Lie Lay Lain

by Bryn Greenwood

From the Introduction:

Jennifer has a great job and a go-getter fiancé. She’s on track for success, until she witnesses a fatal hit-and-run. Mistaking Jennifer for someone else, the dying victim extracts an impossible promise. Jennifer’s fiancé wants her to forget the whole incident, but when she closes her eyes, she can still see the bloody face of the woman who asked for her help.

Olivia is in a rut. Burdened with caring for her brain-damaged brother and already feeling like a spinster at 27, she’s desperate to escape. In a moment of weakness, she tells a lie that draws an unsuspecting paramedic into her life. As she struggles to expiate the lie, a horrible act of violence will test her resolve to be honest.

Where Jennifer’s promise and Olivia’s lie intersect, their lives begin to unravel.


Trade Paperback
Curva Peligrosa

What others are saying about Lie Lay Lain

“In Bryn Greenwood’s gritty and unsentimental novel, characters struggle to balance what they know to be true against how the world wishes to see them. Dryly humorous and quirky, you’ll find yourself thinking about the issues it raises long after you’ve turned the final page.”

    –Liz Michalski, author of Evenfall


“Rarely does one find a character-centered book so gripping. From first page to last, Lie Lay Lain is impossible to put down. Greenwood’s eye for detail is phenomenal, and her dialogue so pitch-perfect that I don’t even feel like I’ve just read a book. I feel like I’ve become intimately acquainted with two very real people - aspirations, faults, insecurities and all. I tried to start another book after I finished Greenwood’s, and I couldn’t do it. Jennifer and Olivia were people to me; I cared about them deeply, and I needed time to let them go.”

    –Ramsey Hootman, author of Courting Greta


“The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves

Jennifer Palhete has it all. She's rising up the corporate ladder, although the hours are killing her. She has the perfect fiancée. She's also a shop-a-holic with tastes she can't really afford, and a family who just doesn't "get" her. She doesn't recognize how much she's lying to herself. But a horrific accident becomes the fulcrum that tilts Jennifer's carefully balanced life in directions she could never anticipate when a dying woman mistakes Jennifer for someone else and begs her to take care of her daughter, Shanti.

Olivia Holley is a mousy church secretary, living at home with her dysfunctional parents and a brain-damaged brother. She's the one everyone leans on. Not even Olivia recognizes that all that leaning has all but crushed the life from her. She counts the lies she tells and tries to balance them. How many good lies make up for the bad lies? But when Olivia decides to turn a lie into a truth, her world shifts in ways she never expected and isn't equipped to manage.

Jennifer's lies. Olivia's lies. Promises made. Promises broken. And a search for truths that will change everything.

What I really like about Ms. Greenwood's writing is her eye for the tiny details that lend verisimilitude to her characters and settings and bring them to life. Even secondary characters are well described and aren't merely cardboard puppets propping up the action. But the real draw is her central characters and their arc--the way a small, almost inconsequential action turns into a groundswell that upends everything and forces them to either change and grow, or surrender to mediocrity. It's about learning not to lie to yourself first.

The story is told in two viewpoints--Jennifer and Olivia--alternating in clearly marked chapters. Their lives--and lies--intertwine and tangle and unravel and reshape both of them. If I had any nit to pick it would be at the very end. The book opens with Jennifer and should have ended with her, instead of Olivia, to give more a sense of coming full circle. Jennifer's ending is inferred, but readers like to see justice actually done, and it would have felt more complete and satisfactory to me to have seen Jennifer's resolution and justice for Shanti actually on the page. But enough is there that I wasn't left unsatisfied. I'm greedy. I wanted just a bit more.

This book pretty much defies genre classification. It's a character-driven literary piece with elements of suspense, romance, and what is called "inspirational fiction." Don't worry about where to put it on your bookshelf, just enjoy Ms. Greenwood's deft storytelling and wonderful characterizations.”

    – P. Shaw, 5 Star Amazon Review


“A truly enjoyable read.

I love Bryn Greenwood's writing. Her characters are real people. You get to know them gradually. I love how the layers are added. A memory here, a reaction to a new event, there. And a plot-line to weave them all together that just keeps me reading and reading for more details about these people.

Jennifer and Olivia are two people that we can relate to. Parts of us are in each of them. And their struggles to interact with friends/family/work and church are what we deal with every day. But, the stories each of them are living, and the how the stories eventually come together are so well written.

Thank you, Bryn, for writing about people that I think about long after the book is done.”

    – Lauri S. Shooltz, 5 Star Amazon Review


“This was a Good Read

I'm a writer who hates reviews — don't much like reading them and hate to write them. Why I feel this way is a matter between me and a guy with a couch I pay $100 an hour to listen when I can afford him.

What's important for you is that I am writing a review, short as it is, because I liked this book. As someone mentioned, the main characters were very realistic and easy to identify/empathize with. How two very different lives become entangled is a clever plot device — there are inciting incidents in both lives early on but the turns in both story arcs share a common event.

If you want nonstop action, this is not the book for you, but if you enjoy well-developed characters and occasional surprises, I suggest you pick up a copy. I found myself repeating this question throughout: "Now what is she going to do?"”

    – John C. Philipp, 4 Star Amazon Review


“Overlapping trajectories

Jennifer and Olivia are two women on very different trajectories at the beginning of this interesting, well-written novel. (It unfolds slowly, but that's a good thing--the reader truly gets to know these women and their problems, mistakes, and situations well. Action/plot drive ramps up in the second half of the novel, and it's enough to satisfy anyone who prefers mysteries or thrillers, but you have to KNOW the characters first, so I applaud Greenwood's pacing decisions here.)

Jennifer and Olivia's lives overlap in interesting ways, and the woman who seems to have it all slips and the beaten down woman finds her voice. That's not to say the downfall or rise of either character is complete, because many questions remain at the end, but it's fulfilling to see Olivia gain confidence, and to see Jennifer become less shallow. The title has extra resonance because each character is both the perpetrator and the victim of a lie and, like making the grammatically correct decision about which word to use, the way forward for each woman is muddled by complications.

This is a very good, thoughtful novel.”

    – Sarah Hancockon, 4 Star Amazon Review


“I loved this book

The pace is slow but comfortable and the plots in Lie Lay Lain are always interesting... different from anything I've personally experienced but completely plausible. I often found myself wondering what I'd do in the characters' situations.

I find Bryn's writing style to be very visual. After finishing one of her books, I feel like I've seen a nice indie film. Not wall-to-wall car crashes but a slice of lives which I understand and enjoy "watching".”

    – LeendaDLL, 5 Star Amazon Review