Monday, July 28, 2014

Lies Told in Silence by M.K. Tod

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: June 22, 2014

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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“The torch be yours to hold it high.... though
poppies grow in Flanders Fields”. The poem is
"In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae.
Torch-bearing figure is in front of the
Vimy memorial.
Unravelled, M.K. Tod's debut novel, made quite an impression when I read it last year. Moving and emotionally authentic it was unlike any wartime romance I'd yet encountered and if I'm honest, it set an expectation that was unusually high for an newly published author. Naturally, I was both excited and nervous about tackling the follow-up, but Lies Told in Silence proved just as eloquent and emotive as its predecessor. 

Written as a complimentary stand-alone, Lies Told is Silence incorporates faces and events familiar to those who've read Unravelled, but the story is in no way dependent on Tod's original publication so one needn't worry over reading the books in any particular order. That said, I personally enjoyed picking out those details that connect the two and appreciate the effort Tod put into crafting continuity despite the varied motifs and themes of each piece.

A multi-generational story, Tod's chronicle of a French family during the chaos of WWI intrigued me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I liked seeing the war from the perspective of those who bore witness to the destruction of their homeland rather than those who sought glory in its defense. I also enjoyed the contrast Tod created not only between the male and female characters, but among the different age groups represented within the narrative. 

Historically speaking, Tod offers a wonderfully detailed glimpse of the period, but as with Unravelled, I felt her understanding of what it means to be human amid the terror and torment of such hostilities outshone the fact-based elements of the book. Set against the backdrop of war, Tod writes of lives transformed by combat and the vitality of those left standing when the dust finally settles. Her books make wonderful war stories, but she is in her element writing not of the action, but of those caught in its wake. 

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Some days, Helene felt paralyzed by the indiscriminate fortunes of war. She reflected on Francois's need to confide in someone and society's expectation for men to be stoic. They must fear for themselves and their fellow soldiers. 
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Check Out All the Stops on M.K. Tod's Lies Told in Silence Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den
Tuesday, July 29
Review at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Book Babe
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at Mel’s Shelves
Wednesday, July 30
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Thursday, July 31
Book Blast at Royalty Free Fiction
Friday, August 1
Book Blast at Back Porchervations
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time
Saturday, August 2
Book Blast at Mythical Books
Monday, August 4
Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, August 5
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Thursday, August 7
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Book Blast at Kinx’s Book Nook
Friday, August 8
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court
Monday, August 11
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Bookworm
Wednesday, August 13
Review at The Writing Desk
Thursday, August 14
Book Blast at Words and Peace
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, August 15
Review at Lost in Books
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Sunday, August 17
Book Blast at Brooke Blogs

Monday, August 18
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook
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To win a copy of M.K. Tod’s Lies Told In Silence please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. 

Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 19th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I'm not familiar with this author, but these books sound terrific. To have a new author make such an impression is unusual. Novels set in WW2 are some of my favorites. Great review.

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin .. many thanks for hosting Lies Told in Silence today and for your thoughtful commentary. I'm so excited that you enjoyed the story as much as Unravelled :-)