Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Book CoverStevie‘s review of The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Women’s Crime Fiction published by MIRA 01 Jan 17

Stories of assumed or multiple identities are always intriguing, especially when the person living a double life manages to fool those closest to them, up to and including their spouse. This story is written from the wronged spouse’s point of view, starting at the point when she discovers her husband’s lie in the worst way possible – and with seemingly no way for him to give her an explanation or an apology.

Iris works in a prestigious private school, and is trying for a baby with her husband of seven years: computer programmer Will. Arriving late to work after seeing Will off to catch a flight to Florida, Iris encounters a mass of students speculating about a plane that just crashed. Although that flight was headed in the opposite direction to Will’s, Iris feels concern for the victims’ families, and for all those students indirectly affected by the news whether they knew the victims in any way or not. Her calm is shattered soon afterwards, however, when the airline releases a list of victims with Will’s name on it.

Iris spirals into grief and disbelief, more so when some of Will’s possessions are recovered from the crash site – none of the bodies are identifiable, because of the violence of the crash – but she recovers enough composure to start questioning everything Will had told her. If Will hadn’t been flying to Florida, what else was he hiding? Iris quickly discovers that the people she meets at a memorial for the victims knew a very different Will to the man she thought she’d married, and that none of the history he’d given himself matched his real family background. Unable to properly mourn a man she no longer recognises, Iris travels to Seattle – where the crashed plane was headed – with her brother. There they hope to meet people who can tell them about the real Will, even though Iris knows she’s unlikely to like what she’ll hear.

As Iris and her brother investigate, it becomes clear that Will was involved in highly illegal activities both in his far distant past and in the months leading up to the crash. Iris begins to have suspicions that someone is watching her with evil intent, possibly because Will isn’t really dead. Soon it’s hard for her to know who she can really trust, or how much danger she’s prepared to expose her family to in her search for the truth.

Although the story was quite well written, I found the characters hard to get to know. While Will is obviously a mystery, Iris and her family held few recognisable connections for me either. Though I quite liked the contrast between Iris and Will’s ultimately sham relationship and her brother’s happy relationship with his husband, I didn’t actually like or dislike anyone enough to care what happened to them. Although the book had some episodes of suspense and peril, much of the investigating and pondering by Iris and her companions felt very slow moving. I don’t really see where any of them might move onto after the story’s resolution, but I can’t bring myself to care much either.

Stevies CatGrade: C


Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and life is as close to perfect as it can be. But on the morning Will flies out for a business trip to Florida, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt: another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board and, according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers.

Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to uncover what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she finds shock her to her very core.

Read an excerpt.