Leah's Reviews > The Perfect Lie

The Perfect Lie by Emily Barr
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's review
Mar 08, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: books-read-2010, for-review
Read from April 06 to 07, 2010

Lucy Riddick has always dreamed of going to Venice particularly since it’s been pinned up on her mum’s wall for as long as she can remember. She doesn’t think she’ll ever get the chance to visit Venice but she’s soon proved to be wrong as the secret she’s been carrying has finally caught up with her. All of a sudden Lucy realises she needs to escape. She immediately decides that Venice is the place for her and sets off, leaving behind a boyfriend and her life in Cornwall, but it’s still not enough and suddenly Lucy finds herself closer to the thing she’s been trying to escape from for most of her life…

Up until 2008 I hadn’t read any of Emily Barr’s books. I had tried to read both Backback and Cuban Heels but I found that I just couldn’t click with either books so had always put them down again before taking them to the book swop. However whilst in the book swop one day The Sisterhood caught my eye by Emily Barr and I thought it sounded incredibly interesting. I debated over whether to buy it and decided not to but next time I was in and it was still there I took the plunge and I actually really really loved it. I then picked up The Life You Want and enjoyed that too so it’s safe to say I was looking forward to her next offering The Perfect Lie and when I received an early copy I was eager to get stuck in.

Emily Barr seems to be the queen of Chick Lit thrillers so it was very interesting to read the blurb of The Perfect Lie and try to figure out what it all meant – the blurb gives nothing away though so it wasn’t too helpful really so I started the book hoping to unravel it all. The book begins on an ordinary day of Lucy’s life – out with her boyfriend, Seth, and best friend, Eliza, but an incident at the beach causes Lucy’s world to collapse in on itself. Lucy tries to carry on her life as normal but as her paranoia grows it becomes more and more apparent that that is not an option and so Lucy decides to take flight, leaving behind everything she’s come to know and love.

That is pretty much the plot, in a nutshell. There is more to that obviously but this is one of those books that you must begin and read without knowing prior to reading exactly what it is you’re reading about. The “more” to the plot comes in the form of alternating chapters. Lucy is our main narrator for the entirety of the novel but we also go back to 1988 where a girl called Marianne becomes our narrator, telling of her life as a 16-year-old with a younger brother and rather secretive mother. Rather than hinder the story or detract in any way from Lucy, Marianne’s chapters actually enhance the book and as Marianne’s story unravels I found myself getting drawn into the novel more and more. It’s fair to say that Marianne’s story isn’t exactly a happy one, she and her brother Finn go through some traumatic times. Again, because of the delicate linking of the plot I’m reluctant to say any more. Once Lucy decides that the only way to save herself is to flee, we also bring Eliza into the picture, giving us both Lucy’s side of her disappearance and also Eliza’s feelings on the entire matter as Eliza is Lucy’s friend and is the sister of Seth, Lucy’s boyfriend. I thought it was a good way to keep everyone Lucy was connected to in Cornwall as part of the main story and again, it really really worked.

As far as characters go I’m still slightly wary of Lucy. Like most of Barr’s characters she does have an edge to her, one that makes you feel as if you don’t really know the real Lucy. Barr makes it so that we don’t truly connect with any of her female leads (at least none I’ve read so far) and it’s a strange way to do things. Sure, I liked Lucy and sure I could easily sympathise with everything that caused her to run away but I never felt fully into the character herself. The same goes for Marianne – it’s going to be hard not to sympathise with such a young girl and everything she goes through is eye opening and totally shocking but I still couldn’t really connect to her. The only character Barr let us really know was Eliza whom I really liked. Eliza recently became a widow and to see how she struggles with trying to date again really made me warm to her. I thought her budding relationship with Patrick was so enjoyable to read.

The book as I mentioned is part-set in Venice and that’s another thing Emily Barr excels at: making her locations as glorious as she possibly can and Emily’s descriptions of Venice were fantastic and I really felt that I was there with Lucy. As the book came towards it’s conclusion, the showdown I was expecting materialised and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a fab conclusion although there were some questions marks for me as to what Lucy did. Or didn’t do. Yes everything that happens on those final few pages is more than justified but it kind of tars Lucy’s character – for me, anyway.

The Perfect Lie is a hugely enjoyable read nevertheless. I loved getting stuck into all of the plots throughout the book and Emily Barr definitely doesn’t hold back when it comes to her novels. It was gritty and dark yet still managed to be a good book. Barr seems to be an excellent storyteller and the fact she’s also great at incorporating exotic destinations makes it all the better. It’s not as good as The Sisterhood but it comes a close close second and I truly recommend you pick this up!
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04/06 page 13
04/15 marked as: read
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message 1: by Rossy (new) - added it

Rossy Fantastic review, Leah! I guess it's time to try this author.^.^

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