How can I put this? – A book review

To be blunt, and polite – this didn’t really appeal to me and it didn’t leave me wanting more! I gave it 2 stars.

I’m a bit confused about this next book review as I was expecting great things. It was recommended to me by the publishing agency after I had reviewed another of its books. It just goes to show that one person’s opinion is simply just that – an opinion. And, in this particular, one that is far removed from my own. 

The book in question is Lie, Lay, Lain by Bryn Greenwood.


Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Jennifer has a great job and a go-getter fiancé. She’s on track for success, until she witnesses a fatal hit-and-run. Mistaking Jennifer for someone else, the dying victim extracts an impossible promise. Jennifer’s fiancé wants her to forget the whole incident, but when she closes her eyes, she can still see the bloody face of the woman who asked for her help.
Olivia is in a rut. Burdened with caring for her brain-damaged brother and already feeling like a spinster at 27, she’s desperate to escape. In a moment of weakness, she tells a lie that draws an unsuspecting paramedic into her life. As she struggles to expiate the lie, a horrible act of violence will test her resolve to be honest.
Where Jennifer’s promise and Olivia’s lie intersect, their lives begin to unravel.

My thoughts:

Although it sounded promising, this was a real slow burner, which unfortunately fizzled out and left no real impression on me. With each chapter dealing with the two main characters alternately, it was sometimes difficult to see the very tenuous connection between their lives. Frequently I was tempted to give up and not even finish the book. I made a mental note at the point that the story really came to life – it was at 81% (on my Kindle), which was far too late to really make any impact. By then I was bored with the characters.

The two women are poles apart, but attend the same church. There are many scenes at one church or another, but the worshippers are all putting on a show for each other, not wishing for their true lives to be seen and gossiped about by the congregation. It does showcase the hypocrisy of the church-goers and their bigoted views of those outside of their group.

The story does not seem to come to a convincing end either. There is no real closure regarding the fate of the little girl, merely a concession to a debate to improve how the child care system operates.  Olivia is transformed from the stereotypical ugly duckling with low self-esteem to a confident young woman in a happy relationship. However, Jennifer is left reeling from the initial accident, her unfaithful boyfriend, an over-demanding boss and finally the turmoil caused by the missing child.

There is a recurrent issue over the use of the word ‘lying’ versus ‘laying’ which, as the title suggests is a clever way of mixing up the two meanings of the word ‘lie’ and it goes on to debate whether the truth should always be told, regardless of its consequences.

I’m glad I persevered with the story, as it does leave the reader with lots to consider – although whether that is what everyone wants from a work of fiction is entirely subjective.

As with the previous book I read from this publisher, there are far too many formatting issues and mixed up phrases. They implied that the issue is with individual devices last time, and I guess the same will be said this time. However, I hasten to add that I have read many books on my Kindle, downloaded from both Amazon & NetGalley, and have never had these issues in such abundance as with this particular publisher.

I imagine I wont be getting any recommendations from them again!


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