Mothers and Other Liars

( 31 )

Overview

How far will a mother go to save her child?

Ten years ago, Ruby Leander was a drifting nineteen-year-old who made a split-second decision at an Oklahoma rest stop. Fast forward nine years: Ruby and her daughter Lark live in New Mexico. Lark is a precocious, animal loving imp, and Ruby has built a family for them with a wonderful community of friends and her boyfriend of three years. Life is good. Until the day Ruby reads a magazine article about parents searching for an infant ...

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Overview

How far will a mother go to save her child?

Ten years ago, Ruby Leander was a drifting nineteen-year-old who made a split-second decision at an Oklahoma rest stop. Fast forward nine years: Ruby and her daughter Lark live in New Mexico. Lark is a precocious, animal loving imp, and Ruby has built a family for them with a wonderful community of friends and her boyfriend of three years. Life is good. Until the day Ruby reads a magazine article about parents searching for an infant kidnapped by car-jackers. Then Ruby faces a choice no mother should have to make. A choice that will change both her and Lark's lives forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ruby Leander and young daughter Lark, the abandoned baby she took as her own at a truck stop years ago, when she was a runaway, are living happily in New Mexico. Ruby is pregnant with boyfriend Chaz's child and everything is going well until she sees Lark's picture in the newspaper as a missing child. Ruby realizes that to do the right thing and return Lark means losing everything she loves. When Ruby comes up with a way to keep Lark, her plan involves an untenable choice: trade the unborn child for the one she's raised. The revelations aren't surprising and though the characters face weighty moral questions, the resolutions seem inconsequential. Bourret does manage to present an alternative to the standard family drama, and the writing is crisp despite a plot that moves along to a predictable conclusion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher
"Watch your back, Jodi Picoult! Here comes Bourret, a Yale-trained lawyer who practiced child-advocacy law and draws on past experiences for her gripping first novel. When Ruby was 19, she found a baby abandoned in a rest-stop trash can. Thinking she is doing the right thing, Ruby takes the baby to raise as her own. Flash forward nine years, and Ruby and the little girl, Lark, are a happy family in New Mexico, where Ruby works as a nail technician. They have a large network of friends and bond with Ruby's boyfriend's family. Then Ruby sees a tabloid article about an abandoned baby, and everything tilts. Lark wasn't simply left, she was kidnapped, and now Ruby must figure out what to do. The choices she makes tear her world apart. VERDICT Bourret nails the character development and pacing that make a good novel compelling. She unfolds her well-written, dramatic story in tidbits that will make readers hungry for more. Perfect for summer reading." —Library Journal

“What a joy to discover a wonderful storyteller like Amy Bourret.  Her debut novel, Mothers and Other Liars, underscores not only the strength of the ties that bind mother and daughter but those that connect friends, as well.  The love between Ruby and Lark goes to my heart.  Amy Bourret’s voice is one of compassion and humor, and I want to hear it again and again.”

—Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author of Prayers For Sale

“This lovely, lyrical novel is one that will have you on the edge of your seat as you wipe a tear from your eye… The dialogue sings on every page and the story rings with authenticity.  Anyone who loved Marisa de Los Santos’s Love Walked In will love this.” 

—Eileen Goudge, New York Times bestselling author of The Diary

“Bourret has created a wonderfully flawed character who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep a promise to her child. There is nothing predictable about this story of love and sacrifice. Ruby is confronted with an unrelenting question; what are willing to do for those you love? Bourret is fearless with her answers.” –Jacqueline Sheehan (see below)

“Bourret has created an unpredictable, gripping story of love and sacrifice.”

—Jacqueline Sheehan, New York Times bestselling author of Lost and Found and Now and Then

"Amy Bourret's smart, compelling tale of motherhood, fate, law, and love, grabbed me and pulled me into the murky pool that lies between morally right and unimaginably wrong, where good intentions are not enough to keep poor Ruby Leander afloat.  You will ache for Ruby and her daughter Lark, and stay up late turning the pages, hoping for justice and for joy.  Thought-provoking and suspenseful, Mothers and Other Liars will have you asking, ‘What do you do when all the choices are impossible ones?’"—Therese Fowler, internationally acclaimed author of Souvenir

Mothers and Other Liars is the absorbing story of Ruby, a woman who bravely does the wrong things for all the right reasons—all for one child.  Readers will be talking about this compelling novel and what it means to be a child’s real mother.  A strong debut.” —Lynne Griffin, author of Life Without Summer

"The beauty of Amy Bourret's novel is that she makes you yearn for each and every character to get exactly what they what—an outcome that is of course impossible and sets up the most delicious conflict of interests all the way to the surprising end.  I was captivated by this wrenching tale of Ruby, her spunky Lark, and their tribe of fiercely loyal friends." —Katrina Kittle, author of The Kindness of Strangers

Mothers and Other Liars is a page-turner from beginning to end, impossible to put down. It will provoke lively debate about the meaning of motherhood, nurture, sacrifice and law. Readers who love Jodi Picoult's novels will find a new favorite in Amy Bourret.” –Liz Rosenberg, author of Home Repair

Library Journal
Watch your back, Jodi Picoult! Here comes Bourret, a Yale-trained lawyer who practiced child-advocacy law and draws on past experiences for her gripping first novel. When Ruby was 19, she found a baby abandoned in a rest-stop trash can. Thinking she is doing the right thing, Ruby takes the baby to raise as her own. Flash forward nine years, and Ruby and the little girl, Lark, are a happy family in New Mexico, where Ruby works as a nail technician. They have a large network of friends and bond with Ruby's boyfriend's family. Then Ruby sees a tabloid article about an abandoned baby, and everything tilts. Lark wasn't simply left, she was kidnapped, and now Ruby must figure out what to do. The choices she makes tear her world apart. VERDICT Bourret nails the character development and pacing that make a good novel compelling. She unfolds her well-written, dramatic story in tidbits that will make readers hungry for more. Perfect for summer reading. [Library marketing.]—Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312586584
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 721,371
  • Product dimensions: 8.46 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Bourret is a Yale Law School graduate and former partner in a national law firm. In school and in her practice, she did pro bono work for child advocacy organizations, where the passion that fuels her novel Mothers and Other Liars was born. She has also been a gymnast, event planner, community volunteer, judicial clerk, official neighborhood bee catcher, corporate communications director, and flower girl at a tadpole funeral, but above all, she has always been a writer. She splits her time between Dallas and Aspen.

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Read an Excerpt

ONE

Ruby Leander’s third life ends with the flip of a page. The photograph catches her eye first. Then the words shriek at her, in stark black and white. Lines of type shift on the page, curl into a tight ball, somersault, gathering sentences, whole paragraphs, gaining momentum. And just like that, on an otherwise ordinary Thursday, this life is over.

She slams the weekly tabloid shut, sandwiching the article between weight-loss ads and pictures of celebrities misbehaving. As her client, Antoinette, approaches, Ruby tosses the magazine aside.

Antoinette bustles up to the nail station, oversized tote bag banging against her curvy hip. Thursday is Ruby’s late day, to accommodate the working women. Antoinette has a standing appointment in the last slot. Margaret’s partner, Molly, baby sits Lark—though nine-year-old Lark would cringe at that word. And Antoinette and Ruby go to dinner. This is their routine.

“Sorry. Sorry. Shakespeare had it right. I want to kill all the lawyers.” Antoinette plops down on the seat across the narrow table. Her thick hair is tamed into a demure bun, her white blouse closed a button higher than before her recent promotion from the court clerk’s office to judge’s secretary. She pauses, looks at Ruby. “You okay?”

No, Ruby is not okay. The photograph, the words, are burned into her brain. From a serendipitous thirst, a wrong turn, and a chance meeting—and a big lie—she built this Santa Fe life for herself and her daughter, Lark. This is no sand-castle life that could wash away in the evening tide; this is a mountain life, strong and tall and solid. Yet even mountains erode, and this one is crumbling at her feet. She is definitely not okay.

“Yes. I’m fine.”

Without a doubt, that photograph is of Lark; a similar shot sits in a frame in their living room. This life is over, but what she does about the article will define what the next life will be—for her and for Lark.

“You sure you’re okay?” Antoinette’s voice sounds tinny, as if traveling from a soup can and string, what with having to penetrate that photo before reaching a piece of Ruby’s brain. “It’s not . . .”

“I’m fine. Really.” Ruby tries to ignore the worry creasing Antoinette’s brow and avoid meeting Margaret’s eyes in the mirrored wall that lines the hair stations. Margaret doesn’t miss much in her salon.

“You know you can tell me anything.” Antoinette’s voice is soft with concern.

The kindness soaks into Ruby’s skin, rises to a lump in her throat. “I know.”

As Antoinette turns to the rack on the wall to choose her polish, Ruby picks up the tabloid from the floor beside her chair, fans through to the page. She rips out the article, folds it into a tidy square, then gestures to the sudsy manicure dish. “Soak a minute. I’ll be right back.”

In the back room of the salon, Ruby braces her arms on each side of the sink, fights the nausea pulsing against her throat. She turns on the faucet, splashes her face, the cold water a welcome slap against her hot cheeks. Over the past decade, she has never once thought of herself as a criminal; Ruby did right by that child, even if the law doesn’t agree. But now a boulder is careening their way.

TWO

Ruby flings the door open at the first crunch of gravel on the driveway. She gnaws her lower lip as Molly’s car parks beside the porch. Clyde bursts from the car first, a flash of four-legged auburn highlights leaping up at Ruby for a quick lick before bounding around the corner into the backyard. Lark’s butt emerges next, followed by the rest of the child tugging out a purple backpack.

As Molly pulls away, Ruby waves and mouths “thank you,” pretends not to see the questioning look in the woman’s eyes. Lark barely reaches the porch before Ruby grabs her, pulls her into a tight hug. Ruby draws in a deep breath through her nose, savors the hint of Larkness buried under scents of horse and a day outdoors.

“Mo-om,” Lark says into Ruby’s shirt. “You’re squi-ishing me.”

Ruby loosens her grip, moves her hands to Lark’s shoulders. “Sorry, baby.”

“What’s the matter?” Lark steps away from Ruby and into the house.

Ruby picks up Lark’s backpack, follows her inside. “Nothing’s wrong. I just needed my Lark fix.”

“You were jonesing, huh?”

Even in her terror, Ruby can’t help laugh. “Jonesing? Where on earth . . .”

“I’m precocious, remember?” Lark tucks a wisp of angel-wing hair behind her ear.

Ruby crosses the living area, moves to the sink nestled in a corner of the tiny kitchen. Through the gap in the curtains behind the sink, a sliver of the Sangre de Cristo mountains is awash in purple evening light. Reaching past the herb garden and Lark’s latest project, an avocado pit suspended over a glass by toothpicks, she tugs the curtains closed against any possibility of prying eyes.

A door slams. Ruby startles. She drops her hand from her throat when she sees Clyde, who nosed open the screen door to the back porch. He pads over to her, rubs his sleek doggy body against her legs. Normal, she tells herself. Just act normal.

She leans back against the kitchen counter. “You hungry?”

Lark throws herself onto the sofa that they inherited with the house. “We were just finishing our burgers when you called. We were going to the movie.” Petulance mixes with concern in Lark’s voice.

Molly hadn’t asked any questions when Ruby called her. Ruby’s tone had probably put her off. Back at the salon, Antoinette’s face had registered somewhere between hurt and confusion when Ruby asked for a rain check from their regular Thursday girls’ night. Ruby didn’t intend the edge in her voice, but it cut Antoinette just the same.

Ruby is going to have to explain everything, to Margaret and Molly, to her boyfriend, Chaz, to Antoinette. To Lark. First, though, she has to understand it, believe it, herself.

THREE

“Can we watch one here? A movie?” Lark asks.

Ruby nods. “Your pick.”

Lark slides off the sofa, opens the oak armoire, runs her finger down the videocassettes stacked beside the TV—Ruby has yet to upgrade the collection to DVD. “Singin’ in the Rain?”

“Again?” Ruby says. “What ever. But bath first. You reek of horse.”

“We rode out at Rancho Enchanto.” Lark still uses her years-old mispronunciation of Rancho Encantada, the fancy horse stables and residential development just north of Santa Fe. “I got to ride Gus.”

Ruby follows Lark into the bathroom sandwiched between the two bedrooms. When the tub is filled, Ruby sits on the toilet lid while Lark soaks the dirt and sweat and summer off her lithe body. Clyde sits at Ruby’s feet, his chin resting on the edge of the tub.

“You got camp tomorrow,” Ruby says. Lark has attended the twice-a-week Girls Inc. day camp for the last few years, part of Ruby’s patchwork of care for Lark while school is not in session.

“Yeah. The image lady is coming again.” Already a crisp line divides Lark’s legs into the creamy part shielded from sun by her shorts and the bronzed lower limbs.

“Images?” If Ruby can keep Lark talking, she might be able to fake her way through a cheery bath time.

“Of us. Girls. Last time she showed us pictures from magazines and stuff. And asked us what we thought the pictures said about the girls in them. She showed us how the people who make the clothes put us into either ‘Girly girl’ or ‘Naughty girl.’ Like the T-shirts that say ‘Boys Will Be Toys.’ The ones you won’t let me wear.”

Ruby shakes her head at Lark’s bubble beard. Sometimes the kid is nine going on forty, sometimes nine going on four. “The ones you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.”

“Well, anyway, we’re making our own shirts. Tomorrow we get to draw what we want on them and then she’s going to take the pictures and put them on the shirts.” Lark pauses to scrub her face with the washcloth. “We’re supposed to draw things that show who we are. Like it’s okay to use ‘Princess’ or ‘Flirt’ if we want, but what else are we?”

Lark washes her “toeses,” chanting the “Moses” song from the movie they’ll watch after her bath. “Do you think the other kids will think I’m a total nerd if I put old movies on my list of things I like, on my shirt?” Her elfin face is earnest.

“Some of them might.” Ruby folds her arms in her lap. “You can’t control what other people think, baby bird. Sometimes you can’t even control what you think. You can only control how you act.”

“Rinse, please.” Lark tilts her foamy wig backward, ropy collarbones jutting out, the shampoo aroma a halo of that peculiar mix of strawberry and banana that the makers call kiwi. Ruby fills the plastic cup again and again from the faucet, and pours it over her daughter’s corn-silk head. “Besides. Why would you care about the thoughts of someone silly enough not to like old movies? Okay, stand up.” Ruby holds up a blue towel. “Just be your own wonderful self.”

The phone rings as Ruby enfolds Lark in the towel. A second ring, a third, shriek. Ruby rushes to the kitchen counter, picks up the receiver as if it might bite.

“Hello?” Her voice is old-man gruff as much from fear as the instinct to disguise. “No, no. There’s no one here by that name.”

Slamming the receiver onto its cradle, she lays her hot forehead against the cool counter. A telemarketer, just a pesky telemarketer asking for Mrs. Levy.

She raises her head, clasps her hands behind her clammy neck, then she hurries into the living area. A yank on the cord beside the large picture window sends the rarely closed blinds crashing to the sill. Coughing through a cloud of sparkly dust, she leans over the sofa, peers through the slats, down the street, looking for cherry-topped cars or big, black government sedans.

Ruby’s brain scoffs at her flailing heart. They’re not going to call first; they’re just going to kick in the door.

Excerpted from Mothers and Other Liars by Amy Bourret.

Copyright © 2010 by Amy Bourret.

Published in 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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First Chapter

Mothers and Other Liars


By Amy Bourret

St. Martin's Griffin

Copyright © 2010 Amy Bourret
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312586584

ONE
Ruby Leander’s third life ends with the flip of a page. The photograph catches her eye first. Then the words shriek at her, in stark black and white. Lines of type shift on the page, curl into a tight ball, somersault, gathering sentences, whole paragraphs, gaining momentum. And just like that, on an otherwise ordinary Thursday, this life is over.
She slams the weekly tabloid shut, sandwiching the article between weight-loss ads and pictures of celebrities misbehaving. As her client, Antoinette, approaches, Ruby tosses the magazine aside.
Antoinette bustles up to the nail station, oversized tote bag banging against her curvy hip. Thursday is Ruby’s late day, to accommodate the working women. Antoinette has a standing appointment in the last slot. Margaret’s partner, Molly, baby sits Lark—though nine-year-old Lark would cringe at that word. And Antoinette and Ruby go to dinner. This is their routine.
“Sorry. Sorry. Shakespeare had it right. I want to kill all the lawyers.” Antoinette plops down on the seat across the narrow table. Her thick hair is tamed into a demure bun, her white blouse closed a button higher than before her recent promotion from the court clerk’s office to judge’s secretary. She pauses, looks at Ruby. “You okay?”
No, Ruby is not okay. The photograph, the words, are burned into her brain. From a serendipitous thirst, a wrong turn, and a chance meeting—and a big lie—she built this Santa Fe life for herself and her daughter, Lark. This is no sand-castle life that could wash away in the evening tide; this is a mountain life, strong and tall and solid. Yet even mountains erode, and this one is crumbling at her feet. She is definitely not okay.
“Yes. I’m fine.”
Without a doubt, that photograph is of Lark; a similar shot sits in a frame in their living room. This life is over, but what she does about the article will define what the next life will be—for her and for Lark.
“You sure you’re okay?” Antoinette’s voice sounds tinny, as if traveling from a soup can and string, what with having to penetrate that photo before reaching a piece of Ruby’s brain. “It’s not . . .”
“I’m fine. Really.” Ruby tries to ignore the worry creasing Antoinette’s brow and avoid meeting Margaret’s eyes in the mirrored wall that lines the hair stations. Margaret doesn’t miss much in her salon.
“You know you can tell me anything.” Antoinette’s voice is soft with concern.
The kindness soaks into Ruby’s skin, rises to a lump in her throat. “I know.”
As Antoinette turns to the rack on the wall to choose her polish, Ruby picks up the tabloid from the floor beside her chair, fans through to the page. She rips out the article, folds it into a tidy square, then gestures to the sudsy manicure dish. “Soak a minute. I’ll be right back.”
In the back room of the salon, Ruby braces her arms on each side of the sink, fights the nausea pulsing against her throat. She turns on the faucet, splashes her face, the cold water a welcome slap against her hot cheeks. Over the past decade, she has never once thought of herself as a criminal; Ruby did right by that child, even if the law doesn’t agree. But now a boulder is careening their way.
TWO
Ruby flings the door open at the first crunch of gravel on the driveway. She gnaws her lower lip as Molly’s car parks beside the porch. Clyde bursts from the car first, a flash of four-legged auburn highlights leaping up at Ruby for a quick lick before bounding around the corner into the backyard. Lark’s butt emerges next, followed by the rest of the child tugging out a purple backpack.
As Molly pulls away, Ruby waves and mouths “thank you,” pretends not to see the questioning look in the woman’s eyes. Lark barely reaches the porch before Ruby grabs her, pulls her into a tight hug. Ruby draws in a deep breath through her nose, savors the hint of Larkness buried under scents of horse and a day outdoors.
“Mo-om,” Lark says into Ruby’s shirt. “You’re squi-ishing me.”
Ruby loosens her grip, moves her hands to Lark’s shoulders. “Sorry, baby.”
“What’s the matter?” Lark steps away from Ruby and into the house.
Ruby picks up Lark’s backpack, follows her inside. “Nothing’s wrong. I just needed my Lark fix.”
“You were jonesing, huh?”
Even in her terror, Ruby can’t help laugh. “Jonesing? Where on earth . . .”
“I’m precocious, remember?” Lark tucks a wisp of angel-wing hair behind her ear.
Ruby crosses the living area, moves to the sink nestled in a corner of the tiny kitchen. Through the gap in the curtains behind the sink, a sliver of the Sangre de Cristo mountains is awash in purple evening light. Reaching past the herb garden and Lark’s latest project, an avocado pit suspended over a glass by toothpicks, she tugs the curtains closed against any possibility of prying eyes.
A door slams. Ruby startles. She drops her hand from her throat when she sees Clyde, who nosed open the screen door to the back porch. He pads over to her, rubs his sleek doggy body against her legs. Normal, she tells herself. Just act normal.
She leans back against the kitchen counter. “You hungry?”
Lark throws herself onto the sofa that they inherited with the house. “We were just finishing our burgers when you called. We were going to the movie.” Petulance mixes with concern in Lark’s voice.
Molly hadn’t asked any questions when Ruby called her. Ruby’s tone had probably put her off. Back at the salon, Antoinette’s face had registered somewhere between hurt and confusion when Ruby asked for a rain check from their regular Thursday girls’ night. Ruby didn’t intend the edge in her voice, but it cut Antoinette just the same.
Ruby is going to have to explain everything, to Margaret and Molly, to her boyfriend, Chaz, to Antoinette. To Lark. First, though, she has to understand it, believe it, herself.
THREE
“Can we watch one here? A movie?” Lark asks.
Ruby nods. “Your pick.”
Lark slides off the sofa, opens the oak armoire, runs her finger down the videocassettes stacked beside the TV—Ruby has yet to upgrade the collection to DVD. “Singin’ in the Rain?”
“Again?” Ruby says. “What ever. But bath first. You reek of horse.”
“We rode out at Rancho Enchanto.” Lark still uses her years-old mispronunciation of Rancho Encantada, the fancy horse stables and residential development just north of Santa Fe. “I got to ride Gus.”
Ruby follows Lark into the bathroom sandwiched between the two bedrooms. When the tub is filled, Ruby sits on the toilet lid while Lark soaks the dirt and sweat and summer off her lithe body. Clyde sits at Ruby’s feet, his chin resting on the edge of the tub.
“You got camp tomorrow,” Ruby says. Lark has attended the twice-a-week Girls Inc. day camp for the last few years, part of Ruby’s patchwork of care for Lark while school is not in session.
“Yeah. The image lady is coming again.” Already a crisp line divides Lark’s legs into the creamy part shielded from sun by her shorts and the bronzed lower limbs.
“Images?” If Ruby can keep Lark talking, she might be able to fake her way through a cheery bath time.
“Of us. Girls. Last time she showed us pictures from magazines and stuff. And asked us what we thought the pictures said about the girls in them. She showed us how the people who make the clothes put us into either ‘Girly girl’ or ‘Naughty girl.’ Like the T-shirts that say ‘Boys Will Be Toys.’ The ones you won’t let me wear.”
Ruby shakes her head at Lark’s bubble beard. Sometimes the kid is nine going on forty, sometimes nine going on four. “The ones you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.”
“Well, anyway, we’re making our own shirts. Tomorrow we get to draw what we want on them and then she’s going to take the pictures and put them on the shirts.” Lark pauses to scrub her face with the washcloth. “We’re supposed to draw things that show who we are. Like it’s okay to use ‘Princess’ or ‘Flirt’ if we want, but what else are we?”
Lark washes her “toeses,” chanting the “Moses” song from the movie they’ll watch after her bath. “Do you think the other kids will think I’m a total nerd if I put old movies on my list of things I like, on my shirt?” Her elfin face is earnest.
“Some of them might.” Ruby folds her arms in her lap. “You can’t control what other people think, baby bird. Sometimes you can’t even control what you think. You can only control how you act.”
“Rinse, please.” Lark tilts her foamy wig backward, ropy collarbones jutting out, the shampoo aroma a halo of that peculiar mix of strawberry and banana that the makers call kiwi. Ruby fills the plastic cup again and again from the faucet, and pours it over her daughter’s corn-silk head. “Besides. Why would you care about the thoughts of someone silly enough not to like old movies? Okay, stand up.” Ruby holds up a blue towel. “Just be your own wonderful self.”
The phone rings as Ruby enfolds Lark in the towel. A second ring, a third, shriek. Ruby rushes to the kitchen counter, picks up the receiver as if it might bite.
“Hello?” Her voice is old-man gruff as much from fear as the instinct to disguise. “No, no. There’s no one here by that name.”
Slamming the receiver onto its cradle, she lays her hot forehead against the cool counter. A telemarketer, just a pesky telemarketer asking for Mrs. Levy.
She raises her head, clasps her hands behind her clammy neck, then she hurries into the living area. A yank on the cord beside the large picture window sends the rarely closed blinds crashing to the sill. Coughing through a cloud of sparkly dust, she leans over the sofa, peers through the slats, down the street, looking for cherry-topped cars or big, black government sedans.
Ruby’s brain scoffs at her flailing heart. They’re not going to call first; they’re just going to kick in the door.
Excerpted from Mothers and Other Liars by Amy Bourret.
Copyright © 2010 by Amy Bourret.
Published in 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.


Continues...

Excerpted from Mothers and Other Liars by Amy Bourret Copyright © 2010 by Amy Bourret. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Reading Group Guide

How far will a mother go to save her child?

Ten years ago, Ruby Leander was a drifting nineteen-year-old who made a split-second decision at an Oklahoma rest stop. Fast forward nine years: Ruby and her daughter Lark live in New Mexico. Lark is a precocious, animal loving imp, and Ruby has built a family for them with a wonderful community of friends and her boyfriend of three years. Life is good. Until the day Ruby reads a magazine article about parents searching for an infant kidnapped by car-jackers. Then Ruby faces a choice no mother should have to make. A choice that will change both her and Lark's lives forever.

Read More Show Less

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Very Good Book!

    This book starts kind of slow but builds until you feel that you know these characters and can't wait to see how the situation unfolds. There is an unexpected ending. Definitely a good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2010

    I Couldn't Put It Down!!

    This well-written story with amazing twists and turns kept me up all night. And now I just keep thinking about Ruby and Lark as if they were my friends. I hope the author writes a sequel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Mothers and Other Liars is overall a good read. There were sever

    Mothers and Other Liars is overall a good read. There were several surprises as I followed the story of Ruby and Lark. However, the ending was a bit too cookie-cutter for me in that is seemed very unrealistic. I love a happy ending but in a story about a child being legally taken from the mother who raised her, I expect at least a little heartbreak. This book was filled with very interesting, different characters and somehow they all ended up perfectly happy in the end. Other than that though, the story is gripping and entertaining.

    SPOILER: Did anyone else find it hard to imagine explaining to the son Ruby had that he would have been raised by two different people had they wanted him? I thought that was strange especially since the grief Ruby felt for her newborn son was pretty brief in the story.

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  • Posted August 4, 2013

    Absolutely loved the story!! Ok, in all fairness, this book was

    Absolutely loved the story!!
    Ok, in all fairness, this book was such an amazing story, it deserves a 5 out of 5. BUT, the thing that kept it from being a perfect score - the way the chapters were presented... roughly 2 pages each!! That could very well be the author's writing style. But, 117 mini-chapters could have easily been 12-20 larger chapters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2011

    Incredible!!

    This book was amazing! It really hit home for me, I could not put it down, it plays with your emotions and gets you engrossed in the characters and you fall in love with every bit of this story. Must have for your bookshelf!!

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Great story w/ a great ending

    I loved this book. Very well writen and enjoyable to read. Really makes you think, could this really happen??

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2011

    Excellent Read!

    couldn't wait to get back to this book!! loved the characters, loved the story!

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  • Posted January 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great story that makes you think!

    Am embarrassed to admit that this book has been sitting on my shelf for several months, forgotten and neglected. After finally reading it, I'm sorry I waited so long. It was so good, I could barely put it down! The characters were unbelievably real, the situation they find themselves in was heartbreaking, and the writing was amazing!

    Ruby is a loving mother who I liked from the very beginning. She has made a good life for herself, with an adorable daughter, great friends, and a wonderful boyfriend. But it all threatens to come crashing down when she happens upon an article in a tabloid. The ramifications are devastating.

    One of the things I liked about Ruby is that she doesn't have all of the answers and makes mistakes. Who knows how anyone would react if faced with the same situation, but I found myself respecting her choices. I liked almost all of the characters, even if they didn't behave the way I wanted them to. The writing was beautiful, as it flowed so smoothly that I totally got lost in the story. Great pacing, strong characters, wonderful writing; the only thing that kept this from being a 5/5 was the ending, which I didn't find believable and sort of jerked me out of the moment. Up until the last few chapters, it's a solid story. Aside from the end, I loved this book! Even that didn't ruin the book, just stopped it from being perfect for me. Others may very well love the ending, so curious if anyone else has a different take?

    Don't make the same mistake I did in ignoring this book! Go! Read it! And let's discuss that ending!

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  • Posted September 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Ridiculous plot

    Nineteen year old Ruby Leander was leaving Oklahoma for California following her grandmother's funeral. Stopping at a rest stop changed Ruby's life forever when she discovered an abandoned infant.

    Nine years later Ruby is now living in New Mexico with her daughter, Lark, and dating Chaz, a local policeman. A nail technician, Ruby sees a magazine article with a photo of a missing infant that can only be Lark and the parents who have been looking for her for almost a decade. Shocked, scared and unsure what to do, Ruby's decision is taken out of her hands when Lark discovers the article in Ruby's purse.

    Ruby's consults an attorney in her quest to do the right thing, even though she can't imagine life without Lark. Complicating matters, she discovers that she is pregnant with Chaz' child.

    Ms. Bourret's novel was a delight to read with good characters and strong writing until she injected a ridiculous plot line worthy of King Solomon in the Old Testament.

    Downhill from there; you should skip this one. Lynn Kimmerle

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  • Posted July 14, 2010

    Amazing Debut Novel- Best Book Club Book of the Year!!

    I just finished an early reader copy of this amazing debut novel. I literally could not put it down. I spent an entire day with this book absorbed cover to cover. Bookclubs will spend hours discussing the meanings of motherhood, sacrifice, what defines a family and love. The lies and secrets mixed with the raw emotion will have these characters on my mind for weeks to come. The pacing is brilliant and the dialog is so crisp and current. I laughed and I cried and was so sad to see the story come to an end. This one is a keeper!! Bring on the next book Amy Bourret!

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a character driven superb family drama

    Nineteen year old runaway Ruby Lavender finds an abandoned baby inside a trash can at a rest-stop. Assuming the parents were discarding the infant, she names the child Lark and takes her with her as her child.

    Nine years later in New Mexico, Ruby works as a nail technician while raising her daughter as a single mom. Mother and daughter are contented as they have plenty of friends and support. Ruby even has a boyfriend; whose family adores her and especially Lark.

    However, Ruby's perfect world implodes when she reads in a tabloid about two parents whose baby was kidnapped nine years ago and they pray for a miracle. Ruby now knows her Lark was abducted not dumped. She must choose what is right for Lark though what this is remains nebulous except one choice will rip her motherly heart to shreds.

    This is a character driven superb family drama starring a strong cast especially Ruby, Lark and the biological parents. Readers will empathize with the "adopted" mom who struggles with just what is right for her beloved daughter as she knows her mind cannot filter passed life without Lark. Although too much is piled on the heroine (more than the above), sympathetic fans will relish this profound look at Mothers & Other Liars.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2010

    Book Clubs: This one is for you!

    I received an Advanced Copy of this debut novel at a conference. I read a lot and this is one of the best books I've read in a good while. The characters were very believable and - the best test of all - I didn't want it to end.

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  • Posted May 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mothers and Other Liars

    An early review book that I hesitated to request, but am glad that I did. Ruby Leander has a secret, some would call it horrible, some would say deep dark, but I don't think any of those could really apply. Her daughter, Lark, isn't really hers. She found her in a trash can as she traveled to her new life out west. Assuming the baby had been abandoned, Ruby is shocked when nine years later, she finds that Lark's real parents have been looking for her all this time.

    The story follows Ruby's decision to do the right thing and how it impacts the lives of all around her. Ruby and Lark go through a roller coaster ride of emotions as Ruby is charged with kidnapping and faces never seeing her beloved Lark again.

    While I found much of the plot line to be strain believablilty, it still brought me into the lives of this small family. Their emotions were written plainly on every page and touched my heart. Ruby struggles with her decisions, constantly second guessing herself if what she decided was best for Lark. Lark struggles to find who she really is now that she knows her true history. Every day brings a new challenge into their lives and they overcome them as best they can.

    3.5/5

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews

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