Lying in Wait (Nugent)

Lying in Wait 
Liz Nugent, 2018
Simon & Schuster
320 pp.

An "unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life—wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin.

That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax.

For fans of Ruth Ware and Gillian Flynn, this novel is a “seductively sinister story. The twists come together in a superbly scary denouement, which delivers a final sting in the tail. Brilliantly macabre” (Sunday Mirror).
(From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Where—Dublin, Ireland
Education—Holy Child Killiney Secondary School
Awards—Irish Book Award
Currently—lives in Dublin

Liz Nugent is an Irish novelist who has twice won the Irish Book Award. She was born and raised in Dublin, attending Holy Child Killiney Secondary School, and continues to reside in Dublin today, with her husband.

Her first novel, Unraveling Oliver was published in 2014, and her second, Lying In Wait, came out in 2017. Both won the Irish Book Award, and the latter was also selected for the Spring 2017 list of the UK's Richard & Judy Book Club, winning the overall Readers' Vote.

Skin Deep, Nugent's third novel was released in Ireland in 2018. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 6/22/2018.)

Book Reviews
(Starred review) [A] devastating psychological thriller.… Lydia is the most intriguing puzzle; equal parts victim and villain, she simultaneously inspires pity, outrage, and horror. The result is an exquisitely uncomfortable, utterly captivating reading experience.
Publishers Weekly

(Starred review) Readers who love sinister psychological thrillers will tear through these pages to discover how far Lydia will go to keep her son at home, and what accidents will befall those who cross her. —K.L. Romo, Duncanville, TX
Library Journal

(Starred review) Nugent introduces an unforgettable cast of characters in this tour de force.… [A]stonishing… everyone should grab it the second it appears.

[T]his is a whydunit, not a whodunit, and the real meat lies in Nugent's exploration of motherhood, mental illness, and what could drive a person to murder…. A page-turner chock full of lies and betrayals and a very creepy mother-son relationship.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
1. From the start of the book, we know respected judge Andrew Fitzsimons and his wife, Lydia, have murdered Annie Doyle. How does this narration style, starting with such a shocking event, affect your understanding of the story? How did you react to the first chapter?

2. Would things have turned out differently for Annie if she had been the pretty sister? Why or why not?

3. Lydia often says that everything she does is for Laurence, for his protection and his benefit. What are Lydia’s true motivations?

4. Consider each of the parent-child relationships in the book. Which parents are good parents in your opinion? How would things have been different for Laurence if his parents acted more like Bridget’s parents, or like Karen and Annie’s parents, or Helen’s mother?

5. How is Laurence’s sense of self affected by the way he views his father and his father’s death? How does this affect him as an adult?

6. What does Lydia's mother's red lipstick mean to her? Why does she put it on after Laurence tells her about Karen?

7. Dessie is obsessively protective of Karen; he tries to explain this as he fears that Karen will end up like Annie. How does Annie’s reputation continue to haunt her family?

8. How is marriage depicted in the novel? Are any of the marriages happy? Which marriages are affected by divorce being illegal in 1980s Ireland?

9. How is Lydia shaped by her sister’s death and her mother’s downfall? Why are reputations and appearances so important to Lydia?

10. Compare and contrast the two sister dynamics in the book: how are Lydia and Diana similar to Annie and Karen? What does being a sister mean to Karen? What does it mean to Lydia?

11. Lydia assumes all children are closest to their mothers. How does the novel prove or disprove her assumption?

12. What role does class play in Laurence's relationships? How much of that influence is inherited versus learned?

13. Laurence is very self-aware, but it takes him a long time to see his mother clearly. Why do you think that is? Why is it difficult for adult children to see their parents' flaws?

14. How did you react to the scene after Laurence and Karen's dinner with Lydia, the final events of the novel, and Part Three? Were you surprised by the final revelations?

15. Does Lydia get what she wants? Does she get what she deserves? Does anyone else? Why or why not?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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