Suspense | Thriller

Book Review: Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan
Published September 2017
Crooked Lane Books

Liza is a somewhat accomplished author in the middle of an unhappy marriage in Lies She Told.

She’s on a tight deadline to finish her newest book, one she hopes will reach the same level of success she’s enjoyed in the past, but may be slipping. At the same time, Liza and her husband are desperate to get pregnant.

Between the expensive IVF, medications, time-consuming doctor visits, and mood-altering hormone therapy, the desperation for a baby is becoming more of an obsession for Liza. And for her husband? More of a chore that makes him think maybe a baby isn’t the best idea. And maybe neither is Liza.

Meanwhile, we follow the plot of the characters in Liza’s book. Beth, her main character, is a new mom with a cheating husband. As the plot thickens in Liza’s novel, so does it in her actual life. Both Beth and Liza lose control of their emotions and veer closer to hysteria as their lives unravel.

While it’s suspenseful and an interesting structure, Lies She Told is somewhat problematic for me. It represents a woman victimized by the whims of her own body. Her crazy woman hormones and unrelenting need to have a baby create the suspense, drive away her husband, and make her unstable.

Meanwhile, the alter ego in the book Liza’s writing is having similar problems. Having recently given birth, Beth is overly emotional and likely blowing things out of proportion. Her crazy woman hormones after having a baby create suspense, drive away her husband, and make her unstable.

It’s as if the very act of being a woman is enough to make both main characters go bonkers.

Hmmmmm.

Of course, there are other plot points, double crosses, and uncovered histories that bring more dimension to this story. But at the core are two women who are at the whims of their biologies.

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