Customer Reviews


102 Reviews
5 star:
 (56)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (14)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Lie
A wonderful book, beautifully written. Exceptionally descriptive with a haunting plot. This book is all about the consequences of telling a white lie and how they last a life time. The Salter family are all living with a secret that is slowly destroying them and their relationships. A party to celebrate a special birthday brings all the family back together and the...
Published on 27 Feb 2012 by Sarah M. Baker

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Really My Style
I picked up this book with eager anticipation, but by the time I was half way through I had no idea what my review was going to consist of when I arrived at the end. I found that sometimes I would pick it up and enjoy reading, other times I would feel irritated by it and find it difficult to concentrate on what I was reading. Now the last page has been turned I'm not...
Published 22 months ago by Jenna


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Lie, 27 Feb 2012
By 
Sarah M. Baker (U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
A wonderful book, beautifully written. Exceptionally descriptive with a haunting plot. This book is all about the consequences of telling a white lie and how they last a life time. The Salter family are all living with a secret that is slowly destroying them and their relationships. A party to celebrate a special birthday brings all the family back together and the secrets slowly unravel. It would make a wonderful film or television series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Really My Style, 25 Sep 2012
By 
Jenna (Greater Manchester) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
I picked up this book with eager anticipation, but by the time I was half way through I had no idea what my review was going to consist of when I arrived at the end. I found that sometimes I would pick it up and enjoy reading, other times I would feel irritated by it and find it difficult to concentrate on what I was reading. Now the last page has been turned I'm not really much wiser.
The author uses very original language in the descriptive passages which is alternately either very entertaining and illuminating, or rather obscure. I did, however, have the house, loch, and gardens very firmly in my mind, and the atmosphere created is appropriately gloomy and mysterious, with the plot having its fair share of red herrings and surprises as the suspense builds.
What let it down for me was the characterisation. The reader is told so little about the characters that it is difficult to relate to them. They are all rather odd, as might be expected in the context of the story, but there is no warmth between them at all, no love expressed; just secrets, lies and denial. There are many rifts between family members, and I found it all very cold and easy to distance myself from emotionally. Only Mog felt like a real person to me, and some of those on the family tree could have been dispensed with altogether, as they might be referred to occasionally, but actually have no role in the plot. Some of the strands of the story feel rather disjointed as well, and in a few cases irrelevant.
I didn't find the characters confusing, although this is a large family, but I did struggle with the various versions of events told by some of the characters at different points in the story. According to who was deceiving who at the time for whatever motive, details of events changed, and this I found difficult to keep track of. I think the strength of the story lies in its moral. Where there are lies, white or otherwise, there are consequences. Deceit and denial create isolated, fearful and stilted lives, as the burden of secrecy becomes hard to carry. These behaviours are the bedrock upon which dysfunctional lives are built and this comes across very clearly.
This author clearly has talent, but her writing style is just not to my taste. I felt at times the writing was trying to be too clever, and it didn't quite come off for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely the best kind of book., 19 Mar 2012
By 
F. Pearson "fenner@underley.co.uk" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
Short review for those who are in a hurry:
If you enjoy reading, you'll enjoy this book. Read it!

Shortish review for those who don't want the detail:
All the things that make a great book are here. There's a good story, wonderfully crafted writing, a perfect pace and this novel is just as long as it needs to be. Read it!

Longer review for those who are kind enough to let me indulge myself:
Maybe it's just me but I love a novel with a family tree at its beginning. It suggests to me the kind of epic that I used to enjoy from John Irving, something I can really get my teeth into, and The White Lie doesn't disappoint. I won't tell the story here - you can buy the book for that - but the family saga starts off with an immediately intriguing entrée into one of those apparently wealthy families much favoured by Iain Banks.
The story gathers pace slowly, although the quality of the writing and the detail of the characters and setting is so absorbing that the gentle gain in momentum isn't immediately apparent. Indeed, this is one of those books I could enjoy reading even if nothing really happened. But there is a story and it slowly becomes more intense as the book progresses, accelerating to a point of fever pitch before catching its breath and descending into a post-climactic peace and resolution.
All the way through, Andrea Gillies' writing is beautifully judged, always considered but with a lightness of touch and occasional humour that makes it a pleasure to read. It is a book I came to inhabit so that on finishing it, I felt slightly disoriented, as if I'd left somewhere without properly saying my goodbyes. In fact, the characterisation is so strong that I found myself wondering what happened to the story's inhabitants after the book had ended.
Of course, I can't say it will be everyone's cup of tea but there's only one way you'll find out and that is to read it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lies, a loch and complicated lives..........., 8 Feb 2012
By 
Amanda (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
This is a fascinating portrayal of a family and it's history and the slow unravelling of a dark secret from the past. Beautifully written and with wonderful atmosphere and sense of place, I found it so mesmerising that I read it all in one day unable to put it down. Now I want to read it again more slowly. This is the rare kind of book that you find yourself thinking about for days after you have finished it. It has so many twists and turns an red herrings that it's almost, but not quite, disappointing when the whole story becomes clear. Beautifully written. Buy it. It's the kind of book you will read over and over. it would alsomake a fabulous film, which is not something I would often say about a book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish, 30 Jun 2012
By 
H. E. Wood - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The White Lie (Kindle Edition)
It is incredibly rare for me to give up part way through a book, and I persevered over half way through this, but the n I just couldn't carry on. God it's dull. I couldn't keep track of the characters (of whom there were far too many, and not a single likeable one amongst them), and more importantly, couldn't have cared less who killed Michael. I suspect the writer has some talent - her use of words was at times rather lovely, but this felt like a badly planned book, which just rambled without really going anywhere.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The White Lie, 18 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The White Lie (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading this rather complex book. I thought the characterisations were good and love the idea of the dead narrator. It reminded me of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold but, whereas I cared about Susie in that book I really didn't care about any of Gillies characters at all, including the victim Michael. So a good story well written with lots of blind alleys but not emotionally involving as far as I'm concerned. I would, however, recommend it and will certainly be on the look out for other books by this author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lies, damned lies..., 2 Feb 2012
By 
P. Fleetwood - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
Peattie, seat of the Salter family, is a remote and isolated estate in the Scottish highlands, the old house frozen in time like a fairytale castle.

But no beauty sleeps at the heart of Peattie. Instead there lies a grim secret, guarded for years by a family conspiracy of falsehood and silence.

The result is that the Salters share a complex psychological burden of sorrow, guilt and deceit. What will happen when the burden becomes too much to bear? As their unholy alliance begins to crumble, the truth acquires its own terrible momentum. The family must face the consequences as fact unravels from fiction, myth from memory, destroying the tangled, protective web they had so carefully constructed.

Andrea Gillies is the prize-winning author of Keeper, an account of life with her mother-in-law Nancy, who suffered from Alzheimer's. The White Lie is her dark and compelling first novel. Intricately plotted, gracefully executed and peopled with a cast of satisfyingly flawed and dysfunctional characters, it transports the reader, Tardis-like, backwards and forwards through time, piecing together the mystery at the centre of the Salter family through the eyes of its narrator, Michael. Throughout, Gillies writes with elegance, conjuring a vivid sense of place, gripping the reader as the plot moves sinuously between past and present and lightening the sinister atmosphere with occasional flashes of sly humour that sparkle like unexpected sunlight on the surface of Peattie loch.

Keep a marker at the Salter family tree, a useful Who's Who of the dramatis personae.

Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Lie never disappoints, 29 Feb 2012
By 
Rob G (Edinburgh Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
'The White Lie' has recieved excellent reviews from the likes of the Times and Scotland on Sunday, and multi-faceted and with startling imagry, this story of the Salter family by the award winning author of 'Keeper' does not disappoint. From the ever changing vistas of the loch, through sanctuary wood, past the thick hedges keeping an ever encroaching world at bay to the very steps of the grand decaying house itself with all the characters inside awaiting - what, the tone throughout is pitch perfect. The family lives all unravel over a summer as events caused by a hidden tradgedy long ago catch up with them all. The story is narrated from beyond the grave by the only person with a complete Overview of events - by Micheal, the youth who has drowned in the loch in mysterious circumstances. With themes such as repressed grief, guilt memory and deciet playing out across its pages this is a great book. One of the best this year, I bet!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...a fidelity to tragedy, the whole architecture of the family built upon it.", 12 Oct 2013
By 
Sue Kichenside - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
Coming late to The White Lie, this review joins many others and it will probably never be read so I won't reiterate the plot other than to say that it is set more or less within the confines of a decaying grand estate beside a loch in the north of Scotland. The shadow of the narrator, Michael, who "survives as a consciousness" (as the author says in an interview at the end of the book) looms over the entangled lives and lies of the family. But, in fact, it is the drowning many years earlier of his child-uncle Sebastian at age four which looms larger and more significantly. The lies that the insular Salter family tell themselves - and others - are more black than white.

A book narrated by a supposedly dead character - indeed, any book where people come back from the dead - is normally a complete deal-breaker for me. So it says a great deal about the quality of Andrea Gillies' writing that not only did I read on but that I loved every word.

The writing is phenomenal throughout and the author's descriptions of landscape and weather - sometimes so tedious and interruptive - here form an intrinsic part of the narrative and are utterly evocative: 'The monkey puzzle [tree] holding up its pairs of spiked arms up like an Indian god.' The claustrophobia of a vast house is a difficult thing to pull off but Andrea Gillies makes 'Peattie' a convincing character in its own right. Indeed, all her characters ring true. She has a sense of humour too, here writing of matriarch Edith's poor cooking: 'chicken reduced to the texture of a woven textile' and 'the broth placed furthest west on the edible-inedible axis' which makes it almost acceptable by comparison. With The White Lie's ghostly narrator, I could very easily have dismissed this book but I'm so pleased I didn't. Better 'late' than never!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Lie works on so many levels, 11 Aug 2012
This review is from: The White Lie (Paperback)
A mystery slowly unravelling. The classic portrait of a crumbling aristocratic family in the grand house. Being the fly on the wall - on so many walls - in that secluded estate. Rich characters, fully formed, with complex relationships cross crossing between them. Revelations at just the right point to keep you up late, to read more. Twists you don't see coming, that change everything you thought you knew. Descriptions so perfect you memorise them, especially of food, fashion and landscape - it's a delight that the author's eye lingers where mine does! An exquisite plot that returns again and again to the same events from a slightly different angle, like a Spirograph. An ending that satisfies, that works, and leaves you pushing the book into the hands of your friends.

Yes, I strongly recommend The White Lie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The White Lie
The White Lie by Andrea Gillies (Paperback - 5 July 2012)
5.30
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews