My Review of Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson


5 of 5 stars on Goodreads and Amazon

I was engaged from the moment I started reading this wonderful debut book from author James Thomson. It is brilliantly written, sophisticated, literate, thought provoking, all the superlatives that can be so dry but in this case apply. The use of first person voice for the protagonists in alternating chapters was pitch perfect, allowing the characters to speak their mind, perhaps trying to influence us to see their perspective. Are they being coy, self-deceptive, rationalizing? In this way Thomas plunges the depths of the characters revealing vanity and justifications, the ambivalence, ambiguities and inconsistencies of every mortal, their evolution over the years, the changes in perspectives and morality.

To me, Matt seemed more rigid and Lucy more morally brave, willing to take a cold, hard look at her behavior that may have precipitated events yet certainly didn’t justify Matt’s actions. I also wondered, was Lucy’s last smile to Matt “smug,” as he originally thought, or was she putting aside grievances and asking him for that brief moment to join together as a family, to show what could have been? Or, was her smile something else entirely? That is Thomson’s great strength, in giving the reader complex, believable characters, they stay with us and for me, bouncing around in my head long after I had finished the book. As an attorney, I wanted to face Lucy and Matt getting them to admit half truths and on a personal level, I wanted to shake them and shout, “don’t do that!”

I remember the news story this was based upon but Thomson has made it so much more interesting and complex. Like Thomson, as revealed in the author interview, I had wondered how the children could be so accomplished and how they could stand by their father. It was perfect for Thomson to change facts and have one of the children discover the secret: I don’t know why, but it struck me on a gut level as right, keeping the drama within the family. I loved the ending, the pivotal question: looking in a mirror could Matt say and believe, Lucy got what she deserved? I have my own answer to that, but I’m pretty sure every reader will have his or her own.


5 comments to My Review of Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson

  • Candy

    Sounds gute!

    You write well! Give it a try yourself!

    • Julia Grantham

      Candy, thank you for reading my review and commenting. It is a great book. Thanks for your praise of my writing. My book is being edited now & I’ll let you know when it is published!

    • Julia Grantham

      I am writing a book! Smitten, a World War II Romance based on a true story. I’ll let you know when it is out. Thanks for your interest!

  • Well, well, well Julia. Who knew that you are such great writer? I don’t know when I’ve read such a detailed review. The title of the book grabbed me, but your review entices me to read it for myself. Thank you for such a thorough and well written account. You gave us enough detail to peak the curiosity, and fuel the fire to know more. I’m also very excited to know that you are working on your own book. I too would like to know when it comes out. 🙂

    • Julia Grantham

      Thank you Sylvia! It is lovely to hear that my reviews stimulate curiosity and a desire to read the book. That is fantastic! My novel, Smitten, is a World War II Romance based on a true story. I will be sure to let you know when it is out! Thank you for your interest and your kind comments on my review.

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