Jane Davis won the Daily Mail First Novel Award with Half-truths and White Lies. This is, I believe, her seventh book. For some reason, it’s ranked by Amazon under Historical Fiction (which it is) as Women’s Fiction – which it is not. There’s no shortage of female characters, but that doesn’t make a book into Women’s Fiction. The themes of this book will be, or certainly should be, of interest to anyone – male, female, or somewhere in between.
The book tells the story of Lottie Pye, who believes for the first 30 or so years of her life that she is an orphan, only to find that her mother is still alive. Her father too, probably, though she never learns who he was. It also tells the story of Lottie’s son James, who believes for the first 80 or so years of HIS life that he was abandoned by Lottie; the end of the book sees him making his own discovery.
On one level, it’s a satisfying unravelling of a complicated story. On another, it’s an exploration of what it is to be human. On whatever level you choose, it’s a perfectly written book in which the author never puts a foot wrong. As each mystery is solved, each question answered, and each piece of the jigsaw falls into place, you think, “Ah, yes. Of course. That’s what happened. That explains everything.”
I don’t like giving books five stars. I do it reluctantly, because five stars should mean, “This book is quite exceptional.” If I could avoid giving this one five stars, I would.