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April 13, 2024

The Lies Among Us by Sarah Beth Durst ~ a Review

by MK French

After Hannah's mother dies, no one seems able to see her. Grief-stricken and alone, she looks for answers as to her identity. Seeking out her sister Leah, Hannah finds out that Leah can't see her, either. Hannah sees other odd things in the world, as well as Leah going down the same self-destructive path that killed their mother.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel The Lies Among Us by Sarah Beth Durst
April 2024; Lake Union; 978-1662514722
audio, ebook, print (333 pages); women's fiction

Hannah is spectral and rarely interacts with the world. We find out right away about this, as well as why others can't see her. Leah can't see or hear her and has no fond memories of their mother. She's bitter and angry and sees her entire childhood as being peppered by the little and big lies their mother told. It's hard enough to go through grief with a parent who's loved, but Leah's emotions had long since burned out to nothing. At the same time, Hannah isn't exactly a ghost, but something completely different. When someone is able to interact with her, she is determined to find out exactly what she is and how she came to be, helping her sister as much as possible.

The title comes from the fact that lies can take form in a fashion, whether in the shape of the thing lied about, or a hazy fog. The poisonous lies, especially those spouted when talking about politics or misogyny in bars, are an acidic muck that burns and destroys. While there's a check on the spread of such lies, it can only go so far. I loved this aspect of the world that Hannah lived in, largely unnoticed by people around her. As much as she lives a lonely life, she has incredible love as well, as we see her innocent hope as she journeys to find a purpose in her life.

We also see Leah's life story and how the lies she grew up with persisted and shaped her; much of what she did was in opposition to how she was raised, but lies were also the first coping skill she leaned on to try smoothing out the edges of her life. The glimpses we see of her mother, of the way grief shaped her and began the legacy of lies, is incredibly sad. This became the template for Leah to follow, even if she didn't intend to; in the end, Hannah's gift to her is done in love and hope for a better future. It's beautifully written and imagined, taking me across Long Island and Queens, then dipping into Garden City. It added a hefty dose of nostalgia for me, adding to the theme of grief and longing within the book.

Buy The Lies Among Us at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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  1. Oh wow . . . this book sounds very thought-provoking (if not sad). And I like how they show lies are not just untruths told to someone, but can take many forms.