The Liar’s Wife by Samantha Hayes
Published by Bookouture on November 22, 2018. Classified as Mystery & Thriller. Received via NetGalley as an eARC.
When Ella wakes up in a hospital following a hit-and-run incident, she is scared and confused. Close to tears, her eyes fall on a get-well-soon card on the window sill and the nurse reassures her that her loving husband will be back soon… But Ella has never been married.
In fact, she has lived alone her whole adult life; working hard, rarely socialising, quietly harbouring a terrible secret from her past. Fear sweeps through Ella when she instantly recognises the man who enters the ward. He is not her husband, but she knows that she must do as he says and play the part of dutiful wife.
What choice does she have? He was there the night of the fire, he knows her secret too…
I haven’t read an utterly satisfying thriller in years (well, except And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, but she’s a legend already so you know what I meant), so I’m really glad to found this one. I’m not going to lie, my first impression when I saw the title, cover and summary is… ‘Okay. Shari Lapena’s major vibes here’. Well, guess what? It’s not Shari Lapena. It’s better. And let me explain why.
Work, home, sleep.
We started with our main character, Ella, who’s very close about her life. She doesn’t have friends in her office, even after working there for couple of years. A nice guy from the office, Liam, seems to always want to be her friend. However, even after getting approached multiple times and got ask to hangout (non-romantically), Ella still ignored him, politely of course. There are hints here and there that showed us Ella actually wants to make friends and socialize, but something always stopped her. She has a secret, a dark one, that stop her from being her old, happy self. So, Ella continued her life. Work, home, sleep. A bit of embroidery as a hobby. Her life is a repeating pattern, even her flat’s neighbor noticed her cores without needing to talk to her. Until one day, when she was on her way back from the office, she got hit by a van and woke up in a hospital… with someone from her past. And he knows her secret too.
Earlier chapters showed us a quick throwback scenes to Ella & Maggie’s life in university. Maggie is Ella’s only best friend and these throwback chapters are actually my favorites, since I got to learn a little bit more about Ella, something that I can’t do from her present self. In these throwback chapters, we also got hints about people from Ella’s past, like Zach, the guy Ella used to date, Zach’s friends, a random creep that also went to the same college, and also Harry, Ella’s twin brother. These throwback chapters was also acts as clues that guided us to Ella’s secret. It was very comforting to read these chapters since you’ll witness that Ella used to be cheerful and carefree. But it was also intense at the same time, because in these chapters, there are probably important details that will point to Ella’s secret, but you’ll never know which one it is until you got the end of the story.
She’d had enough of feeling different, of always being the girl who didn’t join in.
I’m usually a fan of dynamic pace when it comes to mystery/thriller. Something slow and stable is usually not working for me. I either got lazy because I feel there’s nothing ever going to be happened and continued to read half-heartedly, or I carelessly decided, so early, that I don’t enjoy the book. And I know, this is a bad habit but I’m working on it. However, The Liar’s Wife was a bit stagnant in its first few chapters. And weirdly, I’m okay with it. Sure, Ella got hit by a van and someone from her past appeared out of nowhere, is far from dull. It’s exciting and intense. But other than that, we still have no idea who’s this person is or what’s his intention, up until the half of the book. And no, I’m not saying everything’s going to be reveal at this point, but I’m talking about the first actual clue that I think will be matter in this story. Can you believe that?! I read up until half of the book just to think I found the first clue! However, I enjoyed the slow and painful build up, knowing that whatever twists this book is going to have, it will be worth the wait. And it does worth the wait.
The last thing that I want to mention is the amazingly-written characters and plot by Hayes. Every characters was described so vividly. Ella’s fear was captivating and make me wondered, what’s her secret, really?! Is it so bad that staying with Jacob, her kidnapper, is better than getting consequences for whatever it is she’s trying to keep as a secret?! And Jacob’s in control movements, how dangerous he sounds both when he’s loving and when he’s raging, was described so perfectly. One third of the book and I’m already so sick everytime Jacob said “Ella-bella”. I can practically listened his singing voice at this point. And lastly, Liam’s kindness and forbearance was hitting me right in the heart. He just wants to get to know Ella and that’s it. His presence was an actual portrayal of how the readers must be feel when reading this book and I think it’s very clever of Hayes for bringing his character to make us sink deeper into the story.
I have nothing else to say, because I’m afraid I’ll spoil the plot for others that haven’t read this book yet. But most importantly, I love the twists in this book, I love getting manipulated by suspecting a lot of people and making up theories of my own, I just love this book.
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Still not sure about this book? Read what others said about it:
- “Absolutely recommend this dark and twisted story with an ending that I definitely did not see coming.” – Berit @ Audio Killed the Bookmark
- “The reveals are fantastic—readers will not be disappointed with this one!” – Mackenzie @ PhDiva
- “Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller and a very satisfying read despite some difficult themes.” – Yvonne @ It’s All About Books