Book Review: The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

Book Title and Author: The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter
Publication date and Publisher:
Genre: Fiction, Southern Gothic, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 382 pages
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Date Read: June 7, 2017 (Kindle)

5 Stars

In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty­-year­-old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies.
Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.
Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.
Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

My Review:

The book gods have been blessing me with some outstanding reads lately! I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve such riches but all I can say is please keep the wonders coming my way!

The Weight of Lies was another new author first for me, but Emily Carpenter has a new fan! Southern Gothic is one of my very favorite genres of writing, and that was the reason I was dying to read this book! Carpenter has outdone herself in the genre, and she has used all that is dramatic, macabre, a little bit of good and evil, broken and twisted in body and soul, lonely, and desperate that is part and partial of the genre and written a story based on what we here in the South refer to so lovingly as our personal and family traditions and folklore to create a powerful and unforgettable novel that will be able to stand the test of time along the likes of classic Southern Gothic great authors such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Truman Capote or more recent authors like John Berendt, Cormac McCarthy or Toni Morrison.

I was blown away by this incredible book, no, this book within a book! I’ve never in all the books that I’ve read, and I have read thousands of books, read a book written in this brilliant format. And I want more! For every chapter that tells the story in the present of socialite Megan Ashley, a snippet of the cult classic book Kitten her mother Frances Ashley wrote 40 years ago is interwoven between! Again, it’s just genius, but not at all confusing to follow along as you read the book even if it may sound that way! Although I’m still trying to figure out how Carpenter was able to keep straight the characters from her Kitten book and her characters from The Weight of Lies while writing the story! What makes this book go from zero to Southern goth is the creepiness factor going on between Kitten and what is occurring in the actual book! It’s as if the stories are somehow mirroring each other at times, but that makes the story more macabre and more of a page turner. I honestly could not get through this book fast enough because it was so fantastic.

One of my favorite parts of this book was Meg’s investigation into the story behind her mom’s bestseller Kitten once she decides she wants to write a tell-all exposing Frances as a neglectful mother and exposing all the lies her mother possibly told when she wrote Kitten-lies that dangerously damaged a woman’s reputation and left the hotel where the story was based on in disaster and financial ruin. Bonny Island, Georgia, where the hotel was located is mysterious, eerie, and gloomy like you would expect in a gothic novel; yet, it was beautiful and majestic too with its wild horses, ramshackle though a still lovely hotel (in the way of a faded Southern belle), and has a gorgeous atmosphere.

Another amazing thing about this novel is that it has quite diverse characters. Carpenter not only addresses issues of racism, but she also addresses many of the atrocities that happened to the Native American tribes since it ties in with the history and story on Bonny Island. I think this is so important because we as readers need to be educated about such vital pieces of history, and I admire Carpenter for handling such a sensitive subject in such a gracious and thoughtful manner. Excellently done!

I can honestly say that I never saw where the ending was heading in this one as Meg uncovered a huge, huge mess of lies her mother had spun! I thought I had figured out one thing when the plot went in a completely different direction! It was fantastic not to have the story figured out two-thirds or halfway into the book for a change! There was a fantastic twist at the end that completely floored me! I highly recommend you read this asap!

*Thank you, NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Emily Carpenter for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion!*


6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

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