Jul 8, 2011

Book Review: The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock

The Book of Lies

The Book of Lies
Author:  Mary Horlock
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Expected Publication:  July 19th 2011

From Goodreads:

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.
A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable—going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.

Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey—from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted—in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words—recorded on tapes before his own death— a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story.


I'm not a fan of writing negative reviews but The Book of Lies is what it is.  After finishing The Book of Lies I've decided never to read a book  that takes place in Guernsey again.  I was beaten over the head throughout this book about how gossipy and small Guernsey is.  How everyone knows everyone and is in every one's business.  It got tiresome quickly.  Guernsey, Guernsey, Guernsey!  To add a positive I can say with extreme honesty that the author did major research on Guernsey, its history and present.  She knows Guernsey.  

The Book of Lies has two protagonist, one is a teenage girl, Cat, living in Guernsey circa the 80's the other is her uncle Charlie who speaks through letters written to his younger brother Emile during the occupation, who happens to be Cat's dad.  Through most of the book I couldn't find the link between Cat and her uncle, and kept wondering why we were getting both their stories.  In the end the link wasn't all that big of a deal anyways, in my opinion.  With the letters we are reading from Charlie to Emile there are so many french phrases that slow down the pace if you can't read french.   I took Spanish in school so I would find myself getting frustrated.  Story is plain slow, and it doesn't grow on you.  

As for the characters, Cat is a sociopath and Charlie is a troublemaker who caused many of problems during the war for his family. Someone else was to blame for the biggest thing that happen to his family during the occupation.  It is this big revelation that didn't have that huge impact the author was going for, I think.  I enjoyed the side players more in The Book of Lies.  

I didn't like The Book of Lies, it wasn't the writing, it was the characters and the story line.  There is an audience for it, it's just not me.  


  1. Thank you! I am reading this right now, and I am just not connecting with the characters at all. Hard to enjoy a book if you don't like any character in it.

  2. I know Sarah! There isn't one endearing quality in Cat or Charlie. I wonder if the author was trying to make them unlikable?


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