The Truth in a Lie

Fiction - Drama
252 Pages
Reviewed on 07/06/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I used to teach in English in London and have an MA in creative Writing. I now live in the countryside in Gloucestershire.
My other published books are either set in the near future or the recent past so, this time, I was keen to write a contemporary story. The Truth in a Lie’ is about close relationships – the complex and delicate threads that bind people together and can force them apart. It’s a story of love, loyalty, betrayal and the damage done by untold secrets.
I tried to keep the overall tone of the novel fairly light despite its darker passages.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

Even before you have finished reading the opening chapter of The Truth in a Lie by Jan Turk Petrie, you know you have discovered a skilled creative writer. It takes well-honed writing talent to quickly arouse reader interest in something as ordinary as moving residences and to hint, through carefully created dialogue, at the as-yet-undisclosed reasons for strain in two relationships: that between lovers and that between a mother and daughter. Carefully chosen words and phrases that focus on showing rather than telling us about the key areas of plot, characterization, mood, and setting are all established in Chapter One, and we are curious to learn more about what hasn’t yet been revealed e.g. why Charlotte, the protagonist, bottles up so much of what she’s feeling; why her daughter, Kate, seems hell-bent on doing things differently from her mother; why Lottie and Michael have split up and, intriguingly, why Duncan, Lottie’s now-remarried ex, is suddenly back in her life when her mother is on her death-bed.

Under the strain of watching her mother die, bit by bit Lottie reveals to us the truth behind the lies. As she does, though the plot details may be different from what happens in our own lives, readers will recognize themselves as Jan Turk Petrie gets into the guts of human psyches, motivations, actions, and consequences. I can’t tell you how many times I stopped, quietly laughed, and thought, “Yep...that’s exactly what I would say or how I would feel.” When an author does that for me, has made me connect so closely with her fictional characters, she is one superb writer. According to Petrie’s bio, The Truth in a Lie is quite a departure from her previous genres. She is a huge fan of Margaret Atwood. So am I. Like Atwood, Petrie doesn’t rely on super-hero characters pulling off amazing feats. Petrie’s characters are ordinary people living ordinary lives but we can’t forget them because they are so like us. The Truth in a Lie is top literary fiction: characters matter more than plot. The novel’s power lies in its simplicity, and it’s wonderful!

Gobi Jane

In The Truth in a Lie, Jan Turk Petrie takes a common topic and writes an engaging story that readers will love. After living with the man she loves for eleven years, forty-six-year-old Charlotte Preece, a writer, moves to an apartment, hoping that she can create the space to write. But the breakup has devastating consequences on her daughter, Kate, who fails her first-year exams and on herself. When she is called to be with her ailing mother at the hospital, she drives through inclement weather to reach the hospital, but to her utter surprise, Duncan, her ex-husband, makes it to the hospital, driving through the heavy snow. Trapped together by the harsh weather conditions, Charlotte has to determine if it is love that pushes him or something else; more so, she has to search her own heart with honesty.

I enjoyed Jan Turk Petrie’s writing a lot and particularly liked the way the author handles the dynamics in relationships, exploring the devastating effects of secrets kept, the power of loyalty, and the fragile and intangible threads that bind a family together. The story felt like therapy and many readers, especially those in relationships, will certainly find resonances in the story. The Truth in a Lie is a story for readers looking for characters that are complex and that are well-developed, especially at their emotional depth. The writing is good and filled with great descriptions. The author fills it with conversations that move the plot forward while revealing more about the characters. This is an engaging story with a lot for readers to think about.