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Lies You Wanted to Hear

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,282 ratings  ·  443 reviews
A deeply moving, beautifully-written picture of how the smallest crack in a relationship slowly, over decades, becomes a canyon too wide to bridge.

When Lucy meets Matt on a blind date, Matt is instantly hooked; he sees Lucy as the fun, sexy, and wickedly smart girl of his dreams. Although she’s still getting over an old lover, Lucy is won over by Matt’s sweet, thoughtful n...more
Paperback, 404 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published January 1st 2013)
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Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield ThomsonThe Valley of Amazement by Amy TanThe Death of Santini by Pat ConroyBellman & Black by Diane SetterfieldParasite by Mira Grant
1st out of 10 books — 49 voters
Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuireEntwined with You by Sylvia DayReckless by S.C. StephensDown London Road by Samantha YoungNever Too Far by Abbi Glines
2013 Release books to read
373rd out of 1,023 books — 2,307 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
The publisher has requested that I not post a full review too far in advance of the book's publication. Therefore, I'll just mention a couple of important things:

1) If you're planning to read this novel, don't read any detailed reviews. The only thing that kept me wanting to continue reading was the fact that I had no idea what was coming. Any hint of that ahead of time would have ruined it for me.

2) Parts 1 and 2 were well-written but sort of ho-hum domestic fiction for me. It took me a while...more
Sarah Cardillo
This book is much better than Gone Girl in my mind - Gone Girl you can't empathize with the characters - they do despicable things. These characters make decisions. Not mistakes - they make choices. their choices define who they are. And they have to live with them. And if you can put yourself in their shoes - the book makes you wonder if you'd make those same decisions. or if you've made bad decisions in your life - would you make them again? Especially in relationships - sometimes we know some...more
Jennifer Parks
Lies You Wanted to Hear is a well paced, well styled, and engaging debut novel by James Whitfield Thomson. A lot of discussion has taken place regarding the author, who at age 67, has made quite an entrance onto the literary scene.

In Lies, Thomson showcases the rocky relationship between Matt and Lucy from courtship through its eventual unraveling. Lucy is depicted as wholly selfish and troubled while Matt's character is more nuanced. The decisions that each of them make wound not only each oth...more
4.0 out of 5 stars - The lies you tell yourself are the ones that hurt you the most...

This is another tale of love-gone-wrong -- a fairly common theme for the story of a modern tragedy. But it's not what happened to Lucy and Matt that makes this novel hard to put down, but WHY it happened.

Lucy and Matt meet on a blind date set up by Lucy's best friend, Jill. Lucy's on the rebound, but barely, after a long and heartbreaking romantic thrill ride that ended with Griffin just walking away. She's def...more
Diane S.
Relationships built on lies, betrayals and secrecy very seldom turn out well and so this proved in the marriage of Matt and Lucy. Going into a relationship with very different reasons, Matt and Lucy are at a disadvantage from the get go, the reader knows this but of course in the novel they do not. Tiny cracks, widen and get deeper as the reader reads their story.

This is a grim, at times depressing viewpoint of marriage. It is, however, a truthful one for some and maybe a warning for others. Ve...more
As soon as you meet Matt and Lucy you feel as if you've known them forever.It's amazing one can so easily be in Matt's head in one chapter, then in Lucy's in the next. You're so eager to learn what each is going to do that you keep turning the pages. As their actions take them toward irreversible damage to their marriage and their lives you inevitably choose the side of one or the other.Then... you wonder if you were right. You'll want your friends to read this book, so you can discuss it with t...more
The story of a marriage between two remarkably dislikable people. Great character building and believable story line made the book a compelling read.

Lucy is in love with unreliable Griffin when she meets Matt on a blind date. Matt is instantly head over heels, for this sexy, edgy woman. He enfolds Lucy in his care and she allows it. Less than bowled over by Matt, she sees that he is nevertheless a good catch, the kind of man she SHOULD want, so she goes along.

Two kids later, the relationship s...more
Back when Lucy was younger, she had two men falling for her. The bad boy, Griffin, and the good guy, Matthew. If Lucy had only thought with her heart then she would have picked Griffin. If she had picked with her attraction then she would have picked Griffin. Yes, Lucy loved Griffin but Griffin was not one to settle down even for Lucy. So Lucy chose Matthew.

Years later Lucy is divorced. Lucy had two children but they are also gone. Now Lucy is faced with the past and the lies she told to get to...more
I finished Lies You Wanted to Hear in two days. Once you start, it really is hard to put down. The story of a marriage between Lucy and Matt, twists and turns down a never-ending road of pain. The chapters alternate between characters and while I was reading it I thought, boy this book will be a great book club book because there is so much to discuss. There is no good guy in this but you can certainly see how it all happens. Reading their thoughts was enlightening and stopped me from judging th...more
I applaud the author's first book. We need more noteworthy books to read. Genius writing, the chapter sequencing was unique and easy to read The characters fell into place and the author made you care about them all! The twists and turns were so delicious, I couldn't put it down... The author I hope will write many more books...And the Title tells it all!

I received this free book from Goodreads First Reads!

I predict a best seller!
Judy Collins
James Whitfield Thomson’s gripping psychological debut novel, THE LIES YOU WANTED TO HEAR, is one of complex and troubled characters, where your loyalties for these two, switch back and forth more than a tennis match.

Set in the late 70s in Boston, Matt, a copy is set up by his colleague’s wife on a blind date with her oldest friend from college, Lucy. Lucy who likes to live life on the edge, from a well to do family, obsessed with her former (future) lover and bad boy, Griffin.

In earlier days...more
What if the lies you told and the choices you made have come back to haunt you? What if the losses are so much greater than you could ever have imagined?

Lucy Thornhill was an edgy young woman, always looking for love in all the wrong places. After the disappointment of a lover who could not commit, finding Matt Drobyshev, who was so reliable and responsible, felt like a magical gift. It would not be long, however, before they each realized that the relationship was built on a series of little wh...more
After reading the description, I thought I would enjoy this book, but I just couldn't get into it. Matt and Lucy are boring and selfish characters, and I have a hard time believing that their children could forgive them so easily once the truth of their situation was revealed. I found myself skipping through paragraphs to get to the point. There were a lot of unnecessary details that were not relevant to the rest of the story or characters. ( Do we really need 3 pages to describe dinner?) The on...more
Bloggers Recommend
Even good people make can make extraordinarily hurtful and mean-spirited choices that irrevocably impact lives forever. Lies You Wanted to Hear is a powerful novel about choices: terrible choices that seemingly good people make. Impossible to put down, this is the book club read of the year!
Dec 21, 2013 Zeena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
Very tragic story with characters that I hated back and forth. They are parents and not once did they think of the children, they only ever thought of themselves. I understand why Matt did what he did but what did it solve/prove?
Nicely written and easy to read.
3.75 stars
LIES YOU WANTED TO HEAR tells the story of Matt, Lucy and their failed marriage. Eventually thanks to the skewed family court system and what he considers Lucy’s negligent parenting Matt feels driven to desperate measures to ensure his children’s safety.

LIES YOU WANTED TO HEAR is told in alternating POV’s making it explicitly clear what motivates each character. I really appreciated this as Matt and Lucy’s story progressed.
Griffin is the man Lucy had been dating when first we meet he...more
Matt loved Lucy from the moment they met. Lucy convinced herself that she loved Matt too. But relationships, and families, can't be built on lies...even the ones we want to hear.

High Points
I loved the structure. The back and forth between Lucy and Matt really built a very lovely and complex point counter point. It was perfect for setting up the dynamics of a very complicated relationship.

Low Points
The supporting cast. Griffin, Amanda, Thorny. Jill. They all felt flat, one-dimensional.

Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

"The lies you wanted to hear were the easiest ones to tell" pg384

Lies you Wanted to Hear is a compelling story of love and betrayal, of a marriage destroyed by the secrets we keep from one another and the lies we tell ourselves.

When Matt meets Lucy on a blind date he knows she is the 'one', she is beautiful, bright and sexy, "everything a guy could want", but Lucy is wary, Matt, a strait laced police officer, is completely different from her on again-off again lover Griffin who she can't seem to...more
Lies You Wanted To Hear
James Whitfield Thomson


This book is about Lucy, Griffin and Matt and what their relationships did to them.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book has affected me in rather strange ways. At first I loved all of the characters but by the time I finished the book I strongly disliked them. But let me just quickly share the basics. Lucy is privileged, has a unique family and loves a man named Griffin. She meets him accidentally, after college, and remain...more
Three and a half stars: A book with a troubled relationship that will make you think.

Lucy is trying to make her marriage work, but her heart isn't fully committed. Lucy can't get over Griffin, the sexy rascal she met right after college. Lucy and Griffin carried on a torrid affair full of ups and downs, steamy sex, infidelity and excitement. Yet, the wild, careless Griffin refused to be faithful. Even though Lucy and Griffin fought constantly and she knew he was cheating, she couldn't resist the...more
I REALLY enjoyed this book! I was drawn right in and just kept turning the pages to see what happened! I thought the way the book was written, in alternating voices between Matt and Lucy, was probably one of the best things about the book. It kept the story moving forward, but you got to go inside the head of the person who was telling their side of the story without missing a beat. LOVED the ending too. I would highly recommend, even though the subject matter might sound like it would be depres...more
Gail Moore
The more I read Lies, the more I got hooked, until I couldn't put it down. As the characters and the issues grew more complex, I found myself challenged as to what is fair and what is not. As the story progressed, Thomson's even-handed treatment of the two main characters compelled me to reexamine my allegiances, and that always makes for a good read.
John Burley
Reading this book is like watching a train crash in slow motion. You see the trouble coming from way down the track, watch the wheels sliding off the rails, think to yourself, "This is not going to be pretty." And sure enough, bad things happen, although not completely what you initially expected.

The story is told from two perspectives in alternating chapters. Neither of the two main characters are particularly likeable, but that's okay because you're here to see the train crash, not chat with t...more
I was completely blown away by this tale. I know these characters. AND, I cared. I felt for / with them. I was engaged from the get-go. Well done. Well done.

I am a now officially a fan of Mr. Thomson.
Sloane King- Owen
A very readable story, all-be-it a very simple one. I kept reading for the sake of my book club, however, without that requirement, I never would have picked it up in the first place. I suppose stories like this just aren't my cup of tea. It never felt like a challenge to my intellect or to my personal philosophies. The egalitarian in me would LIKE to say that the male author is capable of writing from the perspective of a fully-realized three -dimensional female character, but I felt like an ar...more
Surprisingly, I read this one in a day. I was hooked from the beginning. Interesting story about the one of the worst outcomes when you settle, marry the wrong person and have children together. Lucy and Matt are relatable to an extent, but do some despicable things to each other that many people may not be able to relate to. The lies you wanted to hear are the easiest to tell. Such a powerful statement because it's true. It eventually falls apart though, as lies usually do. This book gets extra...more
3 stars - It was good.

What the synopsis does not say, is that this book is very child-centric with much focus on parenting. Had I known that, I would have never picked it up as those types of books typically do not appeal to me, and that....would have been a shame, because I quite enjoyed this novel.

My latest favorite flavor of literary candy appears to be train-wreck marriages and relationships, and as promised, that "love gone wrong" factor is present and made for a very interesting story. Ho...more
Amanda Says

In the end, I wasn’t sure who had been hurt more, her or me.

Well, I did read it for the title, and the title alone. I had no prior thoughts about what this would contain as a story, except for lies. I barely knew the genre before picking it up, because, as I said, the title made the call. As it turns out, Lies You Wanted to Hear is about a love gone wrong between Lucy and Matt, and it deals with them meeting, their relationship beginning to show its ugly side, and the aftermath of a break-up,...more
Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading)
It's been months since I read Lies You Wanted to Hear and I am still thinking about this book. I loved this book, and still can't believe how good it was.

As a parent, I was enraptured by the premise of Lies You Wanted to Hear. The idea of losing my daughter is unthinkable. I was ready to completely side with Lucy when I started the book. What I found so incredible, though, was that the way Thomson writes both Lucy and Matt made me understand and empathize with both of them. I really couldn't say...more
Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)
5 very bright stars.

The lies we want to hear are [...] Read my full review on MINA'S BOOKSHELF

Lucy and Matt's story is a dramatic spectacle of human suffering, as introspective and realistic as Ingmar Bergman's cinematographic masterpiece Scenes From A Marriage (1973), as heart-shuttering and iconic as Avery Corman's Kramer vs. Kramer (1977), as tragically romantic as W. Somerset Vaugham's The Painted Veil (1925). The human drama of unrequited love seem...more
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James Whitfield Thomson grew up on the North Side of Pittsburgh and attended Harvard College on scholarship. After graduation he served three years in the Navy as navigator of a supply ship off the coast of Vietnam. Jim earned a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, writing his dissertation on the detective novelist Raymond Chandler. Following a brief stint teaching literatu...more
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The lies you wanted to hear

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“The older I get, the more I realize the answer to most questions is: All of the above.” 2 likes
“The lies you wanted to hear were the easiest ones to tell.” 2 likes
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