Cover Image: Would I Lie to You?

Would I Lie to You?

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Moral dilemmas…… It only takes a second to lie to Tom. Now Faiza has six weeks to find £75,000 or risk losing the family she has worked so hard to protect.
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“At first, I thought it must be a mistake, that I was reading the statements incorrectly. I ran my nail across the line, following the string of numbers with my fingertip. However many times I checked it though, the figure remained the same.”

Would I Lie To You? is a sharply observed, entertaining and thoughtful novel from Aliya Ali-Afzal.

When Faiza’s husband, Tom, is unexpectedly retrenched from his high paying banking job, neither believe he will be unemployed for long. Thankfully Tom’s redundancy payment will provide them with a six week buffer and if needed, Tom suggests, they can always draw from their ’emergency’ fund. The mention of their nest egg makes Faiza uncomfortable, she’s dipped into the account a time or two over the years. Raising a family in London is expensive, and fitting in is important, especially when, as a brown skinned, Pakistani Muslim, Faiza stands out among the other mothers at the gate of her children’s private school. Faiza is aghast when she checks the bank balance and realises that there is nothing left of their savings, she can’t possibly admit to her fiscally responsible husband that she has unintentionally frittered away £75,000, and so she lies.  Now Faiza has six weeks to put things right, but as her desperation grows so do the lies she has to tell, threatening to destroy everything she is trying to protect.

Some creative accounting and questionable decisions allows Faiza to juggle each immediate crisis, but repeatedly makes her overall predicament worse. It’s inevitable her lies will eventually be found out, and the anticipation of the consequences, not just for Faiza but also others, creates a genuine sense of tension in Would I Lie To You?. There are several themes and subplots that add to the drama too, including prejudice, an alleged theft, depression, an acute illness, and workplace sexual harassment. It’s a lot really, verging on too much at times, but I think readers will find elements to relate to, and there are lighter moments that provide needed warmth and  humour. 

Despite Faiza’s poor decision making, her desire to assure her family’s well being is always what’s most important to her and I empathised with her concerns about her husband, her children, and her ageing parents. As the story progresses Ali-Azful reveals how Faiza’s sensitivity to her lower class background and her parent’s disagreements about finances feeds into her uncomfortable relationship with status and money, while her insecurities about acceptance given her racial and cultural background, are often reinforced by micro-aggressions among her, mostly white, social group. Though I can’t directly relate to Faiza’s issues on these matters (given I’m white and broke, with no status to speak of), I could understand how they influenced her decisions, which made Faiza a more sympathetic character who I really grew to like.
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it's giving a slightly more funny and neurotic little fires everywhere. and obviously british. i really liked it, as i do most incisive social commentary books, especially ones that comment upon the intersections of womanhood motherhood and being nonwhite
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he premise of this book is interesting- a Pakistani woman, married to a white banker, who spends all their savings keeping up with the neighbours. hen loosing his job - what happens next. Unfortunately it is not well executed. What happens next is she lies, and lies and lies. She lies to cover up her lies, and then lies to keep in practice. Seriously, as one point she lies about how many children she has. She is lying to save her marriage, but we are given no real reason to want her toxic, lying marriage saved. The way the couple talk to each other is terrible. And her children are just spoilt. Meanwhile the book is clumsily trying to address racism and Me Too, while ignoring the elephant in the room - capitalism. The ending is neat and tidy and entirely unsatisfactory - all the issues are back under the rug, carry on.

Putting all that aside, this is quite well written, and I think with a little more practice and finesse Aliya Ali-Afzal will be a good author. She certainly has something to say, even if I thought it could have been said differently.
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I thought this would be a more humorous book because of the blurb. I don’t think this book was for me at all, it takes very seriously the side of this poor little rich girl who has to be just like her millionaire “friends” and jeopardises her whole family with her uncontrolled spending. As a working mum supporting my children and my stay at home husband this hurts me in my womanly pride. Her struggle to repair her accumulated lies and hypocrisy is portrayed as her road to redemption and opening her eyes onto what is truly important in life. The pace was good and written like a financial thriller, so you are always wondering how she will outrun the growing doom. This was too much of a 1st world problem book for me, frustrating the hell out of me, but I imagine if you are a fan of Desperate Housewives and Sex in the city type fiction it will be right up your alley.
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Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.
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Faiza is married to Tom who works at a finance house that sounds similar to Apax. Faiza has 3 wonderful children with Tom, a beautiful home and lives the life of a busy mum in snug Wimbledon Village. Unfortunately, Faiza has a penchant for spending, driven by insecurities and an inferiority complex. 
One day Tom loses his job and understandably the household is thrown into turmoil and all of a sudden there is a black hole in the finances. The story echoes the experiences of City workers who were laid off, most likely following the Lehman Brothers collapse. However, Faiza is of Pakistan origin and from a humble, yet educated background and her race and perhaps faith singles her out as the drama unfolds.

At times, I found the story to lengthy in parts, however overall an interesting account from the perspective of a non-white female married to an Englishman and encountering prejudice at every aspect of her life. The story is also quite funny, there is a fair amount of comedy here. 

Overall, the author humanises the effects on individuals and families as descisions about headcount are made in offices accross the Atlantic. Not bad for a first novel and an interesting storyline
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This book was so much more than I expected. Having read the synopsis, I was definitely intrigued but I expected more of a humourous, almost madcap, slapstick novel.

Faiza is a stay at home mum whilst her husband has a high paying, high flying job in the city. However when he loses his job, reality comes crashing down around Faiza as her husband's plans to use the savings account to see them through has one small problem.....Faiza has slowly worked her way through all £75,000 of it. But not to worry, her husband's last paycheck will see them through six weeks so all she has to do is find £75,000 in six weeks.....what can possibly be difficult about that? 

As I say, I expected this somewhat ridiculous scenario to play out differently to how it did. I was expecting slapstick comedy as the situation would surely require however, whilst there are some genuinely hilarious moments, this book touched upon so many issues such as racism, friendship, honesty, marriage, infidelity, stress, toxic masculinity and many others. 

Whilst some of these issues have never affected me, they literally jumped off the page and hit me right between the eyes. They are not sugarcoated and some of the language really made me gasp at points.

This is a really impressive debut novel, character-driven and really hits home with key contemporaneous issues facing society.

Thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zues-Aries for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A complex exploration of class, race and wealth.

Faiza has everything she ever wanted, until she opens a bank statement and realises how much she has spent from the emergency savings account. In order to make up the money that has gone missing Faiza relies on her childhood talent for lying on the spot until she is up to her neck in suspicion. 

Aliya Ali-Afzal ratchets up the tension at every opportunity. You can't help but feel sorry for Faiza as she tries to keep her family together by digging herself a deeper and deeper hole while struggling so much with how she is perceived. It's heartbreaking how she is unable to rely on her husband for the first time in her life and although she makes poor decisions at times I was really rooting for her. 

Maybe I'm just sheltered but I was surprised to find such a diverse book. A rich(ish) Asian mother with a job? Who doesn't hate her parents? A woman returning to work after a long career break? A middle aged woman who lover her partner? And has sex with him?! It was so refreshing to read about such a normal, yet multi-facited character.

I wonder whether the prologue helped or hampered my reading. It definitely helped drive my reading speed during the first few chapters, but the constant waiting for the promise of the prologue made me resent it after the plot picked up. In contrast, I loved epilogue and how it shows the growth of Faiza's character. It closed the story wonderfully.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read this ARC in return for an honest review.

This is a perfect example of how lies can be dangerous and how telling the truth is always the best idea. It was a great story, wonderfully written, and thankfully it didn't ALL end up heartbreaking. It was very insightful looking at racism, inter-racial relationships, the power of money, and how status isn't everything. 

I can't wait for the next one by this author
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A gripping read that had me at the edge of my seat not knowing what twist would come next. 

I tend to read cosy crime and murder so this was not my usual go to read. However, it was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone. 

I went through a whole range of emotions with Fazia the main character - I felt sympathy, annoyance, anger it was a roller coaster that I didn’t want to end. 

It is a long book compared to my usual reads but it didn’t feel long as I was reading. I found myself engrossed and the chapters flew by. 

Just as you think things are working out or coming to a head there is a new twist that catches you off guard and has you desperately reading on to find out what could possibly happen next.
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I only really requested this book because of the interesting cover and the fact is was set in London / Wimbledon, areas I know very well. Not usually the sort of book I'd request but I'm trying to read more outside of my usual genres and I'm very glad I did. 

Literally did not want to put this book down, the other half can attest to this as he was getting ignored! 

I'm a year away from my thirties and not a parent, but I know exactly the sort of mothers Faiza is mixing with as they were just like the mothers from my schools when I was younger. It's always about money in the end, dressed up as 'doing the best for their family' but everyone knows it's just showcasing what money you have. "Keeping up with the Joneses" comes to mind....

Faiza is in such a desperate situation, I know it was all her own doing but I couldn't help but feel sympathy for her. It's easy to dip into savings here and there for important things and before you know it, it becomes a habit and it's gone. What made her incredibly likeable still as a character was the fierce love and drive to protect her family. 

The subtle but important references to Pakistani culture and the clash with middle-class (mostly) white suburbia made all the difference to the story for me. It was integral and written with almost painful  elements of truth.
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I loved this book so much. It kept me engaged throughout and I just fell in love with the characters. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
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Faiza has it all - her life is something pulled straight from the pages of a glossy magazine.

She has Tom, her handsome banker husband, three loving children, a busy social life among the elite mums of London and the envy-inducing home. She has curated the perfect life, the one she so desperately desired before.

But it's not all that it seems on the surface. Somewhere behind her perfectly polished exterior, she is struggling to keep her life together, draining her families emergency savings to maintain the life she wants to live until they dried up completely. And she was going to put it back one day ... but when Tom loses his job it's only a matter of time before before the little money they have left runs out and her secret comes out. She could lose everything and everyone she loves unless she can figure out a way to put everything back - quickly.

I was gripped by Faizas world right away, watching as the first ripples on the surface of her world started to appear. I was right there with her, desperately terrified and waiting for something awful to happen.

Delving into the reality of the lives we pretend to have and how far we go to be something we're not, and exploring the struggles of how mixed race families are treated along with societal and traditional pressures - this was not only insightful and poignant but addictively dark.

As Faiza tries borrowing, earning, anything to fix her mistakes - she finds herself in increasingly difficult and disturbing situations as lives and lies get tangled together.

This story was a stunning debut that was undeniably binge-readable and hauntingly real. Aliya Ali-Afzal has definitely put herself firmly on my literary map.
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