The cruelest lies are often told in silence.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson
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 two months later, the German army invades neutral Belgium, 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, fear and the dreadful impacts of war. In 1917, Helene falls in love with a young Canadian soldier 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.
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Review of Lies Told in Silence
Are you a fan of historical fiction? I am, but accuracy plays a large role in historical fiction. Fully researched, all details correct to time and place, including the dress of the day, the architecture, food, drink…I think you get the idea. M.K. Tod is a master of researching historical detail.
Prior to reading Lies Told in Silence, M.K. Tod’s books had not come to my attention. But with a father-in-law who served in World War I stationed off the coast of France, I picked this one up. Color me happily found by an excellent historical fiction author.
Tod manages not only to research details well, she also writes beautifully. Her characterizations are realistically drawn, places vividly colored, and language beautifully taken from the era of the First World War and in France. The frequent use of the French “maman” for mother lent a rare depiction of the respect shown in generations of this time period.
Among the three women characters, there are both good and not so good times. The three characters–Helene, the main character and youngest; her mother; and her grandmother. During their time away from home in a smaller town for safety’s sake, the three women grow closer. Helene’s romance adds twists and turns to their story and their days. Sweetly shared, the Canadian soldier Helene falls in love with adds a bit of military texture to their lives.
The war itself is seen through Helene’s eyes, a young woman who has dreamed of a perfect world and life. Now it all seems to be falling apart all around her. Will she love only to lose the man she has found? She questions many things, and her questioning brings back vivid memories of when my generation went to war in Vietnam. These are growing times for Helene in many respects.
If you are a lover of historical fiction and perhaps even WWI, this is a not miss, must read book from M.K. Tod. Lies Told in Silence will keep you reading and turning pages as you not only learn more about the complexities of this ware, but also the impact it had on the people caught up in it.
Meet M.K. Tod
Hi – I’m M.K. Tod, Mary actually, the author of TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED. I have enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in my early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. After a 20+ year career in business, in 2004, I moved to Hong Kong with my husband and no job. To keep busy I decided to research my grandfather’s part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand my grandparents’ lives blossomed into a fulltime occupation as a writer. I have an active blog—www.awriterofhistory.com—on all aspects of historical fiction including interviews with authors, readers and others involved in this genre as well as insights from two historical fiction surveys. I live in Toronto and I’m happily married with two adult children.