Book Review: The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock
Adult fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, mystery.

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. 
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Spoiler note: This review does not contain spoilers.

The Book of Lies
provides fascinating insight into what it’s like living in both present day Guernsey and past, throughout the German Occupation (during World War II and also after the allies had won) and how the Channel Islands were perceived by other nations.

When I first picked up The Book of Lies, I thought it was young adult fiction because this is what I had seen others referring to it as, but then I noticed that the publisher was marketing it as adult fiction. Not that this makes any difference to me, but I thought it was interesting how it fit easily into both, alongside books such as The Book Thief and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Like these books, I believe The Book of Lies can be classified as both due to its dual narrative and narrators (a 15-year-old girl and her uncle Charlie) and the underlying themes presented in the book.

I loved everything about The Book of Lies. I loved Cat’s commentary, which is blunt, amusing and honest in a way only a teenager can be. Cat writes to us about her life; mourning the death of a family member and being treated as an outcast. Cat’s school friends torment her and spread lies, leading to the death of Nicolette – Cat’s best friend and number one bully. I loved that Cat’s story is interwoven with a transcribed account: Charlie tells us of his time living under the German Occupation, dealing with lies, betrayal and anguish of his own. I loved the footnotes and historical information, which I found to be both informative and engaging. I loved the messages presented in the storyline as well as the mystery aspect – what really happened and why? It teaches us that the truth can differ depending on perspective.

The Book of Lies is a wonderful, unforgettable novel about the complexities of truth and lies. I found it to be a thoroughly emotive and enlightening read. The Channel Islands were not something I knew much about and so I’ve now moved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society up on my “wishlist” as it is also about the German occupation of Guernsey.

This book was obtained as an eGalley from Harper Perennial.

My Rating: ★★★★★

9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock

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