Lies Told in Silence
By: M.K. Tod
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the author as part of the Lies Told in Silence France Book Tours
In May 1914, Helene Noisette’s father believes war is imminent. Convinced Germany will head straight for Paris, he sends his wife, daughter, mother and younger son to Beaufort, a small village in northern France. But when war erupts a few months later, the German army invades neutral Belgium with the intent of sweeping south towards Paris. And by the end of September, Beaufort is less than twenty miles from the front.
During the years that follow, with the rumbling of guns ever present in the distance, three generations of women come together to cope with deprivation, constant fear and the dreadful impacts of war. In 1917, Helene falls in love with a young Canadian soldier who was wounded in the battle of Vimy Ridge.
But war has a way of separating lovers and families, of twisting promises and dashing hopes, and of turning the naïve and innocent into the jaded and war-weary. As the months pass, Helene is forced to reconcile dreams for the future with harsh reality.
Lies Told in Silence examines love and loss, duty and sacrifice, and the unexpected consequences of lies.
I read M.K. Tod’s debut novel, Unravelled (review) last year as part of a blog tour and thought it was a solid first novel touching on a lot of issues stemming from the First World War and into the Second World War. Lies Told in Silence is her second novel focusing solely on the First World War, which is especially timely given that this year marks the centenary of the First World War starting. This book was released on 29 June 2014.
Thank you to France Book Tours for letting me take part in the book tour for this novel. I am also hosting a giveaway at the end of this review for a chance to win an eCopy of this novel. Also, be sure to check out this post for an interview with the author!
Helene’s name didn’t quite register with me straight away so I was pleasantly surprised to learn while reading this book that this is a prequel of sorts to Ms. Tod’s first novel, Unravelled! However, you don’t have to have read the first novel in order to understand the events of this novel; this novel works well as a standalone and for those who read her debut novel, this novel provides a glimpse into past events and a different perspective to the romance.
Lies Told in Silence is a well-written, well-researched novel of the time period and setting. The author does a wonderful job in bringing the struggles of World War One–from the men suffering at the front, to the families waiting in strained anxiety for news of their loved ones and struggling to make do with what they have–to life in the pages.
At the centre of the novel is Helene Noisette and her family and their struggles together and apart. Amidst the war and the romance, this family has their own challenges, from Jean growing up without his father and older brother (both involved in the war efforts), to the mother Lise struggling to keep the household and raising her children alone, to Helene’s grandmother having all of them under her roof again. It was interesting to read their daily life throughout the war, the waiting and the coming and going of people and troops, and just the interaction between all three generations of women. The letters that flow between family members, friends, and lovers provide further glimpses of the war effort and its effects on everyone involved.
And then of course there is the romance, which is sweet and magnetic and heartbreaking. The reader watches as Edward’s love for Helene provides a sliver of light amidst the depression and carnage of war. It was heartbreaking to read what happened to them afterwards and the difficult decisions that Helene has to face afterwards. Placing the following after a cut as it contains spoilers to this novel and to some events in Unravelled (it can’t be helped 😛 ):
Again, despite of the fact that I have frequently mentioned Unravelled in this review (so sorry, again, it could not be helped), Lies Told in Silence works well as a standalone. It iterates the harsh realities of the war efforts and the consequences of the war front on those waiting back home. The epilogue was especially interesting–are we to expect a third novel, perhaps, revisiting some familiar characters? 😉 Readers of historical fiction and novels set in France and during World War One will want to check out this title.
ABOUT M.K. TOD
M.K. Tod writes historical fiction featuring WWI and WWII. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED, was selected as Indie Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. In addition to her writing, Mary maintains the blog, www.awriterofhistory.com, where she talks about reading and writing historical fiction. She has also conducted two well-regarded historical fiction reader surveys and in her spare time reviews books for the Historical Novel Society.
M.K. Tod is delighted to hear from readers at mktod at bell dot net.
Now that you’ve read my review of the novel, here’s the giveaway for a chance to win a eCopy of the book! Please fill out the following Rafflecopter below to enter; this contest is open internationally. Contest closes on 27 September 2014. Nine (9) winners will be drawn and contacted the following day; you will have 24 hours to claim your prize so please use a valid email address.
Many thanks again to France Book Tours for hosting this book and for letting me read this book as part of the tour.