The Liar’s Chair – Rebecca Whitney
‘What if the thing you were most afraid of was your husband?’
Rachel Teller and her husband David appear happy, prosperous and fulfilled. The big house, the successful business . . . They have everything.
However, control, not love, fuels their relationship and David has no idea his wife indulges in drunken indiscretions. When Rachel kills a man in a hit and run, the meticulously maintained veneer over their life begins to crack.
Destroying all evidence of the accident, David insists they continue as normal. Rachel though is racked with guilt and as her behaviour becomes increasingly self-destructive she not only inflames David’s darker side, but also uncovers her own long-suppressed memories of shame. Can Rachel confront her past and atone for her terrible crime? Not if her husband has anything to do with it . . .
A startling, dark and audacious novel set in and around the Brighton streets, The Liar’s Chair will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final page has been turned. A stunning psychological portrait of a woman in a toxic marriage, Rebecca Whitney’s debut will show that sometimes the darkest shadow holds the truth you have been hiding from . . .
Thanks to Sam Eades for my review copy.
When you read The Liar’s Chair you have to be prepared for a harrowing experience. This is no gentle fireside read, this is a tale of two unlikable people tearing each other apart. The Liar’s Chair pulls back the curtain on a loveless marriage and exposes the lengths that Rachel and David Teller are prepared to go to in their attempts to control and humiliate each other.
Rachel is having an affair. David is controlling, suspicious and dominating and Rachel is afraid of him. As the story begins we meet Rachel coming home from meeting her lover, she is half drunk and distracted by how she will cover her liaison from David. She is driving too fast and kills a homeless man in a hit and run accident. Only before she runs she hides his body.
From this point Rachel’s fragile defences start to crumble. She struggles to maintain the polished image of her perfect life and becomes an increasing liability to David as their business starts to become impacted.
Through several flashback chapters, Rebecca Whitney also takes us back into Rachel’s childhood where we see her troubled childhood and learn how she played second fiddle to her mother’s constant pursuit of sexual gratification.
As the story progresses the animosity between David and Rachel increases, violence and retribution escalate and you cannot help but think that at least one of them will not make it to the end of the story. Yet because they are both such unlikeable characters you are not sure that this is necessarily a bad thing.
As I reader I found my sympathies lay more with Rachel than David. Rachel is the lead character and it is easier to understand and follow her motivations and reasoning. However, her actions are far from saintly and I cannot honestly say that I was happy when she came out on top during one of the many spats that took place.
A puzzling one – is it possible to fully enjoy a story where you don’t like any of the cast and the book seems intent on showing everyone in their worst light? In the case of The Liar’s Chair I would suggest that Rebecca Whitney shows it can be done. While I am not sure I ‘enjoyed’ the book, I found it compelling reading and am recommending it to my book loving friends (with a warning of dark times ahead). If a book is compelling and recommended then it must be doing something right!
I give The Liar’s Chair 4 out of 5 and suggest that it suits readers that like a dark edge to their plots.
The Liar’s Chair is published on 15th January 2015. You can follow Rebecca Whitney on Twitter : @RebeccaJWhitney