“Am I the unreliable narrator in our story?”
To say that What Lies Between Us is explosive would be an understatement. John Marrs took what I would consider a domestic thriller and turned it on its head. This book was incredibly dark and left you questioning everything you were told at the beginning of the novel.
I loved how Marrs slowly introduced the reader to the disturbing world of Maggie and Nina. What Lies Between Us starts out seemingly normal. However, pretty early on Marrs shows us just how not right this entire situation is.
What I loved about this novel the most were the characters. Both Maggie and Nina have done terrible things in their past. Neither one is better than the other which begs the question – do any of us have the right to punish someone else for perceived transgressions when you yourself are not an innocent party either?
Not everyone loves the unreliable narrator aspect in novels. That is one of my favorite aspects of a book and John Marrs gave me two of them. The book flips back and forth between past and present, in both Maggie and Nina’s perspective, so we could find out what exactly lead to the current events.
Maggie was constantly at odds with Nina. She struggled between wanting to continue loving and protecting her daughter and trying to save her own life. While we discover what Maggie’s past is, one thing is made evidently clear- she loves Nina. No matter what. This internal tug of war made this story more believable. Which was much needed as some of the plot points seemed a bit too unbelievable.
Nina on the other hand believes there is no love lost between her and her mother. She’s the type of women who bad things happen too not the cause of the bad things in her life. For her entire adult life she’s spent her time focusing on the past. How different her life may be if something had or hadn’t happened to her. All she craves a stable family and a comfortable life. But Maggie has seemingly got in her way of that.
If you are looking for a book that will keep you turning the pages well after your bedtime, What Lies Between Us is the book for you. This book starts out with a fast pace and keeps it up until the very end. John Marrs is a master at revealing new truths behind events we had already assumed the outcome of. This type of revealing reminded me a lot of Sandie Jones’ books. The best part was that it didn’t seem messy or choppy. It was all beautifully crafted to make a tragic story even more tragic.
There was only one event in which I wish Marrs explored more. He does lay out clues that can point a reader into the direction as to what really happened which I appreciated. But I just wanted a little more and I can’t say too much without spoiling things.
I wished the ending of this book had turned out differently. But the way John Marrs ended this novel is really the only way it could have ended to keep in line with the trajectory the characters were already on.
In the novel, Nina drinks a lot of white wine so going into this pairing I knew I had to pick some varietal of white wine. I wanted something that was sweet yet had a bit of a bitter undertone with a flavor that had to be unpacked.
This led me to CK Mondavi and Family Chardonnay. Not all Chardonnay’s are bitter so if you like wines on the sweeter side, I think you can still drink this. CK Mondavi and Family describe this wine as crisp with a citrus aroma with pear and apple flavors. I think this pairs well with the many undertones we see in What Lies Between Us by accentuating the sweeter side of the story in the form of family, devotion, and love, while also playing on the bitter edges of tragedy and loss.
I want to thank NetGalley, John Marrs, and Thomas & Mercer for an advanced copy of this book. This one will be released on May 15. Make sure to set a reminder to pick up a copy!