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Saturday, 12 September 2009

Review: What I Saw and How I Lied

Author: Judy Blundell
Release date: 6th July 2009
Genre: Dark Historical Romance
Target Audience: 15+

From Amazon:
Summer's ending, Evie's stepfather is finally home from the Second World War, and Evie is tired of her glamorous mother treating her like a little girl. Then a mysterious stranger appears; a handsome ex-GI who served with Evie's stepfather. Slowly, Evie realizes that she is falling in love with him - but he has dark secrets, and a strange control over her parents.

Review:


What I Saw and How I Lied is, as the title suggests, a novel about deception. Evie is fifteen and craves the glamourous world of her mother. Set in a post Second World War America, the novel speculates on both the experiences of ordinary men, who became soldiers like Evie's step-father, and their families who had to keep hoping for their safe return. However, the novel is more than a coming-of-age story. Evie is on the cusp of womanhood and when her step-father suggests they take a vacation to Florida she meets Peter. She sees that he exists within the glamourous adult world and is easily captivated by his charm. Unfortunately for Evie, Peter is hiding a dark secret and he is not the only one.

The novel also explores the corruption of innocence. Evie is characterised in the opening chapters as a wishful school girl with childish dreams of a more glamourous lifestyle. As the novel develops, Evie's eyes are opened to the harsh injustices of post-war America and the deception of those around her. Evie's innocence is crucial to the story. However, I found some of the early scenes difficult to believe of a fifteen year old girl. For example, Evie is caught trying on her mother's bra and stuffing it with tissue. I personally felt that this would be the actions of a much younger character. Having said that by the end of the novel, I had realised that this immaurity and untouched innocence was necessary to underpin the whole story.

I found What I Saw and How I Lied an interesting exploration of romantic ideals, betrayal, deception and atonement. The ending stayed true to the novel's revelation of these themes. Overall, this novel lacked a feel-good factor and that is part of its truth. This made the story harder to enjoy as it exposed a dark reality. I liked it but I just couldn't enjoy the destruction of deceit.

6 comments:

Chicklish said...

I wonder if Evie seemed younger because of the different times? Although maybe that would make her act older. Thanks for a really interesting review!

Lauren said...

I was really glad to see you review this because while I've always thought it looked interesting, it's not the kind of book I'd usually go for. Having read your review, I think the 'darkness' of the story might just appeal to me.

The Book Bug said...

Nice review, however, I dont think I like the look of it that much... Im not the sort for 'dark historical romances'. Nice cover, though...

natalierenae said...

Good review. This book has received a lot of good reviews, but yours gave the best reason for your rating. Thanks for the post!

Mindful Musings Book Blog

~Natalie

prophecygirl said...

I'm looking forward to (eventually) reading this! It sounds good, and I love the retro style cover :)

Rebecca-Books said...

Great review.
I read this a couple of weeks ago and I actually really enjoyed it. I understand what you mean however. And I thought the same about the bra thing.
I love the cover too :D