Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Book of Lies; Mary Horlock



Author: Mary Horlock
Publication Year: 2011 
Publisher: Harper
Edition: eBook
Source: Net Galley
Date Completed: 7/19/2011 
Setting: Island of Guernsey
Rating: 3.5/5
Recommend: yes 
 
The Book of Lies tells two stories which took place on the island of Guernsey. The novel begins in 1985 with fifteen-year-old Catherine (Cat) Rozier writing a confession about how she killed her best friend, Nicolette (Nic). She also tells us that her own father is dead, and that she didn't kill him, although she thought about it. We also learn whatever happened to Cat's father is connected to Nic.
 
It seems Catherine isn't the only one who got away with murder on the island, which was occupied by the Germans during WWII.  At that time Cat's father Emile was a young boy when the German's invaded, and for many years of his adult life he was trying to sort out the truth from the lies as to what his own father and older brother Charlie's role was during the war.
 
As Cat writes her own story about how she was betrayed by her best friend Nic, another story which was documented by her father's brother Charlie, tells of how he was captured, starved and tortured by the Germans after someone he also trusted had betrayed him, when he was about the same age as Cat.  We also learn about the role the grandfather played during the war and what had happened to him.

As Cat writes her story about what happened in (1984-1985), I found her to be a bit naive, but also a lonely teenager who longed for acceptance. She thought she had found that with the cool, pretty girl Nic as her best friend. Together they did the things many teens do and sometimes to excess: makeup, boys, drinking and other  high school antics, and then her best friend betrayed her.

The story alternates between Cat's story and Charlie's story decades earlier. I was not fond of how the story unfolded. Just when I was getting into Cat's story, the story would then change to a story about the war.  It might have worked a bit better if alternating chapters were used to separate the two stories.  The characters were well developed, and I thought Cat and probably more so, Charlie were sympathetic.  I do think this was a good debut novel, and I would recommend it with just minor reservations.

24 comments:

  1. You do get the most fascinating books.

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  2. I love the fact that its set on the island of Guernsey but it does sound like a complicated storyline.

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  3. Let me get this straight, Cat killed her best friend but not her father but her father is dead but the story jumps from Cat to her father's brother and the things that happened to him and also Cat is not the only one who got away with murder!!

    I'm not sure if I could handle it all!

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  4. This sounds super spooky and atmospheric. I am obsessed with the occupation of the Channel islands in WWII...so I'll have to give this book a go. Definitely sounds very different from the last book I read about Guernsey and WWII, which was the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. :)

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  5. Another book on teenagers and their behavior! Sounds interesting but a bit noir!

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  6. Mmm. I can understand what you are saying. I hate being immersed in a story and for it to suddenly veer off in another direction. I also am not fond of mixing too much historical fact with fiction.

    Thank you for your review.

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  7. I'd like to read this just because it takes place on Guernsey.

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  8. I can see how the abrupt change of setting within the same chapter would be somewhat distracting; your feeling that alternating chapters might have worked better is understandable.

    Sounds like this author has alot of promise tho, given the complicated story she pulled off in her debut effort.

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  9. When it comes to dual storylines, they need to both be interesting and involving in order for me to balance my interest. And it seems that a lot of books are going the dual storyline route these days! I am sorry to hear that this one wasn't a favorite, but I was glad to read your thoughtful analysis of the book.

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  10. I'm in the middle of this book now. I don't like how it switches either but I'm intrigued enough to want to finish.

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  11. I'm reviewing this one soon so I just popped to the bottom to see what you thought of the book and see you liked it. It seems to be getting good reviews. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  12. One I might have picked up on the cover and setting alone...but I think I may skip it.

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  13. That does sound interesting when I read about it. When I first saw the title I thought it had something to do with politics.

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  14. Guernsey makes for an interesting setting for sure. I am not usually fond of books that jump back and forth unless it is easy to follow both story lines. This might be a book to get from the library.

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  15. The cover snob in me probably wouldn't choose this book, but it does sound interesting, especially after my intro to Guernsey from the Potato Peel Society.

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  16. It seems like there are a lot of Guernsey books lately. I have to think it's because of the Potato Peel Pie book. :) This one does sound a little complicated.

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  17. I first heard of this one a few days ago and thought it sounded different. I am hoping to read it some time.

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  18. This book sounds intriguing although a bit confusing! It almost sounds like two different stories but I guess in reading it you discover how they come together. The title is interesting, too and I wonder about its relation to the narrative!
    I think I have to put this one on my tbr list!

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  19. I have wanted to read more books set on the island of Guernsey ever since read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peal Pie Society-thanks for letting us know about this book

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  20. I think I like the sound of this one. Thanks for the review. I may have to go out and get it now.

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  21. I was planning to read this book soon. I think I will lower my expectations a little so that I don't end up disappointed.

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  22. I think I am starting this one tonight. I am glad I read your review first so I will know what to expect!

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  23. I didn't mind how the author would move from one storyline to the next fairly quickly. I think she held my attention that way. Glad you liked it for the most part, though. I've linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

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  24. I just finished this one today and gave it about the same rating. Excellent review!

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