When one of Ruby St James’ childhood friends, Danny, commits suicide, Ruby returns back to the place she grew up and the friends she left behind. Ruby has avoided Chatwick ever since she left to go to college and seeing her pals, Ally, Murphy and Emmett, at Danny’s funeral opens up old wounds. But Danny has got a surprise in store for the group of friends, as he leaves each of them an envelope containing a secret that they have hidden from one another. It seems the friends haven’t been completely honest with each other, and their secrets could come back to haunt them.
As the title suggests, this is a tale of friends and the lies that lurk under the surface of their friendship, but whilst the story is a solemn and serious affair, it is not as dark or ominous as might be expected. In fact, at the heart of the novel is a really beautiful, emotional love story, which for me was the glue that held it all together. The lies of the title don’t perhaps play as big a role as it’s implied and feature largely in the last quarter of the novel. Danny himself doesn’t figure as much in the story either. Indeed, the novel takes a somewhat different direction to what I’d been expecting and whilst I felt more could have been done with the secrets and lies, the love story hit all of the right notes and Coble, a debut novelist, proves herself a very adept storyteller. (JC)