Title: The Lies We Told
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Release Date: May 25, 2010
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
When Maya Ward was 14 and her older sister, Rebecca, was 18, a man gunned down their parents while the two girls were watching. Now, twenty years later, the Ward sisters are still dealing with the emotional and physical scars that event left on them. Both women are doctors; Rebecca works with a disaster relief organization, while Maya married a fellow doctor from the hospital and is settled down and trying to have a baby. When she suffers her third miscarriage, her despair, combined with a devastating hurricane in the Atlantic, sets off a chain of events that no one could have expected.
The Lies We Told was an intriguing women’s fiction novel that dealt with a lot of interesting issues and had a unique setting. I liked that a bulk of the book was set at hurricane disaster relief camps. Chamberlain does a wonderful job conveying the utter chaos of a makeshift hospital, as well as the strength and fortitude required to be able to do Rebecca’s job. Helping others was a central part of the story, and a wonderful message to be able to take away.
I really liked Maya, though she was very timid at the beginning of the novel. After her parents’ death, she always wanted to play things safe, afraid to take the slightest risk. She really grows over the course of the novel and comes into her own. She finds her inner strength; in some ways, she was playing the weakling because that’s what Rebecca and Adam (her husband) expected of her. Separated from them, she finds a way to live her own life and come to terms with her past.
Rebecca was a little more difficult for me. She was clearly a great person, devoting herself to helping others. Chamberlain did an exceptional job making Rebecca realistic and developed her incredibly well. In some ways, she’s living the role expected of her as well – strong and fearless. It’s only after doing some self-introspection that she realizes she wants some of what Maya has, stability and love, and that’s when Rebecca became a problem for me. She is clearly jealous of Maya, and her bitterness leaks out in more ways than one. As a result, I have to say I abhorred the end of the novel. While well-written, I just didn’t like the way things turned out!
The Lies We Told is a contemplative, well-executed novel that was enjoyable to read and utterly engrossing. It makes me want to go back and read Chamberlain’s entire backlist – she has a talent for writing characters that the reader will feel strongly about and creating emotionally gripping stories. The Lies We Told would make an excellent book club pick, as there is a lot to discuss, with both the characters and the plot, within its pages.