Monday, June 07, 2010

Silent Lies

by M. L. Malcolm

I gave this book to one of my daughters for Christmas several years ago because I had seen it favorably reviewed on some one's blog.  I thought she would enjoy it and then I'd get a chance to read it, too.

It took me years but I finally got to a point where I remembered it and asked to borrow it.  I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed the story and the characters. 

The book starts in 1940 and quickly jumps back to 1910 in Hungary.  The dates span both World Wars so I prepared myself for some sad scenes.  The main character is a young Hungarian who has an amazing talent for learning languages.  This talent provides some interesting opportunities for Leo throughout his life.

First, Leo has the opportunity to study and live in Budapest where his life is transformed from a poor son of a Hungarian farmer to a foster son of a wealthy Jewish couple.  His life experiences changed again with Hungary's collapse after WWI.  I was interested in the Bolshevik take over of Hungary and why many blamed it on the Jews, so I did some further research online and filled in some gaps in my European history knowledge.  (So much more to learn...)   Leo meets the love of his live on a trip to Paris but when he is implicated in a counterfeit scheme he flees to Shanghai. 

I found the twists and turns in Leo's life provided an interesting story and making it an even better book is the backdrop of historical events that I am familiar with but told from a different location and angle.

My one suggestion is to reread the first page after you finish the book.  Also a warning - this is book one of two.  I didn't know that when I bought the book.  Luckily for me, my daughter bought the 2nd book so I didn't have to wait before diving right back into the story.  Perhaps, I should offer one other warning since I recently complained about a sex scene in O' Artful Death.  There is a much more colorful sex scene early on in Silent Lies, and though it didn't need to be so 'juicy', it wasn't just thrown in.  It's the only one in the book so just get passed it and worry no more.


Zibilee said...

I am reading this one right now, though the title has been changed, and it is now called Heart of Lies. I am really liking it and finding it a bit different than most of the books I have read about this time period. Great review! I am glad you liked the book!!

Kristen M. said...

Sounds interesting! I'll have to put it (and the second one!) on my list. I have another Hungary-based book here too -- I think it's called The Book of Fathers -- but it spans a much larger time period (and more characters) and I've been a bit overwhelmed by the idea of it.

Bellezza said...

I'm reading this now for TLC Tours; the novel's been renamed from Silent Lies to Heart of Lies...I'll take your suggestion and reread the first page when I'm done. It isn't what I expected in that it's got lots of plot and action, reading rather like a John Jakes or Sydney Sheldon novel to me. I hope that isn't disrespectful, it's just the connection I'm making. My post will be up at the end of the month, and then I can discuss it with you more knowledgabley. I'm only halfway through right now. ;)

Robin M said...

Thanks for dropping by. I actually did go back and reread the first chapter a couple times after I started the book. I definitely will be reading the 2nd book because I want to find out what happens. :)

Anonymous said...

I can't remember whether the re-release starts in 1940. I don't remember that part. Now I'll have to go home and check.

Glad to see you enjoyed both books.