Monday, 25 April 2011

Half-Truths and White Lies by Jane Davis

This book looks at the bonds between friends and family and the influence of people in our lives and also those that are missing.  It explores the idea of different truths and the lies people tell themselves as well as others.
Andrea Fellows relatively sheltered life is shattered when her mother and father are killed in a brutal road accident on their silver wedding anniversary. The apparently immediate demise into dementia of her maternal grandmother and the reactions of Aunty Faye and Uncle Pete, leave her questioning her own background.
The book shifts between the stories of Faye and Pete explaining the decisions they made, with Andrea's narration showing the unfolding story of her forgotten childhood.

This came as an Amazon recommendation ages ago and has been stuck on my TBR shelves.  After mulling over lots of historical fiction I fancied a change.
I enjoyed this one and found it a quick and light read.  It was fairly predictable, but not in a bad way. The characterisation was interesting but did leave me wanting more.  Andrea was convincing in terms of grief and the need to clarify her family situation but beyond that seemed a bit lacking.  I thought Faye had more potential and I didn't quite get Pete and his motivations.  Would he really have acted that way to save his friends marriage? Why did Faye help him? I didn't really buy into it being atonement for previous actions.  I thought the most interesting character was Tom (Laura's "dad") but he was also the most elusive.  As Tom dies in the first chapter, we never hear his voice and only see him through others eyes.  He's probably the character that goes through the most changes and I wanted to know more about him.  Laura (Andrea's "mum") suffered from the same problem and this was compounded by the adoration within Pete's narrative.  beyond being beautiful and the whole reason for the traumatic events, to me she was a completely self-centred and unsympathetic plot device.
Re-reading the above paragraph it sounds as if I hated the book, but I really didn't... if I'd gotten more from the characters I'd have rated it higher.  I thought the whole set up was interesting and thought provoking and I loved the nostalgic aspect of childhood in the seventies.