Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SHATTERED LIES by @sjfrancis419

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading Shattered Lies by S.J. Francis



3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

This is a complex, emotional family drama set in America’s Deep South, in the ‘Magnolia State’, Mississippi. I believe this is the author’s debut novel, and 10% of royalties go the Polycystic Kidney Foundation.

Kate Thayer is a thirty year old widow who runs a horse farm that belongs to the family, and lives in the family mansion along with her grandmother, Katherine. Early on in the book she begins to unravel the lies she has been told all her life, about her parents and grandparents, and the servants who live and work on the estate.

I am interested in American social history and the stark differences between the states in this vast continent, and do like a bit of family intrigue. I cannot say much, as it would give the plot away, but I did find the age-old prejudices that still exist between races in this part of the world, interesting to read about.

At first I couldn’t connect with the characters at all, but they began to emerge from one dimension as the novel progressed. I found it a little ‘heavy’, as there was little to suggest a life for any of them outside the confines of the novel; if it wasn’t for people using their cell phones and a few references to Obama, and, indeed, the years themselves, the story could have been set at any time over the past forty or so years. The other downside, for me, was the curious punctuation; for some reason, the author has used two small en dashes (–) in place of semicolons, brackets, em dashes, ellipses, and some commas. There is a certain amount of ‘telling not showing’, ie, the omniscient narrator stating what a character’s personality is like rather than letting the reader assess it for him or herself, via dialogue, expression and action.

The plot is an unusual and unexpected one; it made me think of those 1980s American blockbuster mini-series. That isn’t a complaint—I loved them! It’s certainly thought-provoking, and provided a good insight into the North-South divide that, clearly, still exists.

Find a copy here from or

10 thoughts on “Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT SHATTERED LIES by @sjfrancis419

    • Thanks, Judith. I had an email from the author to say that the final version was correctly punctuated, but I haven’t seen the final version so I could only review what I was given! Might be something to bear in mind though – and a warning to all writers: send the post-proofread version for review!!


  1. It is a very intense book for sure. With regards to the post-proofread versions, it’s true, although I’ve had even stranger experiences. I once got a code for a book for review and realised that the author had uploaded the wrong-book to the side with the right cover (actually, there was a chapter of the correct book and the rest was a different book altogether). Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of the versions of a file, but it’s a very good warning.


  2. Hi Rosie and Terry! Thanks for taking the time to post this review and Terry for reading it. Shattered Lies is an intense read and not for everyone as this review shows. Most have enjoyed it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
    I am curious about sending out post proofread versions. ARC’s are sent out for reviews, are they not? Hence, the name. With so much involved in getting books out, writers follow advice of publishers. Live and learn, is the game of life. Unlike self-pubbed authors, I’m at the mercy of my small publisher, good and bad, and I’ve found that sometimes the best writing advice often comes from other writers. I shall be more aware for the next book not to listen to my publisher about sending out ARCs. I guess the problem lies in the fact that unlike PDF copies, mobi copies aren’t marked ARC and I didn’t think to say so because I didn’t notice that fact myself until now. I’ve definitely learned something. Thanks for the pointers, Terry. Much appreciated.

    Not to mention that I just went back and looked at the mobi ARC I sent you and guess what? It’s different than the galley copies and PDF ARC final versions I reviewed and approved for release. Worse, the errors of “curious punctuation” are also in the Nook version. Now I have to go back to my publisher to correct it. Not only that, but I’m going to have them offer correct copies to those readers that already purchased “an incorrect copy” if they so desire. Thanks for noticing. Terry. I wish you were around when I needed you. You’re the only one that noticed. If not for you, I wouldn’t have gone back out of curiosity to investigate since as an English professor, I’m quite adept with English punctuation. I didn’t think to go back and forth, over and over, and over again at approving all the ARC versions. I shouldn’t have to. I guess from now I will have to. Always, even when I don’t have the time. Thank you, Terry. You definitely opened my eyes. It just goes to show that one never stops learning. Fortunately, the paperback version is correct. How does something like this happen? I wish I knew. My sincere apologies to readers everywhere.
    Cheers! Have a great weekend! Keep writing and reviewing, Terry!~S.J. Francis


  3. I’m so sorry this has been so confusing for you, SJ. Maybe the best idea would be to only send out mobi copies once you have the final, published edition. Then you can discard all the previous ones!!! I answered in more depth on my blog.


    • Hello again, Terry et al from across “the pond”!
      You misunderstand my point. I never placed double en dashes in my manuscript in the first place. They weren’t in the PDF version or the galley proofs. Why would they be? They’re incorrect. We agree on that. The double en dashes or hyphens wound up there after I reviewed and approved the final draft. I spend my summers in Europe. Most in England, which I love, so I’m a bit familiar with the Queen’s English, too. It wasn’t my error at all. Now trying to fix it is going to be another matter….We shall see what we shall see.
      Thanks again. Moving onward and upward.
      S.J. Francis


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