Book Review: What Lies Behind by: Cynthia Hill


Rating: 5/5

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publish Date: August 22, 2012

Origins: From Author for Review

Format: E-book

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: Every family has its secrets...Behind the clouds of dementia, Lillian holds memories of a life that her granddaughter Lisa could never imagine. From her childhood in 1920s and 30s Toronto, to a young World War II society bride, through scandal and unthinkable tragedies, Lillian kept her extraordinary life a secret, retreating into a lonely, bitter existence. Curious about her grandmother's mysterious past, Lisa unearths a long-buried secret that may finally bring the truth to light.

Review: ‘What Lies Behind’ is a book told in two voices – Lillian and her granddaughter, Lisa. Lisa is guilted into visiting her grandmother in the nursing home where she has been since her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. While there, she finds herself starting to be intrigued by her grandmother and what her story could be. As Lisa uncovers more about her grandmother’s life, she makes a connection which was long ago severed.

I enjoyed ‘What Lies Behind’ very much because I felt it brought to light the fact our parents, grandparents, etc. had lives before they were known ‘only’ as our relatives. While reading this, I thought Lisa’s parts of the story were more of a foil for telling Lillian’s tale. The author made it easy for us to see Lillian as a person in her own right and discover how it was she became to be someone her family did not want to be around. I think we don’t always consider what could have made people around us into who they are today. Perhaps they were very different when younger, but events shaped their outlook and personality – as they do to us all. I was deeply drawn into Lillian’s story of family, love, responsibility, and tragedy. I liked Lisa’s character, but she seemed much more secondary. ‘What Lies Behind’ will have you taking inventory of your own life to hopefully make any changes before it’s too late. Poignant and timeless in its own way, I highly recommend ‘What Lies Behind’. 

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