We often have complex relationships with our nearest and dearest. After a death or the end of a relationship we are sometimes presented with secrets and with new perspectives of the people we thought we knew. So much is never said or discussed, leaving questions unanswered and feelings unresolved. I love the genealogy programmes on TV. Its funny how delighted the people are to find a ‘bad un’ in their family tree. With the distance of time, their unsavoury exploits are thrilling and amusing rather than shocking. The Long Lost Family programmes, which now have their format duplicated in the US and Australia, show the search for more immediate family and we see understanding and forgiveness shown to those who made brave decisions in what could be scandalous events for the period.
Having read Sally Rooney’s Normal People, prior to Lockdown, I was interested to see a cover recommendation on this month’s first book, which stated it is a must read for Sally Rooney, Maggie O’Farrell and Ann Patchett fans. The book is The Truth In The Lie by Jan Turk Petrie and published by Pintail Press (www.pintailpress.com) back in June.
When successful writer Charlotte Preece moves into a new riverside apartment with following the breakup of a relationship. She starts to feel guilty when the upheaval, that the move causes, impacts on her daughter Kate’s first year exam results. Shortly afterwards she is called by the hospital to go to her ailing mothers bedside, she has to battle through heavy snows to get there, only to find on her arrival that her ex-husband Duncan has already braved the treacherous conditions to be there too, but why? Is he being supportive, is there an ulterior motive, what else will the two of them discover about themselves when they are snow in together in the wild of the north of England.
I must say, I spent most of Normal People wanting to bang the two lead characters heads together and make them have an honest conversation, rather than pussy footing around each other. So frustrating! The suggestion of secrets and complex relationships in the Truth in a Lie, engaged my interest. I hoped for a similar intensity but more resolution.
I found this book a pleasant and engaging read. The narrative carries you along. Charlotte is a well-drawn, sympathetic character. Some of her actions in the plot would make you consider her selfish but her back story allows for sympathy. For me though, we didn’t go enough into the secrets. A secret stash of letters, which Charlotte is asked not to read, so she doesn’t! Don’t mention them, then! Its possibly my love for thrillers that made me want more with this family drama but everything worked out a little too easily. There was certainly resolution. There was a slight fairytale aspect to it. I wouldn’t wish to spoil the ending for other readers, but I, personally, had a sense of going backwards in terms of Charlotte’s growth as a person.
This is English author Jan Turk Petrie’s (www.janturkpetrie.com) sixth book, the others are Until The Ice Cracks (2018), No God For A Warrior (2018), Within Each Others Shadow (2019) – which are part of the Edisvik Trilogy. Then there’s Too Many Heroes (2019) and finally Towards The Vanishing Point (Jan 2020). She is a former English teacher with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Gloucester, Jan has also written numerous prize winning short stories, she currently lives in the Cotswold’s in south west England.
The Truth in a Lie, explores everyday dilemmas and inter-generational lack of communication which may lead us to regrets and missed opportunities. For those of a less suspicious and detective nature it will offer a comforting journey into love and loss. A great book to snuggle down with on a wet day.
So get yourself a virtual hug with a family drama and pop down to your local book shop or download a copy The Truth in a Lie soon.
Reviewed by: Georgina Murphy
This book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour, to see what the other reviewers thought of it, visit their blogs listed below. Then, if you go out and get a copy, come back and tell us what you thought, we really appreciate the feed back.