What Lies Between Us,
by John Marrs
Publication: Thomas & Mercer; May 15, 2020
Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.
They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.
Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.
But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way—even if it kills her.
Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.
Dear God, please help me find the appropriate mental health professionals needed in order for me to recover from this book!!! It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I come across a novel that once I am finished, I will set it down, close my eyes, and ask myself (and I mean this as the highest form of praise),
“what in the hell did I just read?”
What Lies Between Us is the deliciously dark and twisted story of Nina and her mother, Maggie. The novel opens with a prologue about someone no longer mattering and it sets a very creepy tone right off the bat. Nina is a thirty-something single woman that works in a library. Her mother, Maggie, is in her sixties and lives upstairs in the attic of their home. When I say she lives in the attic, I mean that she is held captive wearing chains cuffed to her ankle and only gets to come downstairs for dinner with Nina every couple of days.
This story is told from both Nina and Maggie’s POVs and alternates between the past (ranging from 2 to 25 years earlier) and the present. I enjoyed the format and the flashbacks to the events leading up to the present but quickly suspected that neither Nina or Maggie was a reliable narrator. At first, it seems that Maggie has done unspeakable things to Nina throughout her life and this is Nina punishing her. However, as the novel progresses, each woman’s truths slowly start to reveal themselves.
Did I mention how dysfunctional these women are?
Besides touching on the blurb and the extreme psychological issues represented in this book, I can’t say much more about the overall premise without spoilers. But what I can say, is that this is without a doubt one of the most entertaining and surprising novels that I have read in quite some time. Every time that I found myself thinking something was true or thinking that I had figured something out – I was wrong. Every single time. John Marrs took me on a trip through crazy town with a ton of stops I wasn’t expecting. This novel isn’t fast-paced, per se, but it is so addictive you will not want to put it down. With every chapter and honestly, every page, things just continued to spiral into more dysfunction and madness. And it was absolutely brilliant!
I highly, highly recommend What Lies Between Us to fans of domestic and psychological thrillers. There is not a happy ending and it will certainly make you pause and take a breath several times, but it is fantastic. John Marrs is a new-to-me author but I now plan on checking out everything this man has written.
Oh yes – I read that Renee Zellweger’s production company purchased the TV rights to this novel and I am already losing my mind with anticipation imagining this as a nice, long series on Netflix! Congrats to John Marrs!
*Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion!
1 thought on “Book Review: What Lies Between Us, by John Marrs”
This makes me even more concerned to read it than before 😂 But now I MUST! Everyone is doing such great job of keeping this book shrouded in mystery when writing their reviews!
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