Book Review – Lie, Lie Again by Stacy Wise

First published, 1st January 2021

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The story follows three neighbours – Embry, Sylvia and Riki – and the trials and tribulations of their interconnected lives at 1054 Mockingbird Lane.

Stay-at-home Southern Belle and young mother, Embry takes care of her growing family while her husband Brandon looks to conquer Hollywood with his winning smile, devastating good looks and ever-increasing desperation.

Riki plays second fiddle to her sister who lives overseas, while she lusts after Embry’s husband and bangs her head against a brick wall, trying to make learning fun for little children, while their parents create havoc with her lesson plans and insist on her teaching according to their ideals.

And Sylvia, blessed Sylvia, sits, eating pastries with her boyfriend, on the weekends, in the mornings, blissfully unaware that he harbours a secret that will drive her to the edge of her sanity.

When the new owner of the apartment complex comes along, determined to turf the residents out and turn a profit, the three women must manage their own problems (boyfriends, marriages, babies, lies), and deal with the new one, impending homelessness, and a body at the foot of the stairs.

All the characters were really well-written. I could picture all of them and enjoyed getting to know them. The interpersonal problems between the women were very well-observed and incisively depicted.

I was surprised at how young Sylvia was. She’s dark and sarcastic and very funny, but for some reason, I pictured her at least twenty years older than she is. However, there are various hints throughout the text about her traumatic past. It’s quite possible that she came across as older because she’s been through a lot. In any case, I delighted in the Sylvia scenes:

“Sylvia turned up the volume on her TV until it was loud enough to drown out the sounds of the teacher wailing like a wet cat in the apartment below. And that boyfriend of hers. For God’s sake, he sounded like a fat football player grunting through his last set of jumping jacks.”
29% in, Chapter Twelve, Lie, Lie Again by Stacy Wise

Although there were some convenient plot twists – moments where serendipity made everything come good at the right time – the characters had, by that point, been through so much, they deserved a little bit of luck, so I’ll not begrudge them that.

And I loved the ending. There’s nothing more exciting than a determined woman with a spinning moral compass. Go, Sylvia.