This review contains minor spoilers.
Reading the prologue of After the Lie swept me back to my childhood. I found myself laughing when Lydia spoke about trying to tape songs from the radio, slathering herself in baby oil to get the best tan (what were we thinking?), and flicking through Smash Hits. I normally don’t like prologues, finding them superfluous, but I loved this one for the wonderful trip down memory lane it gave me.
I really enjoyed Kerry’s writing style. It had a “real” quality to it, almost as though Lydia and I were sitting in a coffee shop and she was telling me the story of her life.
You discover what “The Lie” is fairly early in the book, and when I read it, I remember thinking, “That’s not such a big deal – especially when compared with today”, but what I realised as I flicked through the digital pages is that Lydia was rather expertly manipulated by her domineering mother into thinking this one mistake would direct the course of her life. And it did. Which is exactly why, at the age of forty-three, Lydia’s life begins to unravel in a rather spectacular way.
I found Lydia a very sympathetic character and even though she makes some life choices I would never have made (Tomaso, the Italian playboy as an example), not once did I find myself judging her. I understood exactly where she was coming from. She tried to do her best for her family, and the fact she was so sympathetic is all down to Kerry’s writing.
When she finally trusts a female friend with a secret, I knew instantly that decision would come back to bite her some time later in the novel. I wanted to stop her, as I knew Katya couldn’t be trusted, and I think Lydia also recognised her mistake as soon as the words were out of her mouth.
Although technically a drama, the book has lots of funny moments too, mainly provided by the family dog, Mabel. Having two dogs myself, her antics had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. She’s definitely not a side character!
I would highly recommend this book for those who like an easy read with real characters and, particularly if you were a child in the seventies and eighties (before the delights of the internet), you will enjoy the trip down memory lane.
The only slight niggle I had (and this is a personal pet peeve), was the overuse of the word “that”. For me, “that” is a filler word and, more often than not, can be removed without impacting the sentence. In fact, it often enhances the meaning. But this minor issue would not prevent me from recommending this book to others.
Four wonderfully uplifting stars