Book Review: Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson

A deeply moving, beautifully-written picture of how the smallest crack in a relationship slowly, over decades, becomes a canyon too wide to bridge.

When Lucy meets Matt on a blind date, Matt is instantly hooked; he sees Lucy as the fun, sexy, and wickedly smart girl of his dreams. Although she’s still getting over an old lover, Lucy is won over by Matt’s sweet, thoughtful nature. But 20 years later, alone in an empty house trying to imagine the lives of her two young children, Lucy comes to realize that the little lies you tell can create more damage than the truth you’re hiding.

Release Date: November 5, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli

It's been months since I read Lies You Wanted to Hear and I am still thinking about this book.  I loved this book, and still can't believe how good it was.

As a parent, I was enraptured by the premise of Lies You Wanted to Hear.  The idea of losing my daughter is unthinkable.  I was ready to completely side with Lucy when I started the book.  What I found so incredible, though, was that the way Thomson writes both Lucy and Matt made me understand and empathize with both of them.  I really couldn't say whose side I was on because I felt like both of them were right in what they did.  I think that's the mark of a great author: to make readers picture themselves as the characters and have a hard time separating their own beliefs from the characters'.

Thomson's characters felt so real.  I felt like I was reading about people I knew in real life.  Lucy and Matt could have been anyone: neighbors, church members, fellow grocery store shoppers.  At some point during the novel, they ceased being characters from a book and became real people to me.  Their actions, thoughts, and emotions just jumped off the page and into my heart.  Lucy and Matt were both achingly human and flawed, but that just made me love them more.  

Speaking of characters, Thomson provided a great amount of character growth.  I loved that Lies You Wanted to Hear spans decades in time, because everyone in the book did a lot of growing up throughout the story, both physically and emotionally.

I keep going over the sequence of events that led to the abduction of the children.  I still can't say who was really at fault.  There was no clear-cut 'bad guy'; instead, there was a series of irrevocable , life-altering decisions made by both parents.  So many seemingly small events snowballed into one huge decision and that made the book so enthralling.

I think that ultimately what was so entirely captivating about Lies You Wanted to Hear was its plausibility and the thought that something like this could truly happen to anyone.  I really loved the slightly open ending for its realism.  It made the book feel even more authentic.

I still can't believe that Lies You Wanted to Hear is a debut novel.  Thomson writes like a seasoned author, and all I can think was that he hit a home run right out of the box.  Once I started this book, there was no stopping until I found out how the story would end.  I ended up staying up late into the night (with a sick toddler, which is usually unthinkable) and did not regret one second of lost sleep.  Lies You Wanted to Hear is soaring and simply outstanding, and I can't wait to read Thomson's next novel (I really hope there will be another one!). 

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