Emma and Lucie, the art of lying appears all too easy . . .
Emma Wilson has it all. Beauty, wealth, a loving and successful husband. But appearances can be deceptive. Bored and restless, her need for more fuels a dangerous craving; one she intends to keep hidden. Against her husband’s wishes and trapped in a deep web of lies, Emma returns to the family and hometown she left seventeen years earlier. Here, her lies magnify, threatening to destroy her marriage and all she holds dear.
Widowed and struggling financially and emotionally, Lucie Andrews is pushed to her limits. Delayed grief combined with an obstinate five-year-old drive her to rash decisions and reckless behavior, the consequences of which she is determined to keep secret. For Lucie, the most damaging lies are not the ones she tells others, but those she tells herself.
Thrown together by circumstance, will friendship be strong enough for Emma and Lucie to survive the fallout from their lies, or will the fragile threads of their lives continue to unravel?
Everyday Lies, by Louise Guy, is a fabulous addition to an already booming year for Australian Women’s Fiction. You are at once drawn in by the cover, that striking broken glass of red wine set against a white backdrop, and trust me, from there it just goes from strength to strength.
The novel is arranged initially as following two women in their 30s, both leading very different lives and with no connection between them whatsoever. Circumstances spiralling out of their control lead them to meet and have regular contact, and after throwing a third woman into the mix, the delightful and cheeky 79 year old Florrie, the story takes a new turn altogether.
What I loved most about Everyday Lies was it’s everyday appeal. These were ordinary women placed under extraordinary stress, leading them each into a situation of their own making. They were both flawed and realistic, fully aware of the mistakes they were making without knowing how they could possibly extricate themselves. The internal dialogue within this novel portrayed this dilemma for both Emma and Lucie to perfection. I was completely drawn in to their world, their worries, their hopes and their failures.
The arrangement of this novel was very well done. Alternating chapters for each woman with a communal chapter in between. It mirrored their lives, each going their separate ways and only meeting once a week. I liked how Louise continued this arrangement even after the women had moved on from the place they had initially met. I was also particularly pleased with the ending chapter being told from Florrie’s perspective – the only chapter in the book to do so – as it gave the novel a full circle effect that might have been otherwise lost.
Social issues abound in Everyday Lies, of the type we all encounter at some point in our lives. How do we discipline our children when what we’re currently doing stops working? Where does a naughty child end and a damaged child begin? When does concern for others turn into meddling? How do we learn to just trust each other instead of always assuming the worst? And how do we relate who we were as children to the adults we’ve become? In this present day, where so many of us live far away from our extended families, Everyday Lies explores what it means to return to those roots, unfinished business and all. It’s a novel with a well balanced and interesting storyline; drama that’s not overly dramatic and an element of mystery that’s not too mysterious with a liberal sprinkling of Aussie humour. I love how Louise doesn’t leave you dangling for too long, she just cuts right to it and gets on with the story. The pacing was excellent and I was reading long into the early morning hours, unwilling to stop at the end of the current chapter, not even for sleep!
I highly recommend Everyday Lies to fans of Australian Women’s Fiction and look forward to Louise’s next release, which I believe is due out in November of this year.
In Conversation with Louise Guy:
Everyday Lies is your debut for adults, but you are already an established Children’s author. What made you take the step into writing for adults?
Actually it is the other way around! I have been writing for adults for a number of years. Everyday Lies is my fourth manuscript but the first to be published. My decision to write for the children’s market was a result of my growing frustration levels in 2015 with my then 8 year-old reluctant reader. I decided to take a break from writing for adults and write something to try and engage him. His main interest at the time was Minecraft so it made sense to make him the star of an adventure set in the Minecraft world (and yes it worked, he has now discovered other authors and the joy reading can bring!). I discovered I really enjoyed writing for the 8-12 year old age group so have continued adding to the Crafters’ Club series (#10 is on its way) and have also written two books in a new series, The Secret World of Curly Jones. However, around the middle of last year my adult stories really started to pull at me again and the idea for another book, A Life Worth Stealing, took over my thoughts. That book is well underway and the decision to write it also pushed me to move forward with the editing and publication of Everyday Lies and Fortunate Friends (to be released in November).
What was the main inspiration for Everyday Lies?
I was inspired by what I would term as common or everyday issues for this storyline. Lost identities due to marriage or motherhood, that one extra glass of wine – because I deserve it, the justification that an outburst is acceptable when the kids push your buttons just that bit too far, etc. At times these are subtle issues that lie underneath the surface not causing too many real problems but they can also magnify and become something much more. With Emma and Lucie their issues are pushed beyond the point of acceptable bringing real consequences to their actions and forcing them to look at themselves, their behaviours and their lives.
I also love stories written from multiple points of view where circumstances force strangers together which often ends in unexpected friendships.
The town of Rainbow Bay was just like so many Queensland coastal towns. Is it based on a place that is special to you or your family?
Rainbow Bay is fictional but certainly draws on different elements of the places that we love. My mum lives in a small town and as much as I like visiting it I know if I lived there I’d miss some of the luxuries that larger towns offer. I remember sitting in the playground in her town watching my sons playing one day and re-designed the entire main street to what would make it more attractive for me to want to live there. The overhaul would have cost them millions! The character of Drew Meyers and his contribution to Rainbow Bay definitely evolved from those thoughts.
In terms of characters, Emma and Lucie were quite different, yet ended up becoming great friends. Did you have a favourite between the two, one that was easier to write, or did they both flow equally out of your imagination?
Emma and Lucie flowed fairly equally. I think the fact that their stories were so different and they were nothing alike made that easier. There were things I loved about both of them and could certainly relate to. My favourite character however, would definitely have been Florrie. I absolutely love Florrie. She’s often in my thoughts. She’s someone I’d definitely like to invite to dinner! It is amazing how real the characters become and how you can miss them once their story is finished.
Inspired by the wine in Everyday Lies, I can’t help but asking, are you a fan of red, or white?
Definitely a beautiful, bold red! Even living in Queensland it is my favourite drink, regardless of the temperature outside. In saying that, I’m from Melbourne originally and miss the draw of an open fire and a comfy chair to sit and enjoy a red with friends or a good book.
Everyday Lies will be released on May 1st, 2017.
Everyday Lies is book 19 in my 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge.
I’d like to thank Louise Guy for providing me with an advanced copy of Everyday Lies for review. For information about Louise and her books, head over to her Facebook page, Louise Guy.