Alice Feeney / Book Review / Reviews with Spoilers

Alice Feeney | Sometimes I Lie

The Book: 

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
Published March 13, 2018 by Flatiron Books
Date of re-read: August 14, 2023

The Characters: 

Amber and Paul
Amber’s sister Clare
Amber’s boss Madeline

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

This page contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made through links on this site.

The Plot (from Goodreads):

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

How did Sometimes I Lie end?

Click here for book spoilers for Sometimes I Lie
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Sometimes I Lie, I suggest you turn back now.

The Spoilers:

The novel is told from the perspective of Amber Reynolds, who is in a coma but can hear everything that is going on around her. She is married to Paul and works as a radio presenter. The story is told through multiple timelines: after the accident, while Amber lies in the hospital trying to remember what happened; before the accident when Amber was dealing with trouble at work, a suspected cheating spouse, and an interested ex; and finally through childhood diary entries.

I thought this book was very well-written and that the reveals unveiled themselves at a perfect pace. Listening to it again, I can definitely see how the framework was laid for each reveal.

In the “before” timeline, Amber went for a drink with her ex Edward and woke up in his house without remembering the night before, despite only drinking lemonade. Edward had been stalking her–his walls were covered with pictures of her. The next day, Clare told Amber that when Edward wouldn’t leave Amber alone after they broke up in college, Clare had sent a bunch of letters to the medical board from different women complaining about his conduct. She told Edward that the letters were from Amber.

The first lie revealed was that Amber wasn’t a presenter on a radio show, she was just Madeline’s PA.

Jo was Amber’s imaginary friend, which was foreshadowed by the radio episode about imaginary friends. When Clare heard Paul mention Jo, she was reminded of Taylor’s childhood imaginary friend and suspected Amber was still making her up.

The diary was written by Amber, not Clare. “Taylor” was Amber’s maiden name, and when Taylor was introduced Clare mentioned that she went by her surname. Clare saw her parents to be neglectful, but on a second listen I think they were doing their best and Clare twisted the things they said. The family had to move because the house belonged to Clare’s great aunt, so Clare set fire to the house, killing both of her parents. She said she did it so that she and Taylor could stay together forever. She also manipulated Clare’s parents into deciding to adopt her instead of sending her to live with the aunt.

Current-day Edward wasn’t a doctor, but a porter working in the hospital…because Clare, posing as Amber, had sabotaged his medical career. He was angry and wanted revenge on Amber, so he was giving her drugs to keep her in the coma. He raped her. Paul had set up a camera in Amber’s room, so he recorded it.

Madeline, Amber’s boss, was Clare’s godmother and aunt. She still lived in the house that Clare had set fire to and killed her parents in. The last diary entry after Clare killed her parents in the fire was “Taylor told me do it” so we don’t know which one was crazy.

Once Paul saw Edward assault Amber on the recording, they fixed the drugs he had given her and Amber remembered what happened the night of the accident.

Paul had found Clare’s diary, the one the reader has been hearing snippets of. He mentioned them to Clare, and then told Amber that Clare went crazy when he did. Paul hadn’t read the whole thing, but Clare thought he did, and Amber knew Clare would try to kill him to keep her secrets. Amber went to Clare’s house to convince her not to but went into labor I think, so Clare convinced Amber to let her drive her to the hospital.

Clare had been driving the car when Amber was hurt. She crashed it to end Amber’s pregnancy to keep being the most important person in her life, and also to threaten Amber into not telling Clare’s secrets. To protect herself and her husband, Amber set fire to Clare’s house while Amber was watching her kids. She set Madeline up to take the fall, and signed the blackmail notes she’d been sending to Madeline with Clare’s name (payback for what Clare did to Edward). She burnt all the diaries.

The Ending:

Amber and Paul got custody of Clare’s kids, so the reader assumes she died, but at the very end of the book their childhood bracelet is left in Amber’s hotel room, implying Clare is still alive and watching her. The ending is somewhat ambiguous: was Amber crazy or Clare? Both of them? We can’t trust Amber’s narration, because sometimes she lies.

What did you think?

I’d love to speculate about what the ending meant.

What was up with “Taylor made me do it” in the diary?

I personally think this is Feeney’s way of getting us to question everything Amber said, because we know she lies. It’s thrown in there to make the reader wonder if Amber or Clare or both were crazy. I think both: but I do think the diary was really Clare’s and she wrote that to point the finger at Amber if any one ever suspected her of her parents’ murders.

Is Clare alive?

I think signs point to yes. She left the hospital with the bracelet, so I think she’s alive and watching Clare. I don’t know why she wouldn’t come forward and prevent the murder trial against Madeline, but that could be a plot hole. My other speculation would be that Clare gave the bracelet to Paul and asked him to give it to Amber on her next birthday or something, but Paul didn’t confess when Amber asked where the bracelet came from.

I saw a theory online that Clare was never real–that Amber made her up just like she made up Jo. This would explain a lot: their shared birthdays, why Clare’s kids called Amber “mum” at the end, why there were no bodies found when Clare’s house burned down presumably with her and her husband in it. It doesn’t entirely make sense though, because Paul had conversations with Clare on the page. Madeline was being charged with Clare’s murder–but Amber and Paul left town, so maybe Amber and Clare were the same person and Amber made it look like she had been murdered before they left town and Paul was in on it to get a book deal out of it… I know I’m getting too far into the weeds!

The Review: 

My ten-second-spoilers post of Sometimes I Lie was my most-viewed spoiler post on the blog, but it was also one of the earliest books I wrote spoilers for, so they weren’t that thorough. I loved this book, so I decided to give it another listen in order to improve my spoiler post.

This is one of my favorite thrillers. I think the storyline comes together expertly, and it’s impossible to guess what’s coming next. Did you like it?

Follow me on Bloglovin’!

Love spoilers? Check out my full list of ten-second spoilers here.

We're trying to grow our mailing list. If you join us and stick around, you will automatically be entered into two giveaways as a token of our thanks. And that's just the start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *