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Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan


Helen Callaghan’s ‘Everything is Lies’ is one of those thrillers which catches you up and has you reading into the small hours.


Sophia is an ordinary-enough young woman pursuing a career in architecture in London with an ordinary-enough enjoyment of nightlife, alcohol and men. Her background is also ordinary. Her parents live in a country village where they own and work in a cafe and garden shop. Her mother is a little reclusive, her father a little disengaged but, in Sophia’s eyes, there is nothing out of the ordinary.


Even the slightly desperate-sounding phone call from her mother asking her to come home isn’t unusual. Certainly not unusual enough for Sophia to leave the party she is at, since Sophia’s mother not only loves her daughter but is far too reliant on her as well, and suggestions that she comes home aren’t all that rare. But what happens when Sophia’s conscience gets the better of her and she returns to her parents’ home next morning is far from normal.


As Sophia deals with the shock and grief of losing her mother, seemingly to suicide, and finding her father seriously injured as a result, it appears, of her mother attacking him, she begins to discover secrets. Her mother has completed a book that is about to be published which is written as a letter to Sophia, herself, telling her of a past Sophia could not have imagined.


Sophia is taken by her mother’s writing into the world of a cult dominated by the charming, sinister and dangerous leader, Aaron Kessler. As well as providing engaging characters and a riveting story, it convincingly demonstrates how a young woman, with little self esteem may be enticed into and captivated by a group which can destroy her and, as Sophia learns about her mother’s past, she gains insight into her own.


Sensitively written, ’Everything is Lies’ is the perfect book to curl up with over a winter’s weekend.


Reviewer: Paddy Richardson

Penguin Random House, RRP $37.00

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