#bookreview The Lying Game by Ruth Ware published by Random House UK Vintage Publishing

The Lying Game is a story of four friends who are bound over by their teenage schooldays, a game and one moment in time that changed everything.

Isa, Thea, Fatima and Kate all went to school at Salten together and although they were boarders, they spent any time they could at Kate’s house – her Dad Ambrose owned the Tide Mill down at the Reach, and worked as an art teacher at Salten House (school). The girls are tied together by their past, and so one day 17 years after leaving Salten House school, when the others all receive the same message from Kate … “I need you”, they go to her at the Mill. Now adults, careers and children their past times, they re-discover their friendship and the changes that have occurred over time. But why has Kate reached out to them? What is the secret from their youth? And why are there hostilities from some locals and warm welcomes from others?

This is another human observation story from Ruth Ware, detailed with the human endeavours to form connections and bonds, to have life experiences, and to bear witness to each other –  with even the lifting of an eyebrow, and the ripple of the water.

As a reader, the first half of the story is swathed with conflicting emotions; warmth, anxiety, nostalgia, no character or circumstances induced fear, more of concern. You feel that there is something you’re missing, you’re searching to find between the lines, to be able to appreciate the true gravity of their history.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story – I couldn’t put it down, at various points speculating, guessing, wondering what on earth had happened to them all. Ruth has cleverly written the characters so that the reader gets to know them as adults with the growth of opinions and life experiences, whilst still enjoying them as the 15 year olds friends are introduced to. She gives them flaws and scars, and every day doubts that bring Isa, Thea, Fatima and Kate to life, in particular when they are ‘standing’ within the quagmire of Mary Wren, Luc, and Owen. Lies and lying is central to this tale, and Ruth shows us the rules of the game, whilst subtly revealing the consequences of weaving a web of deceit.

Themes: friendship, family, ghosts, love, memory, time, trust, abuse, parenting, secrets, nostalgia, addiction, art, gossip, boarding school, lies

I would like to thank Netgalley and the publishers Random House UK, Vintage for my free copy.

Published 15 June 2017 by Vintage Digital

Amazon blurb:

Four friends. One promise. But someone isn’t telling the truth. The twisting new mystery from bestselling phenomenon Ruth Ware.

The text message arrives in the small hours of the night. It’s just three words: I need you.
Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her.

At school Isa and her three best friends used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. Now, after seventeen years of secrets, something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three women she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten.

Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, not after what they did. It’s time for the women to get their story straight…

You can purchase The Lying Game here.

ruth ware

Author biography

Ruth Ware’s first two thrillers, In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10, were international smash-hits, and appeared on bestseller list around the world, including the Sunday Times and New York Times. The film rights to her debut were snapped up by New Line Cinema, and her books are published in more than 40 languages.




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