penultimate leg of their adventure is the retreat of Ekanta Yatra situated in the Anna Purna mountain range where they plan to swim in the river, read and relax. Sounds sublime doesn’t it? Their dream holiday soon turns into a nightmare as the truth about the retreat unfolds. Due to torrential rains making the descent treacherous, the travellers are trapped at the lodge as things take a sinister turn. Yoga and meditation give way to torture and murder under the watchful eye of Isaac, the cult leader. The notion of how people react to isolation from civilisation has been explored by many authors and continues to fascinate both writers and readers alike. The Lie, like many books before it, comes to the conclusion that once the constraints of societal expectations and conventions are stripped away, the truth of the human soul is dark and twisted. As well as a physical journey, the girls also learn a lot about themselves and about each other, ultimately destroying their friendship forever. I think that the characters appear realistic because they are imperfect and, at times, really unlikeable. Even the protagonist appears a little needy and irritating, which is a welcome break from the perfectly flawless characters we often meet in novels. Despite her shortcomings, as the story draws to a tense climax, the reader is rooting for a happy ending for Jane. You will have to read the book to see if she gets it or if her past will poison her future.


Written by Lucy Brighton


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