Day 973: The Lie

Cover for The LieBest Book of the Week!
Helen Dunmore has this thing she does. I’ll be reading along, moderately interested, and then at the end of the novel she’ll do something that makes me realize the novel is much better than I first supposed. She does this again with The Lie.

Daniel Branwell has returned to his home town in Cornwall from World War I. A dying old lady took him in when he arrived home, and he cared for her until her death. He doesn’t want to mix much with other people, though. He is traumatized from the war and particularly by the death of his friend Frederick, who is haunting him.

As Daniel struggles to make a living, his memories alternate between those of the war and of his childhood friendship with Frederick. Although Daniel was bright and did well in class with an eidetic memory for poetry, he was forced to drop out of school at the age of 11. Frederick, as the son of a wealthy man, was being prepared for better things. Still, even as young men, when Frederick was home they were nearly inseparable.

Daniel meets Frederick’s sister Felicia, now a widow with a young daughter. Their mutual grief brings them together, and they begin spending time with each other, he helping her around the house or both of them visiting the sites of his adventures with Frederick.

But Daniel has told a lie about something. Because of it, he is aware he’s being misunderstood by the village.

This is a powerful novel that I may not have looked for were it not for my Walter Scott Prize project. Although I have not enjoyed all of the short listed books, this one sneaked up on me.

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6 thoughts on “Day 973: The Lie

  1. TJ @ MyBookStrings September 21, 2016 / 10:53 am

    For me, this book was the introduction to Helen Dunmore. It has caused me to put all of her other books on my TBR list, and though I have quite a few to read still, I have liked/loved all of the ones I’ve read so far.

    • whatmeread September 21, 2016 / 10:56 am

      I liked this one better than her others. My first book by her was The Greatcoat, but I liked both of the others (Exposure was the other one) better.

    • Carolyn O September 21, 2016 / 1:36 pm

      High praise! I’m putting this on my list too.

  2. Naomi September 21, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Oh, now I need to know what that lie was!

  3. Helen September 22, 2016 / 3:39 pm

    I enjoyed this book too, but I liked Exposure better (I’ve only read two of Dunmore’s books so far). I’ve added your review link to my Walter Scott page. 🙂

  4. whatmeread September 22, 2016 / 4:20 pm

    Thanks! i’m not sure which I liked better between this one and Exposure.

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