Thursday 20 February 2020

Book ~ "Lies That Bind" (2015) Maggie Barbieri

From Goodreads ~ In Once Upon a Lie, Maggie Barbieri introduced enigmatic soccer-mom Maeve Conlon, a single mother and bakery owner hiding dark secrets behind her cookie-cutter suburban life.

Now Maeve’s moving on with everyday life when the unthinkable happens: her father dies of a massive heart attack. Maeve’s mother died when Maeve was very young and growing up, it was always just her and her father. But on the day of his funeral, Maeve learns a shocking secret. She might have a sister she’s never met. Maeve knows her father would never have kept something like that from her ... unless he thought he had to.

Meantime someone keeps sneaking around Maeve’s bakery. At first the signs are subtle but then it becomes vandalism, and then it grows even more frightening. Could it be related to Maeve’s search for her missing sister? Maeve soon realizes it’s time to take matters into her own capable hands. But administering her personal brand of justice is a dangerous undertaking, and between the ever-watchful eyes of her family and the lingering attention she's attracted from local police, Maeve will be forced to decide just how much she's willing to risk in the name of justice. 

Maeve is a divorced mother of two teenage daughters.  Her ex-husband, Cal, had left her for her best friend and now they have a baby.  Maeve owns a bakery in a small town and her friend, Jo, is her only employee.  Her father, Jack, a former cop had recently passed away suddenly.

At her father's funeral, her former childhood neighbour who was always mean to her reveals that Maeve had a sister she never knew about.  As she starts digging, she discovers that her sister was developmentally challenged and put in a home when she was a child ... a home that turned out to be abusing its residents and many were unaccounted for when it was closed down.  Was Maeve's sister one of the ones who disappeared?

In the meantime, strange things are happening at the bakery.  A flour bin was left open, Maeve was attacked from behind and knocked out, and a finger was left in her fridge.  Christmas is coming up and she is happy to have a break from the bakery so things will hopefully settle down.

This is the second in the Maeve Conlin series and it works as a stand alone, though there are many references to the things that happened in the first one so you should read it first. I liked the writing style ... it is written in third person perspective.   As a head's up, there is swearing, adult activity and violence. 

I wasn't crazy about Jo, Maeve's best friend and employee.  She's now pregnant and weirder and slacker than usual.  I find her character a bit unbelievable.  I find Maeve's daughters annoying ... one just started university and the other is still in high school and they aren't very nice to their mother but she puts up with it ... no wonder she doesn't want to spend time with them.

This was a reread for me.  I'd read it five years ago but didn't realize it.  I didn't remember reading it so it was like reading it for the first time.  It's interesting and weird to note that the first time around I didn't like it and gave up after 60%.  For some reason, I liked it this time and look forward to reading the next one in the series.

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