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What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

What I Saw And How I LiedEvie loves her stepfather, Joe Spooner, more than anything. That’s why she’s so thrilled when he finally comes home after World War II. Things are mostly back to normal, but something’s different. It’s not until Peter Coleridge, a handsome fellow who served in Joe’s company, shows up that Evie’s truths start to fall apart. Evie finds herself falling for Peter despite the fact that her parents warned her away from him. She doesn’t really know what she’s getting herself into until it’s too late and tragedy turns a spotlight onto the twisted truths and lies that become her new life. Caught in the midst of a web of deception, Evie will face her greatest test of loyalty, but who will she betray, the family that’s always loved her of the man she believes she loves?

Historically accurate and thought provoking with controversy, What I Saw and How I Lied is an interesting coming of age story in a socially tumultuous time. I found Blundell’s description of the post-World War II era to be spot on, particularly with the booming economy and unfortunate lingering of anti-Semitism. The mystery of what the tragedy really was is well written, and I enjoyed the gradual peeling away of the layers of lies to reveal the ugly truth. The ending is somewhat disappointing from a romantic standpoint, but completely realistic in all other respects. Evie’s character is introduced as a young and slightly naïve girl just beginning to test the boundaries between childhood and womanhood, but the scandalous family ordeal she’s put through forces a loss of innocence. The reader really feels for Evie, because she has to learn the hard way that the people she always regarded in the higest esteem aren’t really who they said they were. This novel clearly shows the negative side of World War II from mental, social, and economic perspectives and displays what I believe is one of the lowest points in American culture; an abundance of money created a new higher class that felt it had the right to pass judgment and act as it pleased in complete disregard for the little people who got run over in the process. I did however appreciate the foil to this in the generous and kind Jewish couple who transform Evie’s social views for the better. My only issue with this story is that too many past details are obscured and I, as the reader, was guessing a little too frequently.

What I Saw and How I Lied is a solid historical mystery and coming of age tale that will be enjoyed by those who also liked Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher and A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly.

Rating: 4.25

Review copy from Amazon Vine

9 munch(es) :

Diana Dang said...

Great review =) Maybe I will buy it today when I go to the bookstore. Debating on what books to get, ah the choices...

Keri Mikulski said...

Loved this book. :) Nice review!

Bookgeek said...

Oh, I really enjoyed this book

Angie said...

I like the cover to this book - and I just love books that are set in the 40's.

mstohl said...

Great review. I loved this book and just met Judy Blundell at the LA Times Book Festival. She was as interesting as the book!

Kelly said...

I love how you end your reviews with further recommendations! How do you get those? Do you just come up with them based on your own reading, or do you use a site like Amazon? I am probably going to steal that idea, just so you know. ;-) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Lenore said...

Both of the others you mentioned are ones I've bought recently and plan to read soon, so I'll keep this in mind if it turns out I really like them.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I really wanted to read Ten Cents a Dance after finishing this one. I loved this one and really felt like I could get into the 40's atmosphere. Thanks for the review!

Anna said...

This one sounds like it might be good for our WWII reading challenge. Could I link to your review at War Through the Generations?

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

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