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Summary

Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger 2020.

She looked away for only a second....

Anne White looked away for only a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared.

Addictive, edge-of-your-seat dark women’s fiction perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, BCC drama Thirteen and Emma Donoghue’s Room.

©2020 Philippa East (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Breathtaking suspense, laser-precise observations and a mystery from which I could not look away. A phenomenal talent." (Holly Seddon)

"Terrifically well-written and engaging." (Jo Spain)

"Grabs you deftly and then burns to a searing conclusion." (Alice Clark-Platts) 

What listeners say about Little White Lies

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gripping exploration of how to drive love away

This is a great example of why it’s always a good idea for authors to run promotions if they can: Philippa East offered a Twitter giveaway a couple of weeks ago, and although I wasn’t lucky to have my name drawn out of the hat, the event brought the book (published in February) to the front of my mind, and I downloaded it on Audible after finishing my last listen.

It’s a debut novel, but I only know that because of the publicity materials - the book itself is exceptionally well-crafted, with three narrators - Anne, her sister Lilian, and her niece Jess - and one subject - Anne’s daughter Abigail who was snatched outside a London tube station seven years previously and is returned home at the start of the book.

The premise of the novel is simple - how we can tell one lie that seems insignificant at the time and it can turn out to have huge consequences. There are several such lies that fit the bill - one Anne tells her husband and Lilian and her brother-in-law help her cover up; one Abigail’s kidnapper tells that sets a chain of events in motion; and one Lilian tells with the best of intentions but devastating consequences.

One strength of the characterisation is that we never see directly inside Abigail’s mind, just read about her words and actions. She is mediated by the narrators Anne and Jess who love her almost too much. She in turn is complex, damaged, and, quite frankly, hard to like, and by the end what we see is a portrayal of the unconditional love that exists between parents and children. Abigail and Lilian have each managed to drive a wedge between themselves and the childhood companion who loves them devotedly - but whom they each think will always do so. Thankfully, they have a child or a mother who is able to love them in the way they need, and we end with sadness but hope.

There is much more I could say, but not without spoilers. I’ll definitely be looking out for future books by Philippa East, and recommending this one to friends.

2 people found this helpful

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Not for everyone

In my opinion, probably more interesting if you are a mother. And its not an edge-of-seat thriller as described, as nothing really happens for more than half the book - then it sort of comes together. It is beautifully written, but I think its more a drama than a thriller.

2 people found this helpful

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Great thriller

Highly recommended. A great read. Keeps you on edge till the end and keeps you guessing.

1 person found this helpful

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what an annoying bunch of characters

I nearly gave up several times, would have liked to slap the Lillian, ann and Jess, the adults lacked empathy and depth. while Jess's obsession with her cousin surely warranted some psychological investigation. Jess's dialogue was incongruous flowery and intense, while all the other characters were very basic, even when the story was told from their point of view.

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Misophonia- you may struggle

Story was good & I didn’t guess the ending. The narrator who plays Jess has loud salivary swallows. This won’t affect you unless you have misophonia, if you do you may find it too hard to listen to, as I did.

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Overwritten and overwrought

A ridiculously overwritten novel, with too many (predictable) twists and a cast of thoroughly dislikeable and utterly idiotic characters. I resent the fact that this is described as "women's fiction"! The readers both had really annoying voices - the one reading the Anne's parts in particular had inconsistent vowels which really grated. It saddens me that this is/was a popular book.