What would you do if you saw a girl in a crowd whose face had the same, identical birthmark as your only child?
A child who, nearly ten years ago, you were told died?
It's 1935 and housewife Emma glimpses a face in a crowd – a little girl with a very unique birthmark.
Transfixed by the sight of a stranger; Emma becomes convinced that the girl is her long-lost daughter taken from her at birth. There is only one problem: Emma’s daughter is dead. So who is the stranger?
THE LIAR follows Emma’s journey as she tries to find out what really happened to her daughter - a journey that unearths secrets from the past and ends in obsession...
Emma has never recovered from the death of her newborn daughter, Violet. Emma's husband George is a local doctor who doesn’t even try to understand his wife’s pain, or is that merely seeing things from Emma’s perspective?
My first clue was that Violet’s conception is shrouded in mystery, giving Emma a sense of not being deserving of a live child.
Emma, and Ruby, the child who becomes the focus of her obsession, narrate their own stories with their unique perspective on their lives which accentuate the vast differences between the lonely wife of an affluent doctor and the child who suffers a different kind of neglect in a home where the matriarch earns pennies from sewing aprons.
The writing is beautifully woven and evocative, in that things we all see, hear and smell but don’t necessarily register as we walk through life are brought to our attention. By doing so Ms Wells conjures a place which is familiar on many levels, and especially to those brought up in the suburbs of London pre-WWII.
Emma and Ruby have their own paths which the reader must tread to discover the truth of who in this story is the Liar. Emma, Ruby, George, Maud, or maybe life itself has skewed everyone's truth so it's no longer recognisable? An intriguingly enigmatic story and one not to be rushed.
I received a digital copy of this novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Anita Davison is author of The Flora Maguire Mysteries from Aria Fiction