From the author of The Aftermath comes the story of a whirlwind friendship—and the dark secrets lurking beneath it.
After a tumultuous marriage, Mary Wilson is happy in her uncomplicated life, focusing on her twelve-year-old son. She’s always been content with her little family—but then she finds an old postcard that throws her whole past into question…
When an invitation arrives for her high school reunion, Mary jumps at the chance of a distraction from the shock discovery, and meeting her old classmate April feels like a gift. Despite barely remembering April, Mary throws herself into the new friendship and finds her previously quiet social life reinvigorated.
But as the bonds between them are forged, Mary finds herself drawn further and further into April’s life and marriage, increasingly fearing that everything is not as perfect as it seems. Is her own painful past clouding her judgement, or is Mary right to suspect that the people she trusts most are the ones with the most to hide?
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Average rating from 43 members
I absolutely love this book. It’s a perfectly put together story with great characters. I highly recommend it, a really entertaining read.
Mary Wilson is trying to get over a bad marriage by concentrating on raising her son, but when she stumbles across information that makes her doubt her very own identity, she’s badly shaken. A class reunion seems like a good way to take a night off from her worries and she soon chums up with old schoolmate, April. The two become fast friends, even though Mary isn’t sure she really remembers April from school. But is April who she really appears to be? Or has Mary, once again, put her trust in the wrong person? There aren’t a lot of surprises in this domestic thriller, but readers will enjoy the storyline
After a tumultuous marriage, Mary Wilson is happy in her uncomplicated life, focusing on her twelve-year-old son. She’s always been content with her little family—but then she finds an old postcard that throws her whole past into question… When an invitation arrives for her high school reunion, Mary jumps at the chance of a distraction from the shock discovery, and meeting her old classmate April feels like a gift. Despite barely remembering April, Mary throws herself into the new friendship and finds her previously quiet social life reinvigorated. But as the bonds between them are forged, Mary finds herself drawn further and further into April’s life and marriage, increasingly fearing that everything is not as perfect as it seems. Is her own painful past clouding her judgement, or is Mary right to suspect that the people she trusts most are the ones with the most to hide? Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for giving me an advanced copy.
“Never Tell a Lie” by Gail Schimmel begins with two friends going to their 20th school reunion. Both end up making connections with former classmates - and that’s where things start taking off. The main character is Mary Wilson, who has an enjoyable life - raising her son by herself, doing freelance writing gigs, keeping tabs on her wonderful father, and keeping in touch with her bestie Stacy. But between the reunion and helping her father clean out some shelves, Mary’s life becomes more tangled than she ever expected. This is a difficult book for me to review because I cannot say that I liked it, but I never disliked it enough to feel like I was close to not finishing it. Mary has a lot of baggage, and while for the most part she’s consistent in her thoughts/actions, some of her actions seemed inconsistent (such as telling someone to not contact her again, and then the next day wondering why she hadn’t been contacted); her son is having difficulties at school, but the reader never learns why; she reunites with a family member and says she’s hesitant about the relationship, but then (seemingly) a chapter later all hesitancy is gone. Also, one of my big pet peeves is unreliable characters - and April (former classmate at the reunion) and Leo (April’s husband) are two of the largest. Even at the end, I’m still not convinced that April’s version of everything is the true version (and, on that note, I saw the ending scene between Leo and Mary coming from a mile away - great foreshadowing from Ms. Schimmel). So, I think it’s a fair summary to say that while this book was interesting and engaging, it wasn’t the book for me, though I did like reading a book set in South Africa (braais!). I do feel compelled to add, though, that a book focusing on Steve, Joshua, and Stacy I might read as I found those characters reliable and entertaining (and consistent!).
This book was sent to me electronically by Netgalley for review…family secrets…intrigue…mystery…love…lies and deceit hurt those loved ones…finding a long lost relative…caring for family members…this author has woven a story that is intriguing and is a good read…the characters come alive on the pages and are memorable after the book is finished.
Good book! Wow! Lots of twists and turns in this one! This book had suspense, intrigue, nd a crazy storyline! And a bit of a who done it! It was a very interesting story! I definitely recommend reading this book! Its well worth reading! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!
Thank you Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for the eARC. Mary is a widow with a son and a loving, helpful father, living in Johannesburg. When she gets an invitation to go to her 20-year high school reunion she and her best friend decide to go and end up having a great time. She reconnects with a woman who she never really hung out with at school and they become fast friends. They meet often and slowly Mary suspects all is not well with her friend's marriage. She's drawn in more and more until it becomes a bit of a nightmare. Are her friend and her two children in danger from the father/husband? I really liked Mary and thoroughly enjoyed the first three-quarters of the book. But towards the end I had to suspend my belief a bit, it felt unrealistic and hurried and was slightly disappointed. Nevertheless I enjoyed it enough to order one of her earlier books. A good read that I definitely recommend.
Quietly Simmering Suspense… Quietly simmering suspense in this nicely crafted domestic drama where Mary Wilson discovers that the grass is not always greener in other peoples lives and when the past comes knocking on her door has she done the right thing by inviting it in? With an interesting premise, convincing narratives and a plot populated with a credible cast this is a solid, and engaging read.
This was such a compelling and gripping read that I could not put down. It was so well written with good charcaters and a believeable storyline that makes it clear that Gail Schimmel has a background in law. I really enjoyed it
Never Tell a Lie is a domestic suspense novel set in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mary is a widow raising her son with the help of her dad. On a whim, she decides to go to her high school reunion even though she doesn’t really keep in touch with anyone except her good friend Stacy. She reconnects with April, who she doesn’t actually remember, but can’t tell her that. During their time at school, April had some sort of incident but Mary doesn’t know all the details, although April assumes she does. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives—double dates and play dates with kids. As they grow closer, Mary isn’t sure exactly what is going on with April and her husband Leo, but she knows it can’t be good. and she wonders if she really knows April and if it has something to do with what happened when they were in school. The story moves along with a few elements of drama and then just kind of rapidly concludes. There are not a lot of thrills but there is some build up and a lot of questions about exactly what is going on. Can’t say too much without giving away a critical plot point. I do like that it is told from one point of view in a linear fashion with no flashbacks— rare these days! Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 3.5 stars.
Wow!!!! That’s all I can say. This was one of my favorite books. I was confused until the very end. By confused I mean, I wasn’t sure which character was lying. Great read!!! Great writing.
3.5 stars ⭐️ Never Tell A Lie was actually an enjoyable easy read. I enjoyed getting to know the main character Mary and how she opened up more about herself as the story went on, for instance with the truth of how Travis really was. The characters all went well together at the reunion which got me more invested in the story as I thought the lying would be focusing on her mother and father, but then it goes in a different direction. AND THEN even more twisty and surprising as I read on. I thought I worked out the truth and how the story was going to go BUT heck no and that really did took me by surprise. I really enjoyed reading this and was really pleased that It ended in a different way than I thought it was going to,
Absolutely fantastic book. The twists and turns were fantastic and I fell for each one. Mary is a loveable character and I grew to really like her. As I said the story unfolded so did she. She goes through some issues which are common for many people and it is written simply but beautifully. I couldn't put thisbook down and when I glanced and saw that I was at 95% I was sad. Its one of those books that stays with you. The characters for Leo and April are incredibly well written too. Brilliant, thank you for letting me read it.
3/5 stars i really don't know how to feel about this book.. i didn't love it, but i also didn't hate it it took me a while to finish because i didn't want to keep going at certain points. it wasn't the writing, i thought that was just fine. the problem was with the main character Mary. i just didn't understand her one positive thing about this book: you are left wondering who the real victim is the whole way through and that was enough to keep me hooked
One never knows when secrets are held how they can determine our life path and how things could have been different so much different. Mary Wilson has been raised by a single parent and loves her dad very much but wonders a lot about her mother who was killed and what her relationship with her would have been like. Mary attends a high school reunion and past friendships take on a new light. These lead to many eventful events happening and life is about to change. This is a strong story that I enjoyed right up until the end except for one thing. I really liked Mary's character throughout the book, she has great qualities and is someone you could count on if required. Then I felt the author spoilt the story near the end where Mary does something that I did not think was true to her character. Up until this point I would have given it 5 stars but this made me reduce them to four. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
I do love these type of domestic noirs, where the storyline is not so far fetched that you find yourself completely drawn in and gripped by the characters because this could really happen and because the characters are so complex and well written, you do find yourself rooting for the victim to get the upper hand..... of course..... its just not easy to always tell who that person is! Really enjoyable read
One of my most reads for 2021 This was such an interesting book, you didn't know who to believe and it really challenged your perceptions. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to read this book and thank the publishers and netgalley. I read this in one setting as I needed to know how the story would pan out and who was in the right - the ending was just brilliant. I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but this in no way influenced my review.
Thank you Netgalley and Author Gail Schimmel for this ARC. It took me a while to get into the story because the writing was choppy and jumpy and the main character rubbed me the wrong way. But the intrigue of the upcoming high school reunion she was attending and what would happen there kept me reading. It got more interesting when she reconnected with an old friend and they began to grow closer and closer with some twists and turns. All in all, this was a good read, however, I noticed several holes in the plot--mainly with the main character. I also wanted more red herrings and surprising twists leading up to the explosive ending.
3.5 rounded up It took a little bit to get into but once I did, I was hooked. I loved Mary, such a great character. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book
This is the first time I have read a book in the South African setting and the plot sounded intrigued to me so I was so happy when I got this as the ARC. Plot:- Mary Wilson has been living happily with her twelve year old son Django after a tumultuous marriage. She gets invited to a twenty year old high school reunion where she reconnects with many including a woman named April. Mary doesn't have any memories of April but the two become best friends. And soon, she finds that April is living a life of secret and lies. Writing:- The story is told from the perspectives of Mary. The story talks mainly about the victims of domestic abuse and the consequences it has on the victims. Mary herself was a victim of domestic abuse and so is April so I give five stars to the author for addressing such an issue. The writing was spot on. Initially, the beginning was a bit of a slow burn but gradually it got more intense with some twists along the way. However, I kind of expected the ending so the ending was nothing new. Overall, I was hooked into the story and didn't realize I finished reading the book until I came to the end! Characters:- April and Mary are victims of abuse and so I do feel sympathy towards their characters. I do like Mary having a strong father-daughter relationship with her father and also mother son relationship with Django. Overall:- this was a good thriller that will keep you hooked into the story--worth four stars! Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.
An intriguing book which explores many themes, including friendship, identity, relationships and motherhood. It's twisty and suspenseful as you're working out who to trust. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Only reluctantly, Mary decides to attend her school reunion. But somehow she is feeling an instant connection to April, a woman she hardly remembers. As the two women grow closer over the weeks, Mary, who has been an abused wife before her husband died, notices that something in April's picture-perfect marriage is terribly wrong. But why does no one else see the abuser in charming Leo? And what did really happen at school camp, and why does April keep mentioning one certain incident? My opinion: You guys, this book was AWESOME! It leads you in one direction, only to find out you're completely wrong. Then you think you've figured it out, but nope - wrong again! But you've certainly figured it out after that twist, didn't you? Guess what? You're wrong. And I loved being led astray by the author. And even though it covers really hard topics like domestic violence, Gail Schimmel somehow managed to talk about these topics in a sensitive manner and still write a book that is straight up hilarious. I found myself laughing hysterically multiple times. It might have helped that the character of Mary was so similar to myself. Not only did I see my strengths in hers, I also got annoyed by things that annoy me about myself and found her making mistakes I could've easily made. I loved Mary, and I loved the book! This was my first book by Gail Schimmel, and it certainly won't be my last! 😍 Parts of this book reminded me of: - Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris - A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
Thank you to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK, and the author for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review. It was a quick read for me and very clever because I thought I had it all figured out and of course, was wrong. Mary and the rest of the characters are likeable, except April and Leo and the woman who asks her guests to bring everything to her dinner party. There is a separate plot involving her father, and as Mary tells us, her father is very good at keeping secrets. My first thought was that her father had something to do with the accident and I feel the author wanted to go there but pulled back at the last minute. That would have been a hell of a plot twist. What I disliked about Mary, and consequently the last third of the book, was that she made relationship choices that made little sense, and she was aware the choices were wrong and made them anyway. It never bodes well for a book if I am shouting at the main character. Thank you, Netgalley.
Never Tell A Lie is a slow burn suspense fiction set in the beautiful South Africa and it was a smooth read for me. When Mary decides to attend her uni reunion with her other classmate she's thrilled to meet her old mates, although not too keen on it. Although, when she meets Alice at the reunion, she vaguely remembers spending any time with her at the uni. But Alice remembers something plausible between then, so it has to be true. Soon, these two start spending time with each other. Coffee meetings become play dates and soon they're double dating as couples. It gets weird when Mary starts noticing troubles in the so called perfect marriage of her new bff and her doubts and suspicions start rising above the brim. Is Alice who she says she is? Does she know the other woman really? There's tension rising right from chapter one and you can feel it creep under the skin as the story progresses which is done in a slightly slower pace. But I really liked the crisp chapters and Mary's character was so relatable that I didn't mind the slow burn really. It's what I call a bingeable popcorn read with plenty of twists thrown here and there to entertain the reader.
“We check their privilege for them, because they don’t check it themselves.” This book was very well written. Not much happened in the beginning, but it keeps you engaged and form a connection to the characters. I found some of it a little too smooth and wish there was more substance to her family. I did not like Mary. She is an unreliable and unconcerned friend. She complains that Stacey never cares about her rants, but doesn’t care about April’s rants and calls her annoying. She thinks April is dramatic and that Leo is not that bad and “no Travis”. Then contradicts herself by saying that she knows how controlling he can be and is unsure of him. She ignores obvious signs or shrugs it off completely. After April calls saying that Leo is going to kill her, she said that Leo is “better-looking than usual” She complained that April is a horrible drunk for no reason. At one point she says “I’m angry with April because she’s not as strong as I am. And I’m not sure if that’s fair.” and ALMOST jokes and says that she will hit her if she repeated herself one more time after she suspects that April is being abused. April did seem off, but I still enjoyed her character. I like Joshua, but I feel he was too easily manipulated by Leo despite his line of work. Leo really was a very charming man and easily manipulated every person in the story including myself Overall, I was engaged through the whole thing. I do not think domestic violence is something talked about as often as it should be and I encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out. Both men and women face this on a daily basis and I pray that you never forget how strong and brave they are.
This book was not very interesting to me at all. Sorry I just couldn't finish it. Thanks net galley.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Mary is a single widow with a 12 year old son. She reluctantly goes to her class reunion with her best friend. She meets up with an old classmate and the story takes off. They have a whirlwind friendship with dark secrets that reveal themselves. At the same time Mary has discovered her childhood is not what she believed it to be. She was raised by a single father, when her mother died.. or so she thought. One thing I found a little weird was how Mary talked about her 12 year old son. It was like she was talking about a small child, but when he spoke he sounded very grown. The twists were good. They were well-thought out. I was hoping there would be a twist involving her husband's death. The writing was so great. The way she describes her characters really painted a picture of them. Some characters were charming and drew you in. Some were deceitful. One part of the book gave me chills. Absolutely recommend! Thank you, Netgalley for the eARC of this book. I really enjoyed it. This book comes out at the end of November.
This book tackles the hard topic of abuse and pathological lying. It is a tough topic and a deep read. I would recommend this read to anyone. I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher. This is my honest review.
I couldn’t put the book down. I was compelled to find answers. This is my first book set in South Africa. Was an interesting setting. I didn’t know who to believe or what would happen next: there’s only one aspect at the end which made me mad and annoyed. It ruined the book for me a little. Still, the rest of the book was great. I’d read more from the author. She keeps you reading and guessing til the end.
Mother Otter! 😳 I cannot believe this novel! I kept going back and forth thinking I knew and what was happening and then agreeing with what was unraveling doing I'd change my mind but fluff sakes! I was wrong AGAIN! Absolutely crazy. I really enjoyed this novel. So flippin good! I suggest going in with NO expectations and don't trust your mind. Sheesh! What a mind ride. Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. Release date: November 29, 2021
This is my first book by Gail Schimmel and I will definitely be reading more. Never Tell a Lie is a rather tame domestic suspense novel, but it’s engaging and I couldn’t read it fast enough. I love stories about complex friendships and complex female characters. A school reunion has main character Mary becoming best friends with old schoolmate April—even if Mary can’t actually remember April from them. There are so many secrets wrapped up inside this novel. April has a dark past linking to an event at school; April and Leo’s marriage is abusive but the big question for a long time is who is the abuser; and Mary discovers her long dead mother isn’t actually dead. But the big plot centres around April—Mary believes her husband is abusing her, as all the signs are there, but Leo spins a convincing tale as he tries to persuade Mary that he’s the one being abused. Given we know April has done bad things in the past, this is plausible too, and the plot evolves into this twisty narrative where we and Mary are trying to work out who is telling the truth. Spoilers ahead: So, April’s character was so well written and developed for a long time. Leo’s character had less page-time, and so when he managed to persuade Mary to help get April sectioned in a psychiatric unit, I was surprised by how quickly that happened. And then we end up with time-jumps Suddenly weeks have passed and Mary is on her third date with Leo—where she discovers the truth, that April was telling the truth all along. And while I like that this is a great #MeToo story showing how men can hide their abusive actions and appear charming to others, I really felt like this ending was just too rushed. It felt like it all happened too quickly, like the pacing was off. This is my only complaint about the book, and so it’s a 4.5 star read for me. All the characters were all so well written, especially Mary’s son Django and her new boyfriend Joshua and her old friend Stacey. Even Mary’s parents felt real. The writing is well done and sophisticated. While I usually gravitate toward suspense novels with more action, this one still had me gripped.
Mary is a widow raising her 12-year-old son, Django. Her and her best friend Stacy reluctantly decide to go to their 20th class reunion and surprisingly have a great time. She reconnects with a bunch of old friends and one, April, that she doesn't really remember but seems to have a secret following her. April and Mary become close and Mary suspects that April is being abused by her husband. Mary is a free lance writer and the insurance from her late husband pays for Django's tuition. I really didn't like Mary very much. She is close with her father who raised her alone since her mother died when she was two. She makes everything about herself and even though Stacy is super supportive of her she never seems to return the favors. With April she is the same, always trying to think of a way to interject her troubles into a conversation rather than really listening to what April has to say. One of her assignments is to write reviews of whiskey for a small magazine. She never tastes the whiskey and writes some pretty lame reviews. She thinks it's funny that she is pulling the wool over their eyes but I found the behavior childish. Django seems like a good kid but really hates his name. He seems to have problems in school, perhaps bullying, but instead of getting to the bottom of it she only thinks of how she can get him out of the car so she can get about her day. There was a little bit of a thriller element and some romance with Joshua. I found the story easy to read and the setting was in South Africa which is different for me. I didn't feel a strong sense of place though. I would like to thank Netgalley and Amazon UK.
I was lucky to receive an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and opinion. This is the first Gail Schimmel book I've read and she definitely will be added to my list of must read authors. I felt that this was a very well written novel that will keep you wondering who the real victim is through out the entire book. I found myself up WAY too late into the night trying to finish it! Highly recommend!
I found this book utterly gripping and devoured it as quickly as I could. Just who is telling the truth? And who is lying? I was kept guessing right up until the end, as was the protagonist, Mary Wilson. We begin by accompanying Mary and her great friend Stacey to their high school reunion. Both are reluctant to attend, but end up having a great time reconnecting with classmates they hadn’t seen for 20 years. Mary doesn’t really remember April from school, but the two form a bond and soon become close friends. Can April be trusted though? There’s something slightly off about her. And there were some rumours about her behaviour at a school camp all those years ago….. Wow! I couldn’t put this down. I loved the relationships between Mary and her girlfriends, her new boyfriend, and her wonderful, charming father. Author Gail Schimmel hits just the right notes with the dialogue; it’s always thoroughly believable and utterly authentic. We gradually learn about Mary’s marriage and why she grew up without a mother. Never Tell a Lie throws out one surprise after another. Just as I stopped reeling from one unexpected revelation I was treated to another curveball. It was both great fun and horrific. Mostly, it was really compelling as the author manipulated me into continuously second-guessing myself. I honestly didn’t know who to believe or who to trust, and kept on flip-flopping. Apart from a novel Schimmel co-authored with Kate Sidley, under the pseudonym Katie Gayle, I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t read any of this South African author’s books. I intend to rectify that very soon.
Thank you for NetGallery for providing me with this arc for review. I enjoyed reading this book it tackles and explores issues around domestic abuse in a realistic way, whilst having a thriller element entwined.
This is such a roller coaster ride of suspense and mind games right from the first chapter. I didn't like Mary's character, however, that's not the kind of problem I would consider when rating a book. The book was unpredictable for the most part. Although the climax was a bit predictable and rushed. Still I loved reading this book.
Never Tell A Lie by Gail Schimmel. After a tumultuous marriage, Mary Wilson is happy in her uncomplicated life, focusing on her twelve-year-old son. She’s always been content with her little family—but then she finds an old postcard that throws her whole past into question… A good read with good characters. Likeable story. 4*.
A book dealing with domestic abuse and it's victims. The story of Mary and her friend April, both victims of abuse but as the plot progresses there are twists and this is where the lies come to the fore. Narrated by Mary, the characters are believable. Thank you Netgalley and Amazon Publishing for the ARC
Wow what a ride this book was. It starts with a troubled past, a school reunion and what did happen at camp? Abook that took the reader on a journey of guess who. Constantly altering who you believe and would you make the same conclusions and outcomes Mary did. From personal experience it was a hard book to decide who to velieve as both sides where well written and shows how a manipulator is very good at playing the victim.
She’s your best friend… but do you trust her? Oh, this was a juicy and exciting novel! I was hooked right from the beginning scene with an invite to a reunion. I loved the banter between the characters when discussing whether they would go or not. I knew I would like to read about the characters and that the reading would flow. The reading was easy and intriguing, and the suspense had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel. Lies are always interesting yet devious, and they always come back to haunt you. Mary can contest to that. She was living her life happily, with her lies tucked away and hidden, until they weren’t. As the lies start to unfold, so does her perfectly constructed life. Lies not created by her also began to be exposed, adding to her anxiety and turmoils. The relationship she had with her father was so interesting to me and led me to ponder what I would do and how I would react as each lie and truth were revealed. I questioned some of Mary’s parenting decisions with Django, but who am I to judge? Maybe if my life were built on carefully created lies I would do the same? We get to know Mary’s “friends”, how each one plays an important part of her life, and how she treats them. Who is the better friend? Who is the best confidante? Who is the reliable one? Some uncomfortable and sensitive topics are introduced but not only are they important to the novel, they are also important in general. I had my suspicions about a few things that happened, some were accurate while some were way off. I don’t want to give anything away so I will leave it vague. This was definitely a good read that you won’t want to put down.