Trust. Love. Honesty. These are all important ingredients in a happy marriage.

You might think all those ingredients are present in your marriage, but could you be deceiving yourself?

What if you couldn’t trust your favourite person in the world?

This is Iris’ dilemma in Kimberley Belle’s suspenseful third novel, ‘The Marriage Lie’.

What’s it about?

Iris and Will are deeply in love. They’ve bought their dream house and they’re trying for a baby; it seems life couldn’t get any better.

Then a plane crashes, killing everyone on board, and Iris’ stunned grief is compounded by intense confusion: the airline say Will was on the plane, but she knows it was the wrong plane; Will was heading to Orlando for a work conference, not Seattle, so he can’t be dead. He would never lie to Iris…would he?

As Iris digs deeper into Will’s life she begins to discover a very different man. Just who was her husband? Did she ever know him? And if not, was their whole marriage a lie?

What’s it like?

Dramatic. Emotional. Suspenseful.

The first chapter reveals a couple who seem deeply in love, physically attuned and genuinely caring. It’s hard to imagine how we could move from the happy, affectionate couple we meet in chapter one to a situation where Iris would question their whole relationship, but her discovery of Will’s initial deception is just the beginning of a steady stream of startling discoveries.

What makes this novel truly interesting is that Iris continues to love Will despite his lies – and she recognises that he loved her deeply, too, which makes their loss more meaningful. Iris is very clear early on that this isn’t going to be about another woman, another family, and she’s right. This doesn’t mean that she’ll blindly forgive him – she’s busy questioning whether or not she even knew the “real” Will – but it means they had something special, which ensures the ending packs a powerful punch…

Tell me more

Belle explores the agony of unexpected, brutal loss and the reasons ‘survivors’ of disasters cling together, but this isn’t a sad story. Instead it’s a gripping tale of discovery with multiple twists that will keep you guessing until nearly the end exactly what happened to Will and who is hunting Iris.

Woven into this dramatic narrative are glinting gems of humour and moments of tender family support. Iris’ twin brother, her parents and her new friend all help her in ways that are lovely and warm and which help to ensure that Iris’ immense grief doesn’t make the negative emotional weight in the story overwhelming.

Iris is sometimes a little too accepting of events for my liking. Someone leaves a brand new iPhone hanging off her front door handle and she just assumes it’s from a work colleague. Um, really? This is then NEVER REFERRED TO AGAIN. Later on she discovers a character randomly mowing her lawn and, after a brief query regarding his motives, just accepts it and even brings him a beer. Personally, I would object to such behaviour and want to establish some boundaries, but I am quite a prickly person in that respect!

Final thoughts

I found this story fascinating as I really wasn’t certain what had happened to Will until the very end. The ending itself was quite startling but, once I thought about it, everything that happened was perfectly in keeping with what had gone before.

‘The Marriage Lie’ is a great example of domestic noir which explores notions of responsibility and the effects of grief while delivering a twisty narrative that keeps you wondering.

It might also leave you questioning how well you know your loved ones!

‘The Marriage Lie’,
Kimberley Belle,
HQstories, 2016, paperback ARC (published December 29th)
Many thanks to the author and the publishers for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.