ISBN-13: 978-0778333432, 352 pages
March 14, 2023
“You have no idea what it means to be a Southern woman, but you’re about to find out.”
In Alabama, Southern women will protect their families no matter the cost, even if it means taking care of some messy business, building a brick wall of secrets and lies, and then serving a cool glass of sweet tea with a smile.
While under a cloud of suspicion after her husband’s mysterious death, Pearl Williams takes in her four young grandchildren when their parents are killed in a car accident, with Tara, June, Clementine, and Walker growing up and stumbling into their own missteps and fabrications. Even Clementine, who was only an infant when their Gran took them in, does not escape the compulsion to add to the midden of deception that comes so easily to this family. Tara’s teen daughter, Lottie, and Walker’s wife, Stephanie, complete the circle of Williams girls, bound tightly together by a deadly circumstance and the need to protect each other from themselves, the men in their lives, and the law.
Kristen Bird presents a fabulous family of Southern women who artfully cover up truths with plenty of lies and come together in solidarity and complicity to ensure their family remains intact. While everyone in I Love It When You Lie is flawed, the men, even the sisters’ brother, come across as secondary and expendable, if necessary. The women adroitly rule the roost, even as they bend under the burden of their own mistakes, poor choices, and recklessness. Gran taught all the girls well, and after her death and during her burial, she helps them once more by accepting one or two final secrets into her grave.
I Love It When You Lie is a true literary treasure that will entertain readers with its Southern charm and heartbreak reality of handling consequences by simply covering up the facts, scrubbing away the evidence, and standing your ground. The pacing is naturally quick as the reader dives into the sordid stories of each Williams girl. Stephanie, as the sister-in-law and outsider, is quite the unknown variable because of all the dirt she has amassed on this family over the years. With knowledge comes power, and Stephanie holds enough cards to either support the Williams family or bring them all down.
“There’s only so much a woman can take before taking matters into her own hands.”
Kristen Bird’s writing is taut and falls neatly into literary excellence, with superb character development and a tightly woven plot that leaves readers wondering if any of the characters are worthy of a protagonist status. When all is said and done, these Southern women are resilient, resourceful, and both wrong and right in their decisions. The ending is thoughtfully enigmatic but appropriate, given that the entire story is built on questions and problematic behavior. While the women all seem to land on their feet, albeit on shaky ground, they do not come through their trials unscathed. When a family tends to shovel their misdeeds and mistakes under the rug or into a grave, no one truly wins.
Kristen Bird lives outside of Houston with her husband, three daughters, and a lab rescue. She teaches high school English, writes fiction, and bakes goodies in her free time.