The Past And Other Lies-Maggie Joel

The Past And Other Lies
Maggie Joel
Felony & Mayhem, Dec 7 2013, $14.99
ISBN: 9781937384753

In 1981, sixteen year old Charlotte Denzel quietly takes a chair from the kitchen into her upstairs bedroom with none of her family noticing. On her tippy toes, Charlotte stands on the chair while knotting a school tie around the ceiling light fitting and another around her neck. While Charlotte’s younger brother Graham and her parents eat, her older sister Jennifer goes to get her to join them. Jennifer cuts them saving her sibling’s life but thinking how to explain the waste of ties to their parents. Later Charlotte denies this happened while Jennifer insists it occurred.

In 1924, the sisters’ grandmother Bertha is planning to meet Mr. Ronnie Booth in Hyde Park, but someone told her angry father. She thinks it must be her friend Elsie as her sister Jemima did not know of her rendezvous and Ronnie would not have told anyone. Jemima calms their dad by agreeing to chaperone Bertha. In 1926, Jemima gives birth to Ronnie’s baby while raging Bertha seethes over her sibling’s betrayal.

In 1945 Caroline goes to visit her boyfriend Clive, but her sister Deirdre tells their mom who follows her. When her mom is trapped in Nazi-bombed rubble, Caroline realizes her dad wants his wife to die.

Focusing primarily on sisterly relationships between three generations from the same family, this brilliant drama comes across as an interrelated thought-provoking tri-story saga. The powerful premise is based on relativity re how each interprets the critical personal events that cleverly keeps the readers shifting who we emphasize with as new interpretation of the facts and lies surface.

Harriet Klausner

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