A Fearful Lie

Fiction - Womens
346 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jessyca Garcia for Readers' Favorite

I thought A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson was going to be a predictable book with an ending that is all too common. Instead, this book was hard to put down and nothing like I thought it would be. When Gloria accidentally kills a little boy while driving, she tells no one. Instead, she sets out to help the family of the little boy. The book follows how Gloria lives her life with the secret of her crime hovering over her. That lie changed her life and everyone around her.

I liked that Johnson wrote such a unique perspective on a crime. Usually when you hear about such a crime on the news, you automatically think negative thoughts. No one stops and thinks about what the criminal is actually thinking or going through in their life. A Fearful Lie makes me wonder how often this type of crime happens. At first I hated Gloria. I did not understand how she could have kept the secret. Reading on, I grew to understand her and even like her. She made me want to better my life when I saw her changing hers.

A Fearful Lie is a powerful book that makes you think. If you accidentally committed a crime, how would you react? How would you live your life? Johnson has a gift for writing. Not many authors can tell such a powerful story that makes readers think and root for the bad guy. I recommend this book to anyone that loves a good book.

Patricia Reding

In A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson, Gloria, a perfectly normal person with a perfectly normal life, husband, children and home, stops one day for a quick drink. Unfortunately, she has one too many before she heads home. Along the way, momentarily distracted, she hits and kills three-year-old Joshua. She removes his body from the road, then leaves the scene, having convinced herself that her policeman husband and her daughters ought not to pay for her crime. As the years then unfold, Gloria seeks forgiveness — but before she can find it, she must first face “truth.” Her journey to find both is a painful one, but one that is oh-so-worth following.

In the law, there is something we call “jury nullification.” It is the idea that juries, after having been told the law that is to be applied to the facts of a case presented them at trial, might refuse to follow that law. Sometimes this occurs because the jurors can see themselves in the same situation. In the past it was not all that uncommon to occur in situations of drinking and driving, because so many could see themselves in the same situation. They could not bring themselves to render a “guilty” verdict when they believed the same could have happened to them. I believe that has changed over the years. Even so, I imagine many will identify in some way with Gloria. I think so because she is so “normal.” She makes a terrible decision that changes her life and the lives of others, for all time. What she finds at the end of her journey is . . . Well, I guess you will have to read A Fearful Lie, to find out for yourself. You will be glad that you did.

I didn't know quite what to expect with this read. I daresay that anyone who could read A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson and not walk away with tears in their eyes is missing something quintessentially human. The author managed to make Gloria so human, so "guilty," yet so forgivable. My heart ached for her. I think many will identify with her and that Jean Fournier Johnson has a real winner on her hands.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson is a story of decisions. Gloria takes her eyes off the road for a second and sees the child too late to stop. She hits him with a thud as he steps out from between some parked cars. Things flash through her mind – that last and third drink she'd had at the bar; her husband is a police officer and this could damage his career, if not end it. If she stays to face the music she could destroy lives so she goes, she drives on, leaving the boy lying on the sidewalk, dead. She leaves him for his mother to find. Gloria tells herself that this is fine, she can live with this, but she didn’t reckon on the guilt taking over her life. That guilt starts to crack her life, causing problems within her own family unit. As her marriage starts to deteriorate, she turns away – again – but this time she needs to do something. She needs to assuage the guilt she feels and the only way she can do it is by helping other people. So she begins with Marisa – the heartbroken mother of the little boy she abandoned in the road.

A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson was a good read. I enjoyed the storyline and the characters were well matched. I understand this is Ms. Johnson’s first novel and it’s a good one. She has captured the essence of guilt very well in a thin thread that runs through the whole story. She has a way with words as well and has penned a story that you can’t help but be drawn into, knowing that you have to see it through to the very end. Good first novel, and I look forward to seeing more.

Kim Anisi

A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson is the story of Gloria and the terrible secret she has to live with: after a few drinks in a pub, she knocks over a three-year-old boy, he dies instantly, and Gloria flees the scene, not wanting herself and her policeman husband to get into trouble. Naturally, killing a child has a terrible effect on Gloria's soul, and when she coincidentally meets the mother of the boy she killed, she starts her journey of wanting to do good to atone for what she has done. But the secret and the events in her life wear her down. Will she be able to hold onto her secret AND her family?

I usually do not read books like A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson, but I wanted to read something different for a change, and have to say that it was not a bad choice at all. While the topic of the book was rather disturbing, and the book is filled with many topics that we often do not really want to think about, I did enjoy reading it. Jean Fournier Johnson managed to write a book that describes the actions and emotions of people in a realistic way (though I do not have the experience of running over a kid myself, so I can't really judge it that well). You don't know how the book will end until you actually get to the last few chapters. I found the development of the book very interesting. It is definitely a book I would recommend.

Patricia Day

A Fearful Lie by Jean Fournier Johnson is an astoundingly powerful story. Gloria has a good life, as far as onlookers are concerned. She is a loyal and compassionate wife, mother, and friend. When she begins to display irrational behavior, they are concerned, then bewildered because her actions fit no psychological pattern. Many more questions remain unanswered as they watch her deteriorate beyond normal rationale into a drunken, dishevelled woman who has lost all self-respect. Gloria insists she is fine, but she is stressing too much and losing her temper far too often for her protestations to be believed.

After hitting a neighbor's little boy and leaving him on the sidewalk, her guilt has become an overwhelming burden as one lie leads to another, turning into a destructive force that she is unable to control. But she must, if she is to keep what sanity remains. Gloria is firm in her belief that she is protecting the ones she loves by holding the secret inside, but she does have a hidden agenda.

Reading this excellent book, I found myself continually rating and berating Gloria’s actions. Right or wrong, I could understand why she made each of her decisions; while morally it was hard to support her actions – but what would I do? Her struggle to right the wrongs she had committed make a supremely readable story, despite the sadness of the circumstances. I found it hard to put the book aside. Jean Fournier Johnson has an undeniably creative mind to have written this story, and I, for one, hope she will write even more. It is a good, powerful tale with moral issues that prove how one lie can become an uncontrollable force of destruction. A good argument to always choose what is right. Highly recommended.