The time is 1940s. The place Liverpool. Mary escapes a loveless childhood by marrying an infantry soldier who glories in active service.
The time is 1950s. The place Nairobi. The Mao Mau are rising up to reclaim their land in bloody guerrilla warfare. Mary’s passionate, adulterous love affair unfolds in the empty rooms and grounds of deserted colonial houses.
This story, spanning four decades, is told by Mary, her husband, David, and their young children, Eve and Clara, who listen at doors and speak their own fear-fuelled version of the truth.
Lynn Michell is an extremely accomplished writer. There are passages of extraordinary vividness and beauty. I love the sense, by the daughter, of unease at her father’s painting of a golden era of colonialism, the spaces, the gaps that he is unwilling or unable to discuss.
— Edwin Hawkes, Makepeace Towle
Moving, memorable and totally absorbing. Captures perfectly the trials of a middle-aged woman trying to care for and build a relationship with her distant father, now in his dotage, through the writing down of his memories.
— Sophie Radice, Columnist for The Guardian & The Observer
A debut novel which possesses and is possessed by a rare authority of voice… It is the mother’s voice that sings White Lies into unforgettability. Hers and Eve’s. Their thoughts and writing ring like music.
Hauntingly beautiful… with a bombshell of an ending.
— Michele Hanson, The Guardian
A first class read. Transports the reader whilst exploring the reactions, feelings and fears of those who lived through the early stages of the Emergency.
— Martyn Day, Lawyer for former Mau Mau insurgents against the British Government
A naturally gifted writer and not afraid of ambitious projects as this one is. It has great filmic potential.
— Christopher Rush, author of Will
An anatomist of the human heart.
— Wanda Whitely, HarperCollins
Credible and touching. Dramatic and tragic.
— The Torch
Beautifully written and page-turning. The story is told in David’s, Mary’s and their daughter Eve’s voices – everyone rewriting history, telling white lies to suit themselves. I loved this book – picked it up two days ago and could not put it down.
— Amazon reader review
The child Eve’s vivid evocations of a life in her African garden and surrounding landscape are viscerally painted. Weeks after reading this book I am still thinking about the characters and their story.
– Tracemyself, Amazon reader review
There are moments of playfulness and moments of love in the abandoned houses of Lake Navaisha. For the rest, the tenor is dramatic: beauty and war and human pain. This book that has shaken me.