The Lies We Told, by Diane Chamberlain

liesI’m honestly not sure how to summarize this book. The back of the book description gives away nearly everything from beginning to end, all but one secret, but I can’t think of any way to describe this other than by telling the whole story, either. I guess I’ll just have to say it’s about two sisters, Rebecca and Maya, who witnessed their parents’ murder when they were teens, and the way their lives go as adults. But even that misrepresents the book, because it really has very little to do with the murders, and more to do with their lives as two different physicians and what happens to them when they’re working on a disaster-relief assignment. Already that gives away more than half the plot. Sigh.

I accepted this book for review, thinking that the publisher description was telling me the setup of the book (as it does for most books). I expected most of the book to deal with the fallout from this setup. The fallout is what interested me. Instead, the publisher description tells me everything except one secret, which is revealed in the last couple chapters of the book. Therefore when I read the book, it felt like an extremely long expansion of the summary, while the end was hastily thrown together and had a very abrupt switch-to-epilogue last minute. Everything I’d wanted to know from this book, the whole reason I accepted it for review, was wrapped up in two pages of epilogue. That was really disappointing.

That’s not to say The Lies We Told wasn’t well-written. It did fine on that point. I personally didn’t like Rebecca or the sections that dealt with her, but I did like Maya and what she discovered during the disaster. The last part of the book, where the one secret I hadn’t been told was revealed, was interesting, but I do wish it hadn’t been so long in getting there. I felt like the real story came at the end of the book, the part I didn’t get to experience at all because it just wasn’t there, except in epilogue form. I wish that the publisher summary hadn’t spoiled the book so badly!

I was just talking about this in a recent Sunday Salon. People debated in the comments of that post about whether using your own or a publisher’s summary was better, and one of the arguments on the “use publisher’s summary” side was that the publisher’s summary doesn’t spoil the book. This is one of those cases, and not the first that I’ve come across, where that simply isn’t true. The summary for The Lies We Told gave me nearly the entire plot outright! And because of that, I was expecting a very different book. That, of course, led to my disappointment.

Was this a good book? I don’t know. Compared to what I was looking for and expecting, no, not at all. But from its own merits? I couldn’t say. I never had the opportunity to find out.

About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
This entry was posted in 2010, Adult, Prose. Bookmark the permalink.

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