Tuesday, July 26, 2011

'The Book of Lies' by Mary Horlock (TLC Tour Book)

Teaser Synopsis:

Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.
Longer version click here.

First Thoughts after finishing this book:  "Was Cat crazy or is it me?????"
The sentences that helped create the atmosphere of unease:
Killing myself wouldn't be too clever, but then neither was killing Nicolette. It's been a fortnight since they found her body and for the most part I am glad she's gone.  But I also can't believe she's dead, and I should because I did it. Yes. That's right. I killed Nicolette on these very cliffs and I'm frankly amazed that no one has guessed. [p.1]
What worked for me:
  • Guernsey- after reading and loving 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' I knew that this was a place I would like to revisit. One of the things that I would absolutely recommend to someone who is thinking of reading The Book of Lies is to visit this website all about the island. I loved the short video and it really helped me to see the island and get a  feel of this place. I wished I'd done this prior to reading the book. I love envisioning places, people, and  scenery while reading and I think this would help others.
  • The historical aspect of the story. Again, I like historical fiction and felt that the author made Guernsey its own character in the story. Much of what happened in this story, people blamed on the island.
  • At first I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the two parallel stories (Cat's story in 1984 and her Uncle Charles from 1943-1965) but I eventually found myself at ease with the story changing from Cat to her Uncle Charlie's.
  • The author has a very distinct voice and way of storytelling.
What didn't work for me:
  •  I thought the first half of the book was a bit slow and I never really felt a connection with Cat. The author tells us that she's a bit of an unreliable narrator, so I was never really sure if her version was the truth. But in the end I think it really did work for the author.

Would I recommend? Yes, but with a few hesitations. I would tell you to read the P.S. part of the book first. I find that the insights and interviews with the author actually enrich the reading experience. I should go with my gut instinct and do it every time before diving into the story. After I read the P.S. section light bulbs starting going off in my head!! I felt that the story moved a bit slow for me, but overall I'm glad that I stuck with it because I ended up learning quite a bit about Guernsey and the role it and those that lived there played in WWII.

Rating: 7.5/10 

Author: Mary Horlock

Mary Horlock is an authority on contemporary art who has worked at the Tate Britain and Tate Liverpool, and curated the Turner Prize for contemporary art. She spent her childhood in Guernsey, and lives in London.

Published: July 19, 2011
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 347
Genre: Literary Fiction
ISBN:  9780062065094

Disclaimer:Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MYexperience while reading this novel.

© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I have always struggled with books that have two different time settings... so I appreciate the heads up on this one! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  2. Eh, this is one of those perhaps it would work, perhaps not. I just can't tell

  3. I have an ARC of this book and still haven't read it! I didn't even know what it was when I received it, so I wasn't in a rush to read it... Now it sounds both good and a bit iffy...

  4. Yes, I do agree with all you said Staci. I was still glad that I read it though. I like unreliable narrators.

  5. I recently read a book that I thought should have the author's note in the front as well. The Guernsey setting really piques my interest.

  6. Hi Staci,
    What did you not like about Meredith? "Silver Girl" I don't think I remember not liking her. There were times I wasn't sure about Connie, with the drinking and all, but I think I always liked Meredith. I honestly would like to know your opinion.
    She seems like a really good writer. I would like to give her another go.

  7. An unreliable narrator - sounds like a book I should read! Very nice teaser.

  8. I don't usually like unreliable narrators, but I thought it worked here. And I even liked the seemingly mismatched but integrated storylines. Glad you liked it for the most part. I've linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

  9. I think I have to be in the mood for stories that are on the slow side. Often I enjoy them, but if I'm not in the mood for one, it can be the kiss of death. This one sounds good.

  10. Guernsey does make a great setting for a book. I am still torn on if this is a book I should read. Thanks for the heads up on P.S. part of the book. If I do read this I'll be sure to read that first.

  11. I try not to read the P.S. section first or any other reading "guide" because they often give something away. I almost always read them afterward though, even if I thought I understood everything.

    I love the cover of this one and the title alone pretty much hints at what is contained within. I love unreliable narrators.

  12. This book sounds interesting to me for all the reasons you point out - the setting, the historical aspect and even the switching between times. I would give it a shot for that (though I'm a bit leery about a plot that has a girl claiming responsibility for killing her friend). Great review!

  13. You always add the the greatest tidbits of info. Never read anything about Guernsey but would like too. Thanks for the fab review :)

  14. I've seen a few reviews of this one that have made me curious enough to actaully read it. Thanks for your honesty.

  15. this book sounds interesting. i'll have to remember to read the ps before reading the actual book when i get my hands on a copy of this one.

  16. I ususally read the PS stuff first and if I don't read it til after I feel like I missed out while reading! Your review makes me want to visit Guernsey.

  17. I loved Guernsey Lit Society and would probably read this book just because I'd like to revisit the place. The sentence for atmospheric unease really worked. I like the way you did that.

  18. I sometimes read the PS stuff first myself ... thanks for the suggestion to do that with this book.

    I'm glad you ended up enjoying it. Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  19. I agree! I wanted to love this book but I disliked the main character so immensely that it didn't completely come together for me. Still an excellent concept and great writing, though.

  20. I'm just reading your post now. I finished my review so, it's ready to go for Friday! Glad you liked it in spite of the narrator, etc. I liked the parallel stories and the narration, though I did have issues with some of the diction and the phrase choices used by Cat.

    I really liked the book though. Thanks for Guernsey website.

  21. Hmmm, I was curious about this one - still kind of am. Maybe the audiobook (if and/or when one appears) would work for me.


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