Friday, 29 March 2013

Irish Fiction Month Review: Clare Dowling - Would I Lie to You?

Why tell the truth...if you know it's going to hurt?

Hannah has known Ellen and Barbara since they shared student digs. So when Ollie, the father of her daughter Cleo, unexpectedly walks out, who better to turn to than her best friends? The reunion takes place in Ellen and husband Mark's converted farmhouse in France, where Hannah slowly becomes reacquainted with nature - the white-back pigs, the rooster with the mental health issues - and, more importantly, what she really wants out of her life. Then something shocking happens, which threatens not only her recovery, but the very bonds of her friendship with Ellen and Barbara. Her loyalty is put to the test - if she does the right thing, will it blow Ellen's marriage out of the water? And why does she find herself turning to Ollie, of all people, for advice...?

I actually received a proof copy of Would I Lie to You? last year but due to the volume of books I received at that time I was unable to fit it inBut this Irish Fiction feature month gave me the perfect opportunity to pull it out of the pile to read now.  

Hannah, Ellen and Barbara have been close friends ever since their university days and are still as close as ever even though they are now in their late thirties.  But life is certainly a lot more stressful these days than the carefree days of yesteryear.  Hannah is trying to cope with the fact that her partner Ollie has walked out on her and daughter Ollie, Barbara is in the middle of the bureaucracy of trying to adopt a baby from Russia, and Ellen is struggling to make a success of the farm in rural France that she moved to with husband Mark and her kids.

But Hannah and Barbara's trip to France with Cleo for a joint celebration of Hannah and Ellen's thirty-eighth birthdays does not turn out to be the joyous occasion as planned when something happens that threatens to tear their friendship apart.    

I have to confess that I didn't enjoy this book as much as the other Clare Dowling books I've read, it started a little slow for me but towards the middle I did start to get drawn into the dramas that were ensuing.  The more that I was reading about the friendships shattering, the more I was willing them to overcome all the obstacles and rebuild their trust in one another.

This book was definitely a look at the good and bad side of relationships, and there certainly were a lot of different relationships under the spotlight not just Hannah and Ollie, Ellen and Mark but also Ollie's parents Harry and Muriel.

Overall it was an OK read but not one that I'm likely to read again in the future which is hard for me to write as I've loved other books that Clare has written.

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