The Victoria Lie

When is a lie a lifeline? (The Butterfly Effect Book 2)

Fiction - Literary
300 Pages
Reviewed on 09/19/2018
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Author Biography

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. The second eldest of five daughters, to the outside world Graye’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing... until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Graye over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel.

Graye was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017. Her second novel, The Victoria Lie, which was published in August 2018, explores what it mean to be neurodiverse as an adult, looking at both high-functioning Autism and ADHD.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Victoria Lie is a work of literary fiction by author Sarah Marie Graye which asks the question: When is a lie a lifeline? The second book in The Butterfly Effect saga, this story focuses on new characters and can be read as a standalone novel, although there are some links with previous characters that faithful readers can enjoy. This new plot focuses on Tori, a woman hell-bent on stealing the life and friends of poor suicidal Zoe. When Zoe remains alive, Tori’s anger bubbles and new complications arise to prevent her getting what she wants. What follows is a suspenseful tale of how far Tori will go to get what she thinks should be rightfully hers.

There are a lot of powerful psychological and vengeful tales in this new vogue of suspense fiction, and Sarah Marie Graye fits in very well among the big names. She has that same unhinged style of storytelling that both damns and glorifies Tori and her actions at the same time, making for an exciting and dark read that left me questioning who really was the villain of the piece. The characters are sharply drawn, perhaps a tiny bit over the top but in an appropriate way for the plot. Though the complex and emotionally dark subject matter of The Victoria Lie will not suit all readers, those looking for fascinating psychological realism and outrageous drama are sure to be satisfied. I could certainly read much more Sarah Marie Graye, and hope to in the future.

Grant Leishman

“O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” (Walter Scott). This is very much the quote that came to mind as I read Sarah Marie Graye’s novel about relationships, friendship and social connections, The Victoria Lie (When is a Lie a Lifeline? The Butterfly Effect Book 2). Graye introduces us to Zoe, who has decided to end her life, but doesn’t want the messiness and angst of her best friend and flat-mate, Alison, having to find her dead body. She comes up with a plan that will effectively end her life, but will take upward of a week to finally effect its poison on her body. This will give her the chance, as she lies dying in her hospital bed, to square things away with both Alison and her boyfriend, James. Graye takes us on a journey of social connections and the tenuous, yet strangely, incredibly strong bonds that link us as human beings. She explores the wide-ranging effects, well beyond the two protagonists, of lies and half truths and the long term and long lasting effects these can have on even the sturdiest of relationships, such as family. As Zoe lies “dying,” the people in her life are already maneuvering around her, building new relationships, and she realizes they are actually replacing her in their lives right in front of her eyes.

The Victoria Lie is what may have been called in Victorian times a novel of manners or even a comedy of manners. There are certainly plenty of parts of the story where Sarah Marie Graye displays an accurate and piercing acerbic wit that had me chuckling along at the protagonist. What I particularly liked about this story was the author’s ability to convey both the fragility and the strength of relationships and friendships in a mere paragraph. This juxtaposition of opposite ideas was fascinating to me and is best portrayed in the relationship between Alison and her childhood friend, Ruby. The interplay between Zoe and her hospital visitors, some of whom she barely knew, was cleverly done and a reminder to me, as a reader, just how difficult it is to be honest and straightforward when visiting a friend whom you know is dying. The long, drawn-out pauses and meaningless chatter will resonate with many readers. The writer’s style is free, easy and conversational, which made the book a joy to read and a quick read at that. If you like expository novels that examine real life and social conventions, I am sure you will enjoy this story. Its honesty was a breath of fresh air for this reader.

Jamie Michele

The Victoria Lie by Sarah Marie Graye is the second book in The Butterfly Effect series, preceded by The Second Cup. Reading it as a standalone, this installment immediately introduces the main character, Zoe, as she's in the London Underground, waiting for an overdose of drugs she's taken in an attempted suicide to kick in. Her best friend, Alison, and her boyfriend, James, arrive at the hospital, along with a hanger-on named Tori (as in Victoria), who is bent on making sure Alison becomes her own best friend and James is lined up as her future boyfriend...but for Tori's plan to work, Zoe really does need to end her life.

The Victoria Lie is an interesting look into various forms of mental illness through first person narratives from Sarah Marie Graye's multiple characters. This book certainly falls into the genre of literary fiction, with unconventional formatting and pacing that moves forward on a steady simmer. The writing is crisp and clean, and Graye is an unquestionably gifted author. “She was thankful she was wrong about the niggling doubts. She was even more relieved to be right about the second thoughts. Because the morning after was too late for either.” This is definitely a character-driven story. Zoe might be driving the bus but Tori seems to be steering it. Along the way, Graye exposes the cruelty of mental illness and the frailty of the human spirit. I'd recommend this book to those who are comfortable with stories that dive into difficult situations, characters, and plots, and who enjoy a shorter read with a bit more depth to it.