Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Shattered Lies by S.J. Francis
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.