Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “Joyous Lies”by Margaret Ann Spence, 2021 On Tour With Suzy Approved Book Tours
WOW! Margaret Ann Spence, the author of “Joyous Lies” has written an intriguing, captivating, thought-provoking, memorable and riveting novel. The genres for “Joyous Lies” are Contemporary Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery and Suspense, and Family Fiction. There are two timelines in this story, one is set in the author’s present and the other is set around the Vietnam War. The author describes her characters as complex, complicated, flawed, and dysfunctional. There are secrets, betrayals, mysteries and danger at times in this novel. This animal loving reviewer just wants to give a warning that there are some difficult scenes and wording about animals that can be skimmed over.
I remember when the Vietnam War broke out, some of the young men in New York took jobs as teachers to avoid the draft and going into a war that their heart wasn’t into. Some went to Canada, and other draft resistors made other plans. Some were terrified. Mostly I remember the young men who came home almost shell-shocked and so different. I appreciate that the author researched this era and gives a realistic and vivid presentation through her characters and events about the times.
Maelle Woolley, a protagonist in this story is an orphan brought up by her commune living grandparents. Her mother was in an accident and she never knew her father. In the present, Maelle is a botanist, who understands plants and living things more than human beings. She is trying to see how plants communicate to one another. She had grown up in the commune, and has some memories, but mostly is obsessed to what happened to her mother. Her grandmother knits and dyes wool to sell. There are goats, rabbits and chickens, and herbs that are sold. A few of the original members of the commune still work together.
A movie producer wants to make a film about the commune today, and tell the memories of the past, when Maelle’s grandfather and other men ran to escape from the draft and work the land. Maelle’s aunt has vivid memories of the past, as do the older members. There are many secrets and betrayals that might be exposed.
Maelle meets a young psychiatrist who seems to remember his father being with Maelle’s mother when she died. As they investigate what happened , life might not be as Maelle would expect. I would highly recommend this deeply thought-provoking and memorable novel.