Good Little Liars

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Haunting and extremely suspenseful.  
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Denham House is an excellent all girls school and a class reunion for the girls who graduated twenty five years previously is being planned.  The story evolves around three friends, Emma, Marlee and Harriet who have all been haunted by the death of their friend Tessa days before the graduation.  Emma has always had her doubts that Tessa’s death was accidental.  After having to leave their home after her husband left her,  Emma and her daughter move into the old Head’s cottage on the school grounds as she works at Denham House.  In the cottage she discovers an explicit photo of Tessa and this stirs up all her suspicions of their old teacher Dr Brownley, who is now the Headmaster and is also the brother of Harriet.  Emma starts to question the events of 1993 and finds that all her friends remember the event differently but they are all hiding secrets of their own.  The story is told from the perspectives of Emma, Marlee and Harriet with flashbacks from twenty five years ago.  This is a really good debut book, with likeable and believable characters.  A compelling and recommended read.
Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
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In Good Little Liars the main character Emma is haunted by the death of her friend Tessa. Twenty-five years after Tessa's death, Emma finds herself back at her old school and discovers an explicit photograph of Tessa. This discovery leads Emma to ask questions and head down a determined path to find the truth. Her determination draws in her old friends Marlee and Clementine, each who are trying to deal with their own feelings and experiences from 25 years ago. 

Alternating the POVs in this book was a lovely touch. It allows the reader to understand a bit of what is going on in each of the women's' minds. 

I would absolutely recommend this book to a friend, and plan to suggest it for my book club.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for my honest opinion on this book.
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First off, a huge thank you to Bookouture for the eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

I feel terrible that it took me forever to get to this book, but once I did I read it in two huge sittings.  On a road trip but still, it really kept me engaged from start to finish.

It all started back in school with a dead classmate, and a group of friends that are just full of secrets and lies.  In the present day, a large group email is sent by accident which opens up the can of worms again in relation to the deceased student.  Someone saw this, someone heard that, and all of a sudden the whole mystery is on everyone's minds again.

There are multiple different viewpoints being told within the small circle of friends, each with their own issues, lives, marital problems, and point of view on the situation.  It flipped around enough that I stayed pretty interested as I would want to get back to one woman or the other.

The part with Emma and the house keeper, omg😂.  Also some parts with Marlee and Ben😂

It all ended a little conveniently once they figured out what happened, but it wasn't a terrible ending.  There was one character mentioned in the epilogue portion that hadn't been mentioned before and I didn't know what it meant!

All in all this is a funny mix of mystery, drama, women's fiction, bit of a thriller at times, and a whole lot of lies to unravel.  I would recommend for readers who enjoy multiple points of view and seeing storylines come together!

Thank you again to Bookouture for the advanced copy!

Blog post can be seen at 
https://onenursereader.wixsite.com/onereadingnurse-1/post/good-little-liars-by-sarah-clutton
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Emma held the photo for a long moment before her eyes focused on the girl’s face. She dropped it and let out a muted cry. The girl was Tessa.
Loving wife and mother Emma rarely thinks about the day twenty-five years ago that her friend Tessa fell to her death, or the secret that she made Emma swear to keep just hours before. But when her marriage implodes, Emma and her daughter find themselves moving into the headmaster’s former cottage on the grounds of her old school – Denham House. And there, Emma finds the photograph: an explicit image of Tessa, looking directly at the camera.
Old friends Marlee and Clementine, are home for a reunion. But they don’t want to talk about Tessa’s accident, and with the demands of single parenthood, Emma has plenty to distract her… but she can’t shake the image of the photograph. Or the thought that it’s proof of something she had long suspected: Dr Brownley, now headmaster, was involved with Tessa. Was it a mistake to keep quiet about what she knew?
Marlee and Clementine have their own complex feelings about returning to their hometown. And when Emma starts to question what really happened to Tessa, each woman must deal with the consequences of decisions they made all those years ago. Because the more Emma digs into the past, the more she discovers that everyone remembers it differently, and that the innocent schoolgirls she thought she knew are hiding some very big secrets.

This is a really good debut novel from the author.
Well written plot and story line that I found engaging from the start.
Definite whodunit that kept me guessing til the end with all the twists and turns.
Good characters that had a bit of humor mixed in to their dialogue. Found them believable. 
Will be looking out for more from this author.
Recommend reading.

Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Good Little Liars by Sarah Clutton for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.
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Everyone experiences events differently depending on how it affects them.  This is the basis of any school reunion ever.  Add in some huge life changes with their accompanying challenges and the emotions stirred when returning to the scene of a friend's death, and you have the setting for an excellent mystery.  This is exactly what Sarah Clutton gives us when she stirs the lives of a group of friends with the realization that they just maybe did not know each other as well as they thought.
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The best thing about this novel is the free-spirited character of Clementine. I would read a book just about her and her wacky adventure. Unfortunately, that’s not what this book is about. Nor does it hit the page-turning excitement that the marketing promised. 

The first problem I had with Good Little Liars is that more than half of it has nothing to do with the promised mystery/thriller in question. Instead, readers are tasked with spending way too long with a large cast of characters who are dealing with problems such as divorce, infidelity, unwise hookups, workplace drama, etc. There was so much of this going around that the characters started to blur together in my mind. 

By the time we finally get to the promised secrets and death, I barely cared anymore. Even worse, there were a few maddening inconsistencies. Oh, and the big reveal of how their friend died decades ago was so anti-climactic that it made me sorry I hadn’t DNFed the book early on. 

Spoiler Alert...
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Okay, so it was said that Jonathan had jumped into the construction pit after Tessa and needed to be helped out by firefighters. Yet later on, when the whole story comes out, Jonathan was nowhere near the scene of the incident by the time help came. He also didn’t jump in the pit. Hell, he didn’t even go beyond the fence. This major inconsistency really bothered me. 

Also, the so-called guilty party kept going on and on about how she pushed Tessa and was a murderer. That’s not at all what happened, though. Instinctively reaching for something that blew into the air isn’t the same thing as pushing someone. It sounds like what really happened is Tessa lost her footing and the “murderer” lost her grip on Tessa’s sleeve. Nowhere in the big reveal is there anything to indicate that Tessa was pushed, whether accidentally or on purpose. 

Finally, the sudden change in Harriet’s personality made zero sense for her character. Because of all of these frustrating plot holes, I had a difficult time enjoying this book. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.
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It's been twenty-five years and the only thing any of them know for sure is that Tessa died that day. But reunions have a way of digging up old memories. Emma hardly even thinks about it anymore. However, when her marriage suddenly ends, she moves and discovers a graphic picture of Tessa that changes everything. Maybe her death wasn’t an accident. Her former classmates Marlee and Clementine are hardly different—they’ve tried putting that horrible day out of their minds as well. As Emma probes the case, though, stories start to slip, and she soon realizes some of her classmates would rather their secrets remain forgotten.

Author Sarah Clutton opens with Emma responding to a class reunion email by using the ‘reply all’ function rather than addressing her best friend, Marlee, directly. It’s a simple mistake, but it spirals into a series of complications. Clutton carefully maneuvers this opening, dropping tantalizing bits that all might not be as it seems. Emma, in outwardly questioning such a traumatic moment, opens wounds in her classmates. And yet, with even the most minimum of probing, it’s obvious that something is amiss in the original story of Tessa’s death. But what? Well, it’s deliciously complicated.

While the mystery and the investigation are compelling, what makes everything click is Clutton’s attention to character. These are multidimensional women, each with their own complicated lives, and Clutton expertly explores these avenues. Emma navigates the break-up of her marriage. Marlee juggles a new architecture job with a new relationship. Clementine, a now famous artist, is thrust back into life with her mother. Perhaps above them all looms Harriet, Clementine’s mother and the woman always tasked with holding everything together. Their relationships with each other are sometimes tenuous in the way that former classmates often are, but Clutton weaves them together as real people dependent on each other because of a past they’d rather avoid.

With the alternating viewpoints of the four women, Clutton teases out clues as to the real truth before settling on an explosive finish. She combines tight dialogue with some beautiful prose and the result is a fully-realized world—one that just happens to have a mysterious death at the center of it. Somehow both quiet and pulse-pounding, Clutton has tapped into the perfect formula for a page-turner.
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Great cover, that's what drew me in in the first place. I loved this book. I highly recommend it to anyone. Great characters which I connected to .
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Good Little Liars by Sarah Clutton was a book I was looking forward to read as I love to read books by new authors. I found this a good page turner throughout as I love family drama's that's full of lies with deep secrets we all try to keep hidden to protects from those who we love.

Twenty-five years ago Emma lost her good friend called Tess in a tragic accident. Emma is happy and settled in her life and rarely thinks about her friend Tess and that day Tess fell to her death or the secret she made Emma swear to keep just hours before it happened! 

Emma holds an explicit image of Tess, looking directly at the camera and stares at the face within the photo for a long time. She drops it and lets out a silent cry. 
When Emma's marriage collapses, Emma and her daughter moves into the headmasters former cottage on the grounds of her old school called Denham House School. This is where Emma finds the old photo of Tess.
Emma catches up with some old school friends  Marlee and Clementine, and Emma has plenty to distract her….........but she can’t shake the image of the photograph of her friend Tess. The thought that it’s proof of something she had long suspected: Dr Brownley, now headmaster, was involved with Tessa. 

Was it a mistake to keep quiet about what she knew?

Should Emma say something about Dr Brownley, who was involved with Tess all those years ago? or is it too late?


Big Thank you for to Bookouture and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
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Good Little Liars is women’s literature in the purest form. Clutton brings us a whole class of women who are gathering for a reunion. They each have secrets and betrayals, but the author brings them all together in an interesting way.

I had a hard time with this novel. I found it interesting, but not that entertaining. The synopsis is fantastic, and that is what drew me in, but I was completely unsatisfied. The death of their classmate is supposed to be the big mystery of the book. However, when the reveal did come, I was underwhelmed.

The author describes the setting well. I saw all the buildings, houses, offices, etc., as if I were right there. I felt as if I could run my hand over the chipped mantle to the fireplace in the cottage on campus, and I saw these characters. The author built a beautiful world for me to enjoy.

Unfortunately, this was not enough to redeem the book entirely in my eyes. The storyline had so much potential, but it fell flat for me. For these reasons, I award Good Little Liars 3 stars out of 5. I still recommend this novel to those who love chick lit. Take a walk through the campus grounds with the girls. I hope you enjoy it.
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Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Good Little Liars 
By: Sarah Clutton 

*REVIEW* 🌟🌟🌟
Did you have any big secrets with your schoolmates that you swore to never tell? I didn't, but I know I would completely freak out if someone told. In Good Little Liars, a school reunion plus the revelation of some dark secrets equals a lot of trouble for some characters. Who and what can be trusted? I enjoyed the story, but it's not very unique. It's interesting, engaging and well written, but it's also predictable. As a thriller, it's an average read. The story kept my interest, but it was slow going at times, and I nearly put it down. Overall, it's okay but not remarkable.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. 

I loved the narrative description for this book.  Clutton is a great picture painter when it came to the scenery.  

The basis of the book is a School Reunion where some of the attendees share a dark secret.  A secret that they thought was buried but when one of them mentions the secret in an accidental "Reply All" email,  crap hits the fan. 

The reunion itself doesn't actually take place till the end, but the book focuses on the build up to the reunion and establishes the characters and the secret itself.   

Many reasons why I enjoyed this book.  First, its actually my age genre (My 25th reunion is coming up) so its actually pretty fun reading a book that I can relate to more than I can relate to some of the other books.   That being said though, there were some points were the book seemed to be dragging just a little bit and I was getting bored and easily distracted.  This isn't a mystery...there really isn't any big reveal or anything like that.  Its a good dramatic read.  

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
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Intense and chilling thriller with shocking secrets ! A delicious and twisty page turner ! A must read ! Thanks to Netgalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read and review this book ! #Netgalley #Bookouture #GoodLittleLiars
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I absolutely enjoyed reading this book from the beginning to the end. The secrets and lies throughout kept me guessing. This was my first book by this author but will not be my last !!! \
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EXCERPT: The photograph tumbled across the grass, blown by a short, cool gust of November wind. It slowed for a moment and the girl in the image was flipped onto her face. Across the other side of the oval, behind the old camellia hedge near the north gate, the girl herself lay equally still. Her school uniform had been lifted, well above regulation length, by the playful bend in her left leg. Where her upper body had taken the blow, bone had sheared the fragile nerves of her spinal cord, leaving her neck thrust sideways. Her nose had bled only briefly, the blood trickling like a single tear-drop into the curve of her lip. A shadow loomed over the trench in which she lay. After a moment, it disappeared and all was still again.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Twenty-five years after losing her friend Tessa in a tragic accident, Emma’s life is happy and settled. She rarely thinks about the day that Tessa fell to her death, or the secret that she made Emma swear to keep just hours before. But when her marriage implodes, Emma and her daughter find themselves unexpectedly moving into the headmaster’s former cottage on the grounds of her old school – Denham House. And it’s here she finds the photograph: an explicit image of Tessa, looking directly at the camera.

Between catching up with old friends Marlee and Clementine, who are home for a reunion, and the demands of single parenthood, Emma has plenty to distract her… but she can’t shake the image of the photograph. Or the thought that it’s proof of something she had long suspected: Dr Brownley, now headmaster, was involved with Tessa. Was it a mistake to keep quiet about what she knew?

Marlee and Clementine have their own complex feelings about returning to their hometown. And when Emma starts to question what really happened to Tessa, each woman must deal with the consequences of decisions they made all those years ago. Because the more Emma digs into the past, the more she discovers that everyone remembers it differently, and that the innocent schoolgirls she thought she knew are hiding some very big secrets.

MY THOUGHTS: After a good start, this read just fizzled out for me. It took the first third of the book for things to come together so that I could see the connection between the various characters, and then after that it all got a bit messy....right through to the end which was an anti-climax.

I believe that this is the author's debut novel, and she can write, as is demonstrated by the excerpt above and another which I will add shortly. I think it is more the lack of cohesion in the story that didn't work for me. That and the anti-climactic ending.

There was a lot going on in this book, perhaps a little too much at times. A word of advice? - keep it simple.

A lot is made of an email that Emma replied to all on....but really? It wasn't worth the amount of page space taken up by it. There were far more interesting angles that could have been explored. Emma is certain that Dr Brownley is responsible for Tessa's death. The cottage that she moves into when her marriage breaks up and where she finds the photo was, at the time of Tessa's death, occupied by Dr Brownley. BUT, he for a time had a flatmate there....an art teacher. A male art teacher. The photo is artfully posed. This could have been an interesting possibility, but the art teacher is never mentioned again, so I really can't see why he was mentioned in the first place.

While this is not a book I am going to recommend, this is an author I am going to keep an eye on. I believe she shows promise.

My favorite quote from Good Little Liars: 'Tessa was a chapter from a book she had read long ago. It was a crazy idea that you could take that book off the shelf to read it again and the words would be different.'

2.5 stars

THE AUTHOR: Sarah Clutton is an Australian author and former lawyer whose debut novel, Good Little Liars, mixes suspense and domestic drama with nuanced characters. Having majored in psychology in her original degree, Sarah is fascinated by people. How does the past shape us? Can we can learn empathy? What determines the outcomes when moral and legal boundaries collide?

Sarah's work earned her the Dymocks/Fiona McIntosh Commercial Fiction Scholarship in 2018, a coveted national award run by one of Australia's most successful commercial fiction authors and sponsored by Australia's largest book chain. An alumna of the Australian Writers' Centre novel writing course, and with a mostly-finished Master of Arts (in Writing) that she has no interest in finishing because she prefers making stuff up, Sarah lives with her family in the very pretty tourist town of Bowral, near Sydney. She has lived all over Australia, and if she didn't live in Bowral, she would live in Hobart, the most beautiful city she knows.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Good Little Liars by Sarah Clutton for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
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A network of school friend, a headmaster, lots of secrets and lies. This well told story has many twists and turns as it all unfolds 25 years later. I gave it 3.5 stars rounded to 4. Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Denham House School has been one of the foremost girl's school for over a century. Emma was once a pupil & now works in the administrative office there. As her 25th Reunion is coming up it brings back the memory of her friend Tessa, who died just before graduation. Emma has always had a nagging doubt that her death wasn't the accident it was claimed to be. Did the now headmaster have something to do with it? Intending to send an email to her friend Marlee, she accidentally sent it to everyone in her year- along with some very personal details about her marriage! 

The story revolves around Emma, Marlee & Clementine. At first I got rather confused with all the characters & how they fitted together, but once I got that established I found this a good engaging read. It threw up a lot of surprises and kept the pages turning.

Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book. I really enjoyed it.
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Good Little Liars is fantastic and solid début from Australian author Sarah Clutton and as the book is set in Hobart, Tasmania, this satisfied the escapist in me!

A class reunion for women who graduated from Denham House School, an exclusive all-girls boarding academy, brings back memories of a classmate whose untimely death just days before graduation has haunted a few of them. Tessa Terrano's death was deemed an accident, but was it really? 

This story was told from several viewpoints that offered alternative perspectives on what happened to Tessa and with oodles of drama, an ominous vibe and a large cast of characters, I really enjoyed reading it. It was fast-paced and skilfully told, the well written narrative pulling in all of the different strands, resulting in an extremely interesting tale. 

I could relate to many of the characters such as Emma, Marlee and Harriet, whilst not always liking them or their behaviour. Emma works in the office of the well-respected school she once attended herself and is best friends with Marlee. Now an architect, Marlee has just moved back to Hobart from Melbourne. She is godmother to Emma’s daughter but her return is clouded by a secret she carries. Fifty-nine-year old Harriet is an acclaimed QC and her eldest daughter, Clementine, was born just after her mother left Denham House. Clementine is a famous artist now living in Prague and has returned to Hobart for the reunion and her mother's approaching sixtieth birthday. Clementine and Marlee were at Denham House together, along with Emma, graduating twenty-five years ago and Harriet herself attended Denham House over forty years ago on a scholarship. 

Sarah Clutton has done a superb job in making them all believable and to be able to feel the emotions of each of them as I delved deeper into the story, further reinforced how well they have been brought to life. 

This really was one delightfully dysfunctional story! I was gripped right from the start and was completely caught up in the drama of it all. It was a very emotive and intense read and although Tessa's death really wasn't the main focus of the story, it was still extremely compelling.The narration and the fast-paced plot had more than enough about them to make me want to keep reading. The writing really flowed in this wonderfully crafted, slightly disturbing tale. Full of complexity, the ending was most satisfying. 

This was such a strong début from Sarah Clutton, who has a style all of her own. I think she is definitely an author to watch out for and I look forward to many more books from her. Overall, I'd say that this novel is a little gem and a book that I'm so pleased to have read. 

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Bookouture via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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When I started Good Little Liars, I knew it would be a story about secrets, maybe lots of secrets, but I was not at all prepared for the depth of the secrets. For Emma, Clementine and Marlee, they come to find out that that things are not always what they seem at Denham House. Emma is a woman to be admired, a strong person who defies authority to get at the truth. We know right from the get-go that she is tenacious, I loved that the women in this book were portrayed as strong and most had amazing careers. I am so tired of wishy-washy female characters, so this was a refreshing read.

As we get deeper and deeper into the story, there are so many questions. What and who happened to Tessa? Who's all in on whatever happened, did someone, other than Emma, know more?? So many questions. This book will hook you from the very first page and won’t let go even after you read the very last word. It’s one that you will truly enjoy reading and won’t want to skip a word. It’s wonderfully written with believable characters. Believable story. It is a mix of mystery and chick-lit. I sped through the book as I needed answers just as much as Emma did—what an intense ride. I loved every minute of it.

In Good Little Liars, Sarah Clutton weaves the perfect mix of genres with complex characters and a fast-paced plot shrouded in layers of mystery and suspense. I flipped through the pages eager to uncover the many secrets, and Ms. Clutton skillfully kept me guessing right up until the very end. Readers are in for a real treat. Buckle up.
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