The bit on the back...
Perfect family, perfect house, perfect life; Jane, Madeline and Celeste have it all . . . or do they? They are about to find out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control.
Jane hasn't lived anywhere for longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic coastal town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane feels as if she finally belongs. She finds friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste, two women with seemingly perfect lives - and their own secrets.
But at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies.
It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .
I've had a copy of this book for quite a while - over two years at least - because I remember when I opened the book post as it came with a daisy chain head band too. The copy I have even has the original title - Little lies. So quite a while. I've only recently gotten around to reading it to coincide with the TV series starting, as I prefer to read a story before watching an adaption. I am particularly glad I read the story first in this case because, once again as with The Girl On The Train, the setting is completely different! Usually that would really bug me, but since I was fortunate enough to holiday in Monterey last Summer I have seen fit to forgive as it meant I could reminisce and point at the screen and exclaim wildly that "I'd been there!".
The story follows the families of Pirriwee. There are three main families focused on throughout the novel primarily featuring the mothers in each family - Jane, Madeline and Celeste. Jane is a single mother to her son Ziggy, making the move to Pirriwee to give him a better life. Celeste is mum to twin boys and wife to the gorgeous, and on the outside seemingly perfect, Perry. Madeline is mother to three children and wife to Ed. Each of the women have completely different family circumstances yet their friendship bond is incredibly strong.
Madeline was the most prominent of the three main characters for me. She is the centre of most dramas, either accidentally or on purpose and she enjoys meddling in her friends life - although there is a fine line between meddling and helping which Madeleine rarely recognises and always crosses. Celeste is an ethereal beauty who never seems tethered to the story throughout. Her storyline is perhaps the most disturbing and turbulent. Her strength of character really develops as the story goes on and I found myself coming to admire her. Jane's backstory unfolds throughout and features heavily in the twists throughout the novel.
The novel is told in chronological order leading up to the incident which isn't fully disclosed until near the end of the story. Interspersed between chapters are extracts from witness statements giving glimpses into incidents leading up to the main event, opinions of characters and a slight, only very slight, insight into what might have actually happened. Your interested will be piqued from the very beginning of this story and the way that Moriarty has spun the story it will keep you guessing right until the very end.
I'm definitely glad I read the book before watching the series as there were many things that were changed or completely unique from the book that it would have annoyed me if I'd gone back and read the book at a later date. I'm definitely looking forward to reading Truly, Madly, Guilty and again will do so before the adaption.