Title- The Lie of the Land
Author- Amanda Craig
Published- June 15th 2017
Genre- Contemporary, mystery
Length- 432 pages
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can’t afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can’t afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can’t understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.
Mud, mice, and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.
Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer’s wife; and when Lottie’s innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever.
A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.
Review- I received an ARC of this from the publisher so thank you to them.
I expected a lot more mystery/thriller elements to this story and was left disappointed. This book basically has you following a bunch of characters as they go about their pretty mundane lives. If these characters were real, and you stalked them, the information in this book is exactly what you would come away with.
Very little happens in this book, it is what most people call “character driven”, rather than “plot driven”. Other books, like The Nest, are very much character driven too, and I’m not against that type of book, but the characters need to be more interesting if that is what you are going with.
The writing in this was often a little annoying and I’m not usually one to comment much on the quality of the writing, the story is what I care about most. Often the characters would be in a particular situation and then be thinking back to a previous “event” or conversation, which usually in books is fine, but here it was badly done. The tangent to the past was often so long that you would forget what the character is actually doing in the present which just made the story confusing. Time in general wasn’t well done. A lot of things were very detailed, with the story following things practically day by day but then occasionally there would be a much bigger time jump which really disrupted the flow. There was also a lot of skipping around between characters, which at times was also poorly done. The descriptions of things were also sometimes quite poor.
Some of the basic facts in this book are also wrong which always annoys me. A few bits to do with the specific university/courses are wrong but what annoys me most, like it always does, is the medicine being wrong. There is a blood “sample” in this book at one point, and what is done with that sample would NEVER happen, absolutely 100% would never happen, for several reasons. Also, if as an author you don’t know what is in the “blue inhaler” then don’t say it, though apparently the author does know, because the second time the drug is mentioned she gets it right. When such basic things are wrong I find it incredibly annoying, particularly when the correct information is so readily available. It’s also sloppy.
The last 10% of this book was mildly interesting but overall it was a bit of a struggle to get through, and it took me a long time to read it. It felt very long, and given the limited “action” it was a long book for what it was. One reasonably major character basically served no purpose until the last 5% of the book and what she did there could easily have been done by someone else. Cutting her out of the book completely would have been better as at least then the book would have been quite a bit shorter.
Overall I wouldn’t really recommend this, it’s just a bit dull.