Title: Little White Lies
Author: Philippa East
Published: February 1st 2020
Publisher: HQ Fiction – GB
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
She only looked away for a second…
Anne White only looked away for 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.
‘Here she was, my cousin, whose absence had always fallen like a shadow on our friendship. The playmate Lena could never quite replace. Lena had stopped believing she would come home. But here she was, returned. Real.’
Little White Lies is the debut novel from British author Philippa East. A contemporary psychological fiction novel that looks at the return of a kidnapped girl after years away from her family, Little White Lies examines truth, lies, regret, pain, family estrangement and trauma. Little White Lies was a riveting, but emotionally difficult read.
What is the harm in telling a tiny little white lie from time to time? This concept is examined in Philippa East’s debut novel. Little White Lies is the story of a mother, her young daughter and a missing person’s case. When Anne loses her daughter one day at a busy train station, it takes seven years for Abigail to finally make it home. In the meantime, Anne has been racked with extreme guilt, but she is also hiding something, that will come back to haunt her when her daughter returns. As mother and daughter struggle to reconnect, Anne is worried that Abigail will remember what happened the tragic day she disappeared.
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t tell a lie or two. However, this turns into a living nightmare for Anne, the main protagonist and mother figure in Philippa East’s debut novel, Little White Lies. A tense, complex, sensitive and twisty novel, Little White Lies looks at the devastating loss of a young child to a family unit and the aftershocks this event has in the long term. The shock return of Anne’s missing daughter after seven years away sends the focal family unit of this tale in a complete spin.
I was interested to learn of the author of Little White Lies, Philippa East’s background. I feel East has really drawn on her strength in the field of psychology, delivering a powerful novel that rips apart a family unit and a kidnapping case. This is tricky terrain, but East takes it in her stride, Little White Lies is an assured and informed debut. The author is clearly versed in the area of family dynamics following the loss of a child and she delves into the repercussions of the unexpected return of a child. Little White Lies is a story that allows the reader to play around with the scenarios it presents and step into the difficult shoes of the characters. I think the presentation of the main subject matter was realistic and compelling.
Little White Lies is delivered in a double point of view style narrative. The unfolding story is told through the perspectives of an adult, the missing child’s mother, along with Jess, a cousin who is exactly the same age as the missing girl. These perspectives were contrasted well and although it was hard at times to connect to Jess, as she was quite immature, I could see that her perspective was needed to provide an overall picture of this fascinating story. The chapters are quite short, which helped me race through this novel in a short time frame. East ensures that her readers are thrown off kilter more than a few times thanks to some well plotted and unexpected plot twists. Overall, I found the pace in this novel to be pretty swift, which will afford fast readers the opportunity to read Little White Lies in a sitting.
With themes of family, relationships, trauma, loss, remorse, mental anguish, confusion, guilt, lies, estrangement, disconnection and secrets circulating around this novel, Little White Lies is an emotionally draining tale. Thanks to some clever plotting and underhanded narrators, this one really pushed my assumptions out the window!
It is definitely worth turning to debut novelist Philippa East’s first novel, Little White Lies if intricate and entangled psychological based thrillers match your preferences.
Little White Lies by Philippa East was published on 1st February 2020 by HQ Fiction – GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Little White Lies, Philippa East, visit here.
*I wish to thank Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.