“What I Saw And How I Lied” by Judy Blundell

Not long after Evie’s stepfather, Joe, returns home after the end of the Second World War, he and the family decamp to Palm Beach for the summer. They become friends with the Graysons and Peter, an ex-GI who was in the war with Joe. But Evie notices that all is not as it seems between Joe and Peter, and while she gradually gets to know Peter, there seems to be an ominous undertone building up in his relationship with her mother and stepfather.

The cover of this book looks stunning, with a film noir feel, drawing me in to what I anticipated would be a thrilling book with a teenage [I]femme fatale[/I]. What I actually got, was a coming of age story for a teenager with the elements of mystery, war, prejudice and adultery, albeit on a fairly domestic scale.

I loved the sense of period that the author created, and the language and characters felt authentic for that period. Once the story moves to the setting of the hotel, it does start to feel slightly claustrophic, only adding to the general darkening atmosphere of the plot.

However, I don’t think it lived up to my expectations, and by the time I got to the end, I was a bit disappointed that the heroine hadn’t either been or developed into that [I]femme fatale[/I] I’d been hoping for.

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