The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

I’d been meaning to read this book for so long. After listening to a talk by Julie Mayhew at YALC I knew I just had to read this book. I couldn’t get hold of the whilst at YALC as it had sold out, a couple of months later I went to another talk. Love and behold, Julie Mayhew was there again and this time I was fortunate to purchase The Big Lie. And getting round to reading it, I just wish I hadn’t left it so long. It was honestly as good as it had promised!

Set in Nazi England, 2014, teenager Jessicka is from a well-respected family. With dreams of becoming a world class figure skater – and with her dreams being realised when she goes to skate camp in the summer – she is the ideal German citizen. However, her best friend Clementine is different. She’s radical, passionate and outspoken. But when the regime start to take notice, Jessicka must chose between the loyalties to her best friend and loyalties to her country.

I honestly loved the concept of this novel and that it what made me want to pick it up in the first place. So different, I was interested to see how it would be portrayed.

I thought Julie Mayhew managed to portray it so well. I became engulfed in the Nazi world and thought that everything that was considered was completely plausible. I think it made it slightly more real, and engaging.

There were so many different versions of Jessicka, which meant her character was complexed and confused. At times I liked her and other times I really didn’t, but the way she was written and portrayed meant I was able to see how she became to think the way she did through her eyes. I really commend Julie Mayhew for that.

I did want to see more of Clementine though. I thought she was a wonderful juxtaposition to Jessicka and balanced her view out very well. Within her, it was also interesting to see other worldly perspectives. I would love to know more about how other countries in the world was seeing this along the timeline given.

The narrative was well thought out and interesting to read. Towards the end, the timeline felt a bit jumbled and did confused me a bit. But then again, I couldn’t figure out if it was because I was reading too fast as I was caught up in the action. It didn’t hinder my reading experience though, once I got my head wrapped around it.

I adored the notes at the end of this novel about why Julie Mayhew wrote parts of what she did and thought it was a brilliant addition! Can absolutely every book have this? It was like having a conversation from the author. A wonderful ending touch.

This book was everything it lived up to be – interesting, dramatic and captivating!

I met Julie Mayhew at a talk way back in September and she ever so kindly signed this copy!

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