Friday, 22 October 2010

Book Review: The Perfect Lie by Emily Barr.

Product details:
Publisher: Headline
Paperback, 320 pages.
Release date: May 13th 2010.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: Adult Fiction.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

For Lucy Riddick, Venice has always been the dream destination. A dream inspired by the pretty picture pinned to her mother’s kitchen wall. To Lucy, Venice seems the ideal place to lose herself. And now she needs to do just that. The secret she’s been keeping from her boyfriend and her friends has finally caught up with her and Lucy needs to disappear – and fast. There’s no better time to pack her bags and head for Italy. But what if, when she sets foot in Venice, Lucy finds that the one thing she has been running from, the one thing she has been trying to escape, is already there, lying in wait for her? Time to run away again? Or time to end the chase, once and for all?

As a long time reader of Emily Barr’s novels I’m always intrigued to see what she will release next, and I’m also eager to find out if she can keep my interest engaged with each new novel. As far as some authors go, this doesn’t happen, but with each new book from Barr, I find myself being more and more impressed. The last book of Barr’s I read was 2008’s, The Sisterhood, a book I totally loved, and I was hoping this latest offering would live up to the high expectations I had after reading that. I’m glad to say it did. The Perfect Lie is a little darker in it’s themes than some of Barr’s previous books, but no less compelling. This one is a definite page turner that will keep you reading late into the night.

As the book opens we are introduced to Lucy Riddick who shares a seemingly perfect and idyllic life in Cornwall with the ruggedly handsome Seth. They are on a day out with Seth’s sister Eliza and her two daughters, when the days events take a dramatic turn and Lucy finds herself featured on the local evening news. Hailed as a heroine, surely this should be a cause for celebration, but not for Lucy who is hiding a deep dark secret. It’s a secret buried deep in the past and which she knew one day would come back to haunt her. Now with the media focus on her, Lucy once again finds herself on the run. But will she be able to escape her past a second time, and is she prepared to leave behind everything she knows and loves again?

The story moves between past and present with the horror of Lucy’s past slowly unfolding before us. This book has a definite dark element to it and as we meet Lucy as a teenager called Marianne we have no clue of the horrors that are about to enter her life. What starts off as a underprivileged but ultimately happy existence with her mother and brother Finn turns into something truly disturbing. While Lucy has undoubtedly been through tough times, she is written in such a way that makes her a difficult character to totally sympathise with. This is a technique that Barr employs quite a bit in her books, and for me, it makes for great, believable characters. Lucy is neither truly good or truly bad. She has messed up, done some terrible things and been a victim of circumstance. While I rooted for her most of the time, she is far from perfect, and will definitely leave the reader with food for thought.

One of my favourite aspects of Barr’s novels is the travel writing that she weaves into each of her books. It’s what first brought her to my attention, and I feel it’s something unique to her. Having worked as a travel writer as well as a novelist, this is something that Barr excels at, and it makes her stand out from the pack. In the past Barr's books have taken me on journeys to America, Australia, France and Cuba. Here the action moves first to Paris and then Venice, where Lucy has gone to try and escape her past. Even in this beautiful setting, there is a real sense of impending doom surrounding Lucy, and I really feared for  her with each day she spent in her new Italian hideaway.

Overall, this one is a really good read and perfect for holiday reading if you happen to have a getaway on the cards. Barr never disappoints with her offerings and her books will appeal to fans of chick-lit along with those who want something with a little more edge. This book has some great mystery and intrigue, it’s action packed and filled with suspense, tension and more than a few surprises. If you haven’t yet read anything by Emily Barr, I strongly suggest that you check out her books. I can’t wait to see what she has in store next!


  1. Wonderful review! I am not familiar with Emily Barr's work, but when I first saw this book in your IMM post, I was intrigued. I am not sure this book is out in the US yet? Either way, it sounds like a book I definitely would enjoy. Mystery and intrigue? Sounds good to me!!

  2. Very wonderful read! The element of mystery really attract me =)

  3. Great review! I really love Emily Barr's books too especially Backpack and The Sisterhood. Looking forward to reading this one :)

  4. Wonderful Review! I love chick-lits with an edge.

  5. I bought this awhile back but haven't had time to read it, great review! I'm new to this author.

  6. I am also not familiar with any of her books, but what really sold me on this is the fact that she weaves travel writing into her novels - and I am a big fan of that. Will be on the look out for this novel at the stores! Lovely review as always Leanna!

  7. Thanks for the comments! :)

    @Christina - I'm not sure if these are released in the US, but you should try The Book Depository for them (free shipping!) :)

  8. This author is new to me and I will definitely read this book, after reading your review!


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