Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

Contemporary Fiction 4*s
Contemporary Fiction
4*s

I have loved in varying degrees the five other books I’ve read by this author with last year’s offering, Little Lies being one of my favourite reads of the year, so I was a little surprised that I didn’t instantly warm to this book but happily I soon became engrossed about this tale of middle-class life in Sydney Australia.

Truly Madly Guilty charts the life of three couples; quiet Erika and Oliver are neighbours to the more flamboyant Vid and Tiffany so when Vid in a party spirit invites them to a barbeque on a day Erika’s best, and childhood friend, Clementine and her husband Sam are visiting they feel they should accept. Part of what makes the opening to this book so slow is the use of Liane Moriaty’s favoured device, we all know something huge happened at the barbeque but what the event was is shrouded in mystery, a very heavily signposted mystery at that.

Having got over the frustration of wanting to know what on earth happened in Vid and Tiffany’s back garden I concentrated on the smaller secrets that are revealed. Sam and Clementine have an enviable lifestyle, especially now that Sam has a new job. Their two daughters Holly and Ruby are beautiful and healthy although come with the associated niggles that children bring with them. Clementine is a cellist and about to audition for her dream job. Erika and Oliver are the besotted god-parents to the two girls and have both come from more troubled backgrounds than their friends. But all is not as it seems, Erika and Clementine don’t have a simply breezy friendship, rather these childhood playmates have a complex relationship. Of course Tiffany and Vid are oblivious to this fact and are enjoying the barbeque with gusto.

So once more we have a novel with a psychological bent concentrated at least in part on female friendship. The author, as always has a sharp eye (and pen) which details the everyday events that reveal something far deeper than is initially expected. Sadly, I didn’t find the humour, which is, for me, part of the pull of this author’s books but you really can’t fault her on her observations. The characters, their squabbles, their passions and their secret fears are all absolutely spot on. I felt I knew them all, I felt their guilt (yes this isn’t a title with no relation to the book!) as well as the more mundane emotions such as ambivalence, the author accurately writing about not only those things that are opposite ends of the spectrum of emotion but those middling ones which adds a real edge of realism which helps bring these people to life. And you should also be prepared for a whole heap of issues to keep you enthralled including IVF, hoarding, alcoholism, lap-dancing to name a few! Liane Moriarty’s dialogue was as sharp as ever, the exchanges between Erika and Clementine particularly really lift the book to another level.

The event when it is revealed is a good one, with all the characters behaving and displaying the whole range of emotions imaginable. So whilst this may not be my favourite book by this author I was left satisfied at the end of the book, with it making far more of an impression on me than I suspected it would.

I’d like to thank the publishers Michael Joseph for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book. This unbiased review is my thank you to them.

Published UK: 28 July 2016
Publisher: Michael Joseph
No of Pages 480
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Other books by Liane Moriarty

Little Lies (2014)
The Husband’s Secret (2013)
The Hypnotist’s Love Story (2011)
What Alice Forgot (2010)
The Last Anniversary (2006)
Three Wishes (2004)

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

20 thoughts on “Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

  1. You’re not the second trusted blog friend who’s said good things about this one, Cleo. And Moriarty is a very talented writer. I know what you mean, too, about a story that starts out more slowly. Sometimes that sort of story allows a lot of effective buildup of tension. Still, I think it is best if the reader has some investment in the story right from the start. But I’m glad you found a lot to like about this one.

    1. It was slow to get going but worth it in the end and used a scenario that is quite unusual as the big event – I did find the constant references to the barbeque a little jarring but I understand why the author chose to write it that way.

  2. I am a huge fan of Moriarty as well, and although I thought Little Lies deserves all kinds of attention – have you seen the pics of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman shooting the HBO adaptation? I die – I was saving Truly Madly Guilty for a good break. And then the break came I didn’t feel like reading the book at all. I have no idea why, but I think it’s not the right time for me yet. Having read your review, I think my bookish insticts were working since I need something trully engrossing for these first days of my summer break when my dream come true is 6 hours binge-watching The Good Wife.

    1. We recently finished the entire seven series of The Good Wife having started this year! I will have to watch the HBO adaption for sure. This one isn’t instantly gripping but it did grow on me.

      1. OK, this is not bookish but I have to ask: What did you think of the finale? Have you heard they’re doing a spin off with Diane and Lucca? I love Diane SO much.

  3. I just downloaded this book this week, and I’m eager to read it. I was a big fan of Big Little Lies (or whatever it’s called, the titles vary, LOL). I will hopefully find something to invest in early, but if not, I can look forward to the author’s trademark gifts of revealing big and little secrets, slowly. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I enjoy reading when a bloggers enjoys the writing style of an author that makes me rethink. I tried the Husbands Secret and DNF. Something about the slow build towards the secrets I don’t think work for me.

  5. I loved Big Little Lies and while I’m a little concerned this follows the same formula (big event happens then the rest of the book is how we get there) I’m still very interested in this one and can’t wait to read it! One of my more awaited books of the year given how fun I thought Big Little Lies was.

    1. I did prefer Little Lies (or Big Little Lies depending on the country) and I think this is her trademark device – however there was plenty to enjoy with this one too although sadly the humour was a little more restrained in this one.

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