The Past and Other Lies by Maggie Joel

The Past and Other Lies

By Maggie Joel

  • Release Date: 2010-04-01
  • Genre: Family
Score: 3.5
From 57 Ratings
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A captivating novel about sisters, faded memories and long-hidden secrets spanning three generations. 

At the height of Britain's General Strike in 1926 a red double-decker bus driven by a volunteer crashes into a low bridge in West London. Almost eighty years later Jennifer Denzel reveals on daytime television that as a teenager she'd found her sister Charlotte hanging by a school tie in their bedroom. But Charlotte can't believe her ears -- it was, she protests, Jennifer who tried to suicide all those years ago. Their grandmother Bertha dreams of a distant time: of a young man she met at a Socialist rally, an unexpected wedding and of a sister, long dead. Meanwhile her daughter, Deirdre, remembers a night during the War forty years earlier, when a V-2 rocket destroyed an entire street, and when she made a shocking discovery. 

Brimming with vivid detail of London past and present, The Past and Other Lies is full of warmth, atmosphere, subtle wit and exquisite surprises. 

'Warm and full of surprises' Sunday Telegraph 

'Silences follow whispered secrets, unresolved issues originate from jealousies and lies, and misunderstandings and coincidences flow throughout the novel. The tension is sustained with all that is left unsaid. This ensures riveting reading for even the most discerning booklover' Bookseller + Publisher 

'highly evocative of wartime London. the really explosive secrets are saved for the end. Joel leaves a carefully laid trail of little clues for the reader to follow and she lets each separate storyline unfold slowly and with great skill' Sydney Morning Herald


  • Boring

    By Goshabby
    My goodness, such a very dull and boring story. Stupid ending with no real closure.
  • Good read

    By LizzieM
    Not spectacular but definitely a good read. Family characters interesting and well followed. Yes (to agree with previous review) an abrupt ending leaving the reader to arrive at their own conclusion of the families lives.
  • Good book abrupt ending :(

    By Melmo03
    I loved this book until it ended abruptly with a few hints but no feeling of closure. Though most secrets were answered I still fell like the ending just happened and there was so much more to say