I’ve always been a big fan of Emily Giffin’s books, my favorite being The One and Only. Her newest release (releasing June 2nd), The Lies That Bind, takes readers back to the never-forgotten, tumultuous time of September 11th. The story was not what I was expecting based upon her previous novels, but I enjoyed it very much, nonetheless.
At the start of the story, 28 year old Cecily Gardner has just broken up with her longtime boyfriend Matthew. While Cecily wanted to move forward with their relationship, Matthew was kicking his feet, so she decided it was best to move on. Rather than spend another night at home alone, she goes to a local dive bar for a drink. Here’s where her story takes the first wild turn. As she sits at the bar, waffling back and forth on whether to call Matthew or not, a handsome stranger encourages her to put the phone down and not do something she’ll regret. Cecily feels an immediate connection to said stranger, a Wall Street day trader named Grant, who is soon planning to quit working and travel overseas with his twin brother, who has ALS. After sharing shots of tequila and talking to one another as if they’ve known each other for years, Grant spends the night with Cecily, promising to keep in touch and that they will see each other again. Over the next many months through emails, phone calls, and postcards, Cecily finds herself quickly falling in love with Grant, even with the distance separating them. She and her best friend Scottie even travel to London to see Grant while he is there for a trial treatment for his brother Byron.
When Grant returns to New York on September 10, 2001, they spend a final night together, and the next day, the world as they know it, is altered forever. Fearing the worst and trying to hold out hope, Cecily tries to contact Grant over and over to no avail. Her best friend and fellow investigative reporter encourages her to get closer to ground zero and work on the story, and if nothing else, it will keep her busy and help take her mind off of the excruciating reality of losing Grant. While talking to witnesses and other family members searching for missing people, Cecily spots a Missing poster with Grant’s face on it, and a phone number to call for information. Thinking that connecting with whomever else is searching for Grant will help her to grieve and heal properly, she puts on her reporter hat and calls the number, with the purpose of writing a story about Grant. Cecily is wholly unprepared for what and who she finds on the other end of the line. I call this plot twist one. You’ll have to read it to find out.
Then after reading for a while and getting comfortable again with things as they are, we come to a major plot twist two. Whew! I gotta hand it to Giffin, she really threw me for a loop while reading this!
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel about love, family, loss, forgiveness, and healing. The writing is solid and seamless, and readers will empathize with Giffin’s beautifully drawn, but flawed characters. I highly recommend this book for fans of contemporary fiction.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an early review copy.