"Lie Still" by Julia Heaberlin is a riveting novel. To me it was an artful, slightly dark but emotionally genuine cross between the almost laughably shocking Deep South gothic story (think "Steel Magnolias," "Fried Green Tomatoes," or "The Secret Life of Bees") and something like the compelling, raw "The Lovely Bones." Every page will compel you to stay and read more.
From external appearances Emily, the protagonist, would seem like any other woman in her early 30's: happily married to a strong man, healthily pregnant with their first child, living out the usual dreams of housewife. But Emily finds herself reacquainted with a past she would rather erase or at least let go of for good in a dramatically unexpected fashion when she and her husband move from their New York City apartment to the small but colorful and secretive fictional town of Clairmont, Texas. It is fictional only in name, as the events that happen in the town and the past that twines its way amongst the residents (particularly the women who belong or compete to belong in "the club") will strike the reader as anything but fictional. In fact, Clairmont and all that occurs in this book will probably stay with the you for a very long time......as if the whole account happened in real life.
Of course the author not only wrote a compelling piece of fiction, she had a message behind the story. A worthy and yet too often overlooked or ignored message. I deeply appreciated the transparency of the main character and the truths thread throughout this book. There are a few slightly graphic descriptions that are nevertheless masterfully used. I mention them as just a warning to anyone who does not feel they can or want to read anything slightly graphic. But like I said, this book is an original work and even the graphic parts contribute to the story as a whole, not detracting from it in the least.
I would give "Lie Still" 4.5/5 stars.
Thanks to Random House Publishing Group and Net Galley for a free advanced copy of this book for me to read in exchange for an honest review. Please note that my review is original. The publication date for "Lie Still" is set for July 2, 2013. Look for your copy then!