By Tall Poppy, Sonja Yoerg

THE MARRIAGE LIE by Kimberly Belle

Can we talk about reading slumps? Here’s what my recent one was like. I picked up a book, read a chapter, maybe two, and began to wonder about cleaning the bathtub instead. Later, I started a different book and the first page was exactly what I didn’t want to be reading; how did the author manage that? Determined to find Something Worth Reading, I scanned my shelves, my Kindle library, my husband’s Kindle library, and finally settled on a title I’d been dying to read but had forgotten about completely. A third of the way through, I tossed it across the room, narrowly missing the dog, who leveled me with a look that said, Why can’t you be simple, like me?

I realize that reading slumps are about me, not the books. I’m enlightened enough to know this. I can’t find a book I like because I’m distracted, I’m tired, I’m unsettled, I’M ON THE WHOLE30 DIET AND I CAN’T HAVE ALCOHOL. (Glad we got that out.) Nevertheless, it’s going to take a book, not years of therapy, to get me out of the slump. In this situation, I turn to suspense.

Make me turn the page. I beg you.

Kimberly Belle to the rescue! I’ve been meaning to read The Marriage Lie for months. Page One, grabbed me by the nuts (use your imagination) and zoom! This book did everything great suspense should. It propelled me forward. It made me care about what was going to happen but moved at such a pace that I didn’t have a chance to take a breath, much less ponder at length about what might transpire. This is an extremely satisfying story. I had been a picky eater who had sampled too many items off a thoughtful, diverse menu. Kimberly Belle handed me a plate of hot, crispy, perfectly salted fries and said, “Eat.”

The story is about a woman whose husband is presumed dead and whom, she soon realizes, has many, many secrets. But who cares about the plot! The characters are interesting and painted vividly, their psychology is sensible (i.e. what they say and do makes sense) and Belle’s writing is smooth. She tells us enough but never gets in the way of her own story. As a writer, I’m impressed. As a reader who was in a deep slump, I’m grateful.

So, my friends, what sort of books do you turn to when you are hard to please?


Everyone has secrets… 

Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and life is as close to perfect as it can be. But on the morning Will flies out for a business trip to Florida, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt: another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board and, according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers.

Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to uncover what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she finds shock her to her very core.


Headshot of Author Sonja Yoerg
Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and studied learning in blue jays, kangaroo rats and spotted hyenas, among other species. Her non-fiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA) was published in 2001.

While her two daughters were young, Sonja taught in their schools in California. Now that they are in college, she writes full-time.

She currently lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband. Her novels, HOUSE BROKEN and MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE, are published by Penguin/NAL.