Title: Joyous Lies
Author: Margaret Ann Spence
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Maelle Woolley, a shy botanist, prefers plants to people. They don't suddenly disappear. Raised on her grandparents' commune after her mother's mysterious death, she follows the commune's utopian beliefs of love for all. Then she falls for attractive psychiatrist Zachary Kane. When Zachary claims her mother and his father never emerged alive from his father's medical research lab, Maelle investigates. What she discovers will challenge everything she believes, force her to find strength she never knew she had, and confront the commune's secrets and lies. What happened to love? And can it survive?
Maelle Wooley would rather be around plants than people. After her mother’s suspicious death, Maelle was raised on her grandparents’ commune and blindly believes in the main tenant of the commune: love one another. All her beliefs are called into question when she falls in love with Zachary Kane. He challenges her to uncover the truth. She investigates and what she finds will shock her. The commune’s secrets are exposed and her trust crumbles. Can Maelle learn to love through the pain or will she retreat to her plants and joyous lies?
Joyous Lies is a brilliant story of one woman’s strength to break through the concrete wall of lies surrounding her to uncover the truth. I’ve never lived in a commune, but I have been a part of a family where lies are told to ‘protect’ others. Protecting someone by lying is an entrenched theme in Joyous Lies. I found it an engrossing read, filled with dramatic tension, plot twists, and a heroine I connected with on so many levels. The character-driven plot moves at a great pace with natural ebbs and flows. What makes Joyous Lies such an unforgettable read is the research Margaret Ann Spence must have done. Intricate narration and historical accuracies add incredible depth to this story. It allowed me to see the consequences of war in a whole new light. If you love family drama, you’ll want to read Joyous Lies. If you’re looking for a women’s fiction you can’t put down, pick up Joyous Lies. Highly recommend!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Margaret Ann Spence’s second novel, Joyous Lies (February 2021) thrusts Maelle, a quiet botanist who studies the communication powers of plants, into a web of family secrets long buried on a Northern Californian commune. Unearthing the truth, both in her work and in her relationships, forces Maelle to rethink reality.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Margaret has lived in the United States since the age of 23. She’s lived on both East and West Coasts and enjoys Arizona winters. She worked in publishing, as a journalist, a consular officer and as a real estate agent before realizing that writing fiction was more fun. When she’s not at her desk she tends an unruly garden, cooks up a storm in the kitchen, and cherishes time with her family. A love of baking, Boston (where she used to live), and all things British inspired her debut novel, Lipstick on the Strawberry. The book won the romantic elements category in the 2015 Beacon Contest, sponsored by First Coast Romance Writers. It was a finalist in the 2019 Eric Hoffer Prize and in the 2019 Next Generation Indie Awards for best first novel over 90,000 words.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N