The latest from Moggach (Heartbreak Hotel, 2015, etc.) is a hodgepodge of infidelity and other lies that spans four continents.
In Pimlico, London, Petra falls in love with her best friend’s husband, Jeremy. In Beijing, China, Li Jing has just learned that her absentee husband, Wang Lei, is infertile. In White Springs, Texas, Lorrie signs up to be a surrogate mother after losing her nest egg in an Internet scam. All these threads lead to Oreya, West Africa, where both Jeremy and Lei do business and where Asaf, who operates a cellphone charging station, is plugged in to everyone’s secrets. Petra’s complicated relationship with Bev, her former roommate, is the most vivid—Petra learns firsthand that Bev’s cheerful social media posts about her happy marriage are pure fiction, and their shared history gives context to her whirlwind romance with Bev's husband. She has more of a butterfly effect on the other characters, whose outrageous predicaments unfold unevenly in alternating chapters. Lorrie can explain how she can hide her pregnant belly from her neighbors—she’s a stereotypical fat American who is a victim of corn syrup as well as fraud—but it’s harder to believe she’d hide such a life-altering choice from her spouse, who is away on military duty. Jing, in contrast, seems happier not knowing where her husband’s money is coming from. When they finally meet in West Africa—in a poor but modernized area populated by wild dogs, wily locals, and an unscrupulous pharmaceutical company—they confront their false assumptions about each other and begin to consider the impact of their actions on the world as well as in their own lives.
Kooky and diverse, each woman’s secret unfolds in scintillating bits that lead to a scandalous finish.