• The Lies that Bind: A Novel by Emily Griffin
The Lies that Bind: A Novel Book Cover The Lies that Bind: A Novel
Emily Griffin
Ballantine Books
June 2, 2020
Kindle, Audiobook, Hardback, Audio CD

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city—and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew.

As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it—you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen, and over the next several hours—and shots of tequila—the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, their timing couldn’t be worse—Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart instead of her head.

Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing-person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who he seemed to be?

Disappointing on so many levels…

While working through a difficult breakup with her boyfriend of over three years, Cecily, a young journalist from WI living in NY, goes to a neighborhood bar late one night to escape the memories flooding her apartment.  After a few drinks lessens her resolve to stay strong she is stopped by a stranger, Grant, from drunk dialing her ex.  There is an immediate connection with Grant that leads to a whirlwind romance.  Grant already had plans to travel Europe with his terminally ill twin before he met Cecily.  Shortly after Grant and Cecily say goodbye, 9/11 hits.  Cecily realizes that there was much of Grant’s life she did not know about and the journalist in her decides to seek answers.  What she finds is not what she expects…

The Lies That Bind by Emily Griffin is much like mailman coming to your door only to hand you a tax bill from the IRS.   The beginning immediately catches your attention and hooks you into the story but its only frustration and disbelief after that.  From the characters to the plot line; there are so many ways that the story did not fulfill its good beginning.  Cecily is immature, naive, and somewhat whiny while Grant is the template mysterious, romantic interest.  They are both flat, unappealing characters that I could not connect with or find myself liking.  Even Cecily’s gay bestfriend is stereotypical in his supporting role.

There is so much I could say about the main event of the story and the ending!  While using a recent tragedy can be relevant to a fictional situation and done in a way that in no way diminishes the event or those who have suffered; Griffin’s use of 9/11 does neither.  I’m not usually easily offended for others but I was really uncomfortable with the way she seemed to trivialize this tragedy.  But, that was not even the worst part of The Lies That Bind!  I won’t include spoilers in case you are a die-hard Emily Griffin fan and still want to read this novel.  I was very aggravated with the ending and felt she was trying to be edgy instead of writing in a way that would tie things together and be satisfying to her readers.  I simply don’t like romance authors who toy with me and then give me a totally off the radar ending.


After reading all this you are probably wondering why I even gave it three stars.  The Lies That Bind had a great hook and Griffin is an easy to read author.  While this really should have been a two star review, I gave her one star just for the fact that I have read a few of her other books and I know she can write a good story with good characters, The Lies That Bind is just not one of them.