Thursday 27 February 2014

The Biggest Lie by Lisbeth Foye

The Hague, Holland 1976.   After a procession of hapless relationships, 23 year-old Lana Milton finds herself recklessly falling for a man who should be out of bounds, but despite fighting with her emotions the affair begins, an affair which can only cause pain and heartache; not only to Lana but - more importantly - to the innocent party. 
Coming face to face with the one person she is hurting the most, Lana has to make a decision which breaks her heart. She knows that she is the only one to make the choice, something she can only do by lying, a lie which betrays the truth. Lana’s distortion of the truth closes the door on the only real love she has known. In life’s ups and downs even her best friend Tess, is not what she seems. Tess turns on her, leaving her and their friendship in tatters. 
Lana moves on to a new start in London where she meets rich, tormented Howard Marshall. Howard is frustratingly aware that his love for Lana is not reciprocated. Slowly, over-time his attempts to control her with his furtive mind-games and calculated derisory tactics only serve to curtail the chance of her ever loving him back in return. 
After nearly 20 years of manipulation, Howard’s desperate struggle to break the woman he loves finally backfires when Lana, now middle-aged and fuelled with the still-burning embers of her long-ago love, confronts Howard. She stands up to his bullying and devious malicious ways, her anger fills her with a renewed strength in which she finds the courage to leave him to start her life yet again. 
Now in her late fifties and living in a calm, non-disruptive world close to her family, Lana is content and yearns for nothing more in life. But fate has other ideas as it smashes through the door to bring her life around to yet another new start. 
The Biggest Lie – a tale of love, friendship, hope and strength is set in the era of glitter-ball discos which grows to maturity in the 21st century. Proof, that it’s never too late for anything..
The Biggest Lie by Lisbeth Foye was published on 11 November 2013 and is available in paperback and as an ebook.

The last couple of books that I'd read and reviewed were both pretty draining and emotional, I had a train journey to London coming up and wanted a read that didn't feature war, or death and destruction. Lisbeth Foye had sent a copy of The Biggest Lie some months ago, it had been on the shelf for far too long.

The Biggest Lie is Lana's story, and starts in the 70s in Holland where twenty-three year old Yorkshire girl Lana is working.  She has good friends and a few casual relationships with guys.

Lana meets Joe.  He's British too, in Holland for work and they are immediately attracted.  Yet Joe is married, his wife Jayne is back at home, waiting for him to find some accommodation so that they can live in Holland together.   Lana tries to kill her feelings for Joe, he's off-limits, he's married, he belongs to someone else.  Despite being just good friends for 18 long months, Lana and Joe become lovers and their relationship continues for years.  Joe is the love of Lana's life, and he claims that he adores her too.  Eventually, Lana cannot carry on hurting and deceiving Jayne and she and Joe part.

Returning to England, Lana meets Howard, who at first seems a great catch.  He's wealthy and interesting and single.  Howard is not quite the guy he seems and over the years Lana is constantly worn down by his behaviour.

Single again, Lana finds herself living alone and enjoying life.  And then 'the biggest lie' of the title comes back to haunt her.

I didn't warm to the character of Lana for some time.  On the face of it she appears to be a twenty-something girl about town who is out for a good time, and nothing else.  She doesn't really care about her lovers, and makes some pretty awful choices there.  As the book progressed, more of Lana's character is exposed and although she does make some questionable choices along the way, deep down she is a caring girl who is a good friend.  This brings me to my favourite character; Bini.   Bini is Lana's work colleague and she really is a breath of fresh air. Indonesian and has a knack for muddling up her words, but also a bright and colourful character who is loyal and loving.

Another favourite character of mine was Stanley.  Stanley is Lana's little Westie dog, and her faithful companion throughout the majority of her years spent with Howard.  Some of the most heart-breaking and poignant pages of the novel feature Stanley.

I guess that The Biggest Lie is a story about choice.  The old saying applies; "you made your bed, you lie in it" and Lana certainly does that. Why she does it is another matter and although it's obvious that she adores Joe and he claims to love her deeply too, I have no idea why Lana allowed herself to be the 'other woman' for so long.  There was no explanation as to why Joe was not going to leave his wife Jayne, it was just accepted that Lana was always going to come second.  For that reason, I disliked Joe - as gorgeous and as funny and as clever as he may have been - he was also a coward.

The Biggest Lie is a long novel with over 500 pages, but it's an easy and quick read.  Despite my earlier misgivings about Lana, I did really begin to like her and care about her character. Some of the supporting characters were great and Lisbeth Foye really does know how to create some awful romantic interests! The story touches on many issues, including domestic violence and drugs which are cleverly weaved into the plot line without becoming the whole focus.

On the whole, I enjoyed The Biggest Lie.  I'd say that it was possibly a little over long, and could maybe do with a re-edit, but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the novel at all.

About The Author:   I was born in York, England and during my late teens/early twenties I spent the years travelling,
I've always read books, most of my family are also bookaholics and, like most writers, I started writing stories when I was in primary school but I suppose that goes without saying and you guessed that already.
and working, in Europe before returning to England where I now live in Cambridgeshire.
I'm not sure why I didn't try to get my work published years ago, maybe it had something to do with the notion that authors, real writers, lived in a different sphere to me, a world of the privileged, like a club I had no membership to. Now I know different.

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